It’s down to the wire for Massachusetts sports betting this year. And while several key issues seem to make the passage of any legislation unlikely, the odds are no where near zero. Both the State Senate and House have passed bills, but the differences between them will have to be resolved before July 31st.
Key differences between the competing bills revolve around betting on college games, the tax rate for operators, advertising restrictions, and the how many mobile licenses will be issued. Those are some major obstacles to overcome in just a month’s time. Major, but not impossible.
Estimates are that the failure to regulate Massachusetts sports betting means the state is losing about $35 million a year in tax revenue. The US Supreme Court struck down the law that prevented the expansion of sports wagers four years ago, so it’s safe to estimate that over $100 million has already been left on the table.
Now, members of the Senate and House will meet in a conference committee in an 11th hour attempt to work out the differences and consolidate the competing bills into some form of agreeable legislation. If they can, we already know that the Governor is a supporter of sports betting.
Now may be the time for Massachusetts sports betting. But, if no deal is reached by the July deadline, you can best bet that lawmakers will be back to work in the next session to try to make it happen. Until then, thousands of residents will simply continue to drive across state borders to place bets in other markets.