Governor Charlie Baker has announced plans to file legislation to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts.
The proposal would utilize the existing regulatory structure for gaming licensing in Massachusetts, including enforcement powers of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the prohibition on wagering by anyone under 21 years of age and penalties for various violations.
The administration’s proposal would authorize the gaming commission to issue newly-created sport wagering licenses to the current Category 1 resort casino licenses, which includes MGM Springfield.
MGM Springfield President and COO Michael Mathis said he’s spent decades operating sportsbooks and looks forward to working with policymakers on the legislation.
A current gaming license would be required to operate an onsite sports wagering lounge.
Holders of newly-created gaming licenses would be able to provide sports wagering online or contract with an entity to provide the service.
Online sports pool operators would need to be licensed as a gaming vendor and the agreement would need to be approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
“Expanding Massachusetts’ developing gaming industry to include wagering on professional sports is an opportunity for Massachusetts to invest in local aid while remaining competitive with many other states pursuing similar regulations. 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,” said Governor Baker.
“Over the last seven years, the Massachusetts gaming industry has grown into an economic driver for thousands of jobs associated with construction, hospitality, and tourism. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has developed a comprehensive set of regulations and passing this bill into law will allow the proper oversight of the industry’s next chapter in addition to providing critical support to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns,” said Lt. Governor Polito.
The legislation calls on the gaming commission to publicize regulations to implement sports wagering, including protections for people placing wagers, a cashless system for sports wagering, and a verification system to approve age and identity of potential online users.
Wagers would not be permitted in high school, collegiate or amateur events. Wagers would also not be permitted on Esports.