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Massachusetts casinos eager to push through sports betting laws

Massachusetts gambling news

Massachusetts casino executives are becoming increasingly impatient as the state legislature approaches the conclusion of its official sessions for the year. Recently, the executives informed Beacon Hill lawmakers of the significance of legalizing sports betting before the session ends. They stated that the three casino properties would have a better chance of competing against their counterparts in nearby states if sports betting is legalized.
The Massachusetts Senate and House lawmakers have received written complaints from MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park officials who wished to convey their unease concerning the matter. Their concerns were mainly centered on the possibility that the Massachusetts legislature might adjourn once again without legalizing sports betting. The end of July will mark the conclusion of the General Court’s session for the year.
If a decision is not reached by August 1, sports betting in Massachusetts would remain outlawed for at least another year. Executives from the casinos at Encore, Plainridge, and MGM all asserted that their businesses would bear the brunt if the decision was not made.
Encore President Jenny Holafay, Plainridge General Manager North Grounsell, and MGM President Chris Kelley all sent a letter to the state that read, “We respectfully implore you to seize the opportunity to level the playing field in this hyper-competitive industry.”
According to casino officials, to legally place bets, sports betting enthusiasts have taken to traveling to locations with regulated sports betting markets. The executives of the Massachusetts casinos further revealed that if the three venues were allowed to offer sports betting, the chances of drawing in more gamblers in the commonwealth would increase.
The letter continued, “Today, 35 states have legalized sports betting, including the neighboring states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island, and no resident of the Commonwealth is more than an hour’s drive from a state where legal sports betting is available. As a result, our competitors in these states are now offering a significant amenity and service we are prohibited from offering in Massachusetts and capturing the Commonwealth’s entertainment dollars once again.”

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The officials of the three gaming venues revealed that they were not particularly fussy about the conditions the policy would come with; they only wanted the lawmakers to decide before the end of official sessions. When the sports betting plea is approved, they would only need to send the approved bill over to the desk of Governor Charlie Baker.
Other than the sports betting activity in their gaming venues, the three Massachusetts casinos are missing out on other fronts in gaining revenue. Customers who come into place sports bets usually take some time to gamble and have a drink or a meal in the casino. Without sports betting being legalized, the organizations had no means of earning the extra revenue.
While there is a clear difference between the lawmakers in Massachusetts that support legalized sports betting and those that do not, there are a more significant number of supporters. Despite this, neither the Senate nor the House has the same views concerning the most efficient way to regulate the activity.
According to the House, a tax of 12.5% on the in-person income and 17% on the online sportsbook revenue is logical. This would give the regulated sportsbook operators more room in the event of competition with offshore bookmakers that were untaxed and unregulated.
On the other hand, the Senate thought a higher percentage of 20% on retail and 35% online was feasible. Another area the two have differing opinions on is in terms of who was allowed to bet. The sports betting bill by the Senate would aim to ban college athletics from betting, while the lawmakers in the House oppose this ban.
The attempt to reach a mutual agreement between the two sets of lawmakers has been ongoing since the start of June. Three state Senators, as well as the same number of House Representatives, were tasked with reaching an agreement; however, with just a few days left before the adjournment of the General Court, it is not certain the agreement will be reached.

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