Legal sports betting gets underway in Massachusetts
Massachusetts became the latest state to launch legal retail sports betting after Mayor Domenic Sarno placed $50 on the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the Kansas City Chiefs at the BetMGM Sportsbook at MGM Springfield. The Mayor’s bet was the first legal bet, placed at 10am on Tuesday morning and is on the biggest betting event of the year, the Super Bowl 57 which will take place in Glendale, Arizona on February 12th.
Sarno told local press:
“Big win for Springfield. Big win for MGM Springfield. Big win for the commonwealth of Massachusetts”
Where can you bet in Massachusetts?
Retail sports betting got underway with three Massachusetts casinos, all receiving approval just the day prior via unanimous votes of approval from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The three sports books that launched were:
- Barstool Sportsbook at Plainridge Park Casino
- BetMGM Sportsbook at MGM Springfield
- WynnBet Sportsbook at Encore Boston Harbor
Each casino had a different launch party with various prominent local politicians, and current and former sports stars appearing at each venue placing their first sports wagers. Mayor Sarno was joined at BetMGM by Sen. Adam Gomez, Rep. Carlos Gonzalez and NHL hall-of-famer Ray Bourque of Boston Celtics fame. Each of the aforementioned placed a legal wager and will donate any winnings to a charity of their choice.
What are the benefits for the state?
Lawmakers in the state have estimated that sports betting (both online and retail) could generate around $60m a year for the state once both mediums are fully launched, operational and hjeading towards maturity. In addition, Massachusetts laws dictate that once online comes live, the state will receive approximately $70m in licensing fees, although these are not annual and must be renewed once every 5 years.
Rep. Carlos Gonzalez admits that Massachusetts may never reach the figures of New York, but draws comparisons and is hopeful for the future. He told the Daily Hampshire Gazette: “We know that Springfield is a smaller metropolis that is not going to have that amount, but I can guarantee that we will … not only bring revenue to MGM, but also more jobs and more opportunities.”
A small crowd at Encore Boston Harbor (Wynnbet) included House Speaker Ron Mariano, House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz and Beverly Rep. Jerry Parisella plus various former athletes such as Angela Ruggiero (Olympic Gold Medal-winner), Johnny Damon (former Boston Red Sox) and Cedric Maxwell (former Boston Celtics). The event was emceed by famous commentator Sean McDonough.
After passing the bill to legalize sports betting (both retail and online), Massachusetts became the fifth -New England State to legalize sports betting after the repeal of PASPA. The State tax rate on in-person sports betting is a competitive 15%. Online, all being well, is set to launch in March and will be taxed at 20% rather than the retail rate of 15%.
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