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State Sen. Brendan Crighton refiles legislation to legalize sports betting

This article was published 2 year(s) and 7 month(s) ago.

BOSTON — State Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) refiled legislation Friday that would legalize sports betting in Massachusetts.

The United States Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on the practice in May 2018. Since then, 25 states, including New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, and Washington, D.C., have all followed suit.

“This legislation would create robust consumer protections and generate much-needed revenue for Massachusetts as we continue this economic recovery,” Crighton said in a statement. “While there are many unknowns about the upcoming fiscal year, we do know that Massachusetts residents will wager billions of dollars on offshore betting sites and in surrounding states. It is time to bring sports betting out of the shadows and into a regulated market that benefits residents here in Massachusetts.”

If passed, the legislation would give control of sports betting to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). People 21 and over would be able to place bets at casinos, slots parlors, horse racing tracks, simulcast facilities, and online on professional and college teams, although betting on Massachusetts college teams would be prohibited.

The license fee, set at $10 million under the law, is estimated to bring in $80 million in immediate revenue and the 15 percent tax rate is estimated to deliver more than $60 million annually, according to the MGC.

Sports betting operators would also be required to prominently display information on the signs of problem gambling and how to access assistance, as well as institute other public health strategies determined by the MGC.

According to the American Gaming Association, more than 23 million Americans will bet a total of $4.3 billion on Sunday’s Super Bowl, and 7.6 million Americans will do so via an online sportsbook, representing a 63 percent increase year-over-year.

“The sports betting industry is rapidly expanding across the nation,” Crighton said. “I believe this legislation lays out a framework that would allow the Commonwealth to responsibly legalize sports betting while raising hundreds of millions in new revenue for key programs to support those facing food, housing, financial and health-related challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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