Massachusetts Governor Takes New Jersey’s Lead on Sports Betting

The new Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, said that New Jersey’s sports gambling legalization was the basis of his own bill proposed on Friday. Baker filed a bill that could legalize bets on professional sports in the state. In an interview given to WGBH’s Boston Public Radio, Baker said that New Jersey’s legislation was “the best way to frame it”.

The governor said that he was keen to place Massachusetts among the ranks of seven other states that have moved to legalize and regulate sports betting, including the neighboring Rhode Island, since the US Supreme Court’s decision last year. The higher court made it legal to wager on sports outside of Nevada, spurning many states to take their industries into their own hands.

In the radio interview, Governor Baker said about sports betting: “It’s legal, it’s going to start happening in a lot of other states… and, I think, from our point of view, it’s a conversation we need to have.”

The highlights of Baker’s bill:

  • Betting will only be allowed on professional sports – no collegiate or amateur sporting events.
  • Only adults over 21 will be allowed to place sports bets.
  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will oversee the sports wagering industry.
  • Operators will pay a $100,000 application fee + a licensing fee every five years of at least $500,000.
  • Online wagering licensees will pay a tax rate of 12.5%. In-person sports gambling licensees will pay 10%.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Governor Baker said: “Our legislation puts forth a series of commonsense proposals to ensure potential licensees are thoroughly vetted and safeguards are in place to protect against problem gambling and illegal activity. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Legislature to pass this bill into law.”


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