Bay State Bets: Sports Betting in Massachusetts and Its Hype
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Following the US Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling that struck down a federal ban on sports betting, individual states across America began working on legislation to legalize and regulate the industry on their own.
Massachusetts lawmakers began to explore the possibility of making sports betting legal in the Bay State and a year later, introduced a bill that would have legalized sports betting in-person and online, but only at existing casinos in the state. Unfortunately, the legislative session ended before the bill could pass.
In 2020, a broader bill was introduced but also failed to pass before the legislative session ended. Finally, in 2022, a bill to allow for the start of retail and online sports betting was passed, thereby legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts and opening the doors for lucrative tax revenue to be collected.
Sports betting tax revenue on the rise in Massachusetts
According to a July 2023 revenue report released by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), the state levied taxes on $29.4 million in taxable gaming revenue, resulting in over $5.8 million in collected taxes. Among the 29 states that allow commercial betting, Massachusetts ranks sixth and has already brought in over $45 million in tax revenue this year from sports wagering.
The American Gaming Association’s (AMA) Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker revealed that of the 23 of 34 commercial gaming jurisdictions operational last year, Massachusetts marked an all-time record, increasing Q2 revenue from 2022 due to the recent legalization of sports betting.
Since the launch of mobile sports betting in March, the MGC has collected over $45 million in tax revenue. In other words, in just five months, the Bay State has generated nearly the total anticipated annual tax revenue. State Senator John Velis told Western Mass News, “We had projections initially for $50 to 60 million for the year so $9.3 million for one month that’s impressive that is beyond projections.”
Where does the money go?
According to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, taxes on gross sports wagering revenue are allocated to the following specific state funds:
- General Fund — 45%
- Gaming Local Aid Fund — 27.5%
- Workforce Investment Trust Fund — 17.5%
- Public Health Trust Fund — 9%
- Youth Development and Achievement Fund — 1%
“This is just about revenue,” said Senator Velis. “It’s about revenue for the roads, the general funds, workforce development, education, all the things that the commonwealth needs money for that’s where this stuff is going to go.”
Exploring different betting types and popular teams in the Bay State
When it comes to sports betting in Massachusetts, the most popular types of bets are point spreads, moneylines, totals, futures and props. Bettors can choose the type of bet they wish to place and shop around sportsbooks for the best odds. Here are the most popular sports teams in the Bay State:
- Football – Home to one of the most successful NFL franchises in history, the New England Patriots, fans in the Commonwealth are a passionate fan base.
- Basketball – Boston’s iconic NBA team, the Celtics, are perennial NBA Finals contenders, leading to many bets being placed on the hometown team.
- Baseball – The Boston Red Sox have won four World Series titles since 2004, after going nearly 100 years without a championship. Although they will likely miss out on the playoffs this season, many bets are still placed on the team from Fenway.
- Hockey – Despite disappointing early postseason exits recently, the Boston Bruins are just five years removed from a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, making Massachusetts’ NHL team a popular choice when placing bets.
Massachusetts is one of the latest states to legalize sports betting, making it possible for locals and tourists to wager on their preferred sports teams and events. Sports bettors now have a variety of legal sportsbooks to pick from in the state when it comes to making wagers.
Although the Massachusetts sports betting industry is still in its infancy and is still developing, it has already demonstrated tremendous promise thanks to its attractive odds, a wide range of sports and betting possibilities, and practical mobile solutions. The future of sports betting in Massachusetts seems promising, with the possibility of new alliances and promotions.
Overall, Massachusetts provides a safe and legal setting for sports betting fans to take pleasure in the excitement of the game while possibly making some money in the process.
States that have yet to legalize sports betting will look to data released by Massachusetts and other states for insights into how the industry and associated tax revenue could help fund various programs in their own backyard. One thing is certain, online sports betting is booming and states across the country are beginning to embrace the industry.
If you or anyone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.