Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday signed seven bills into law, including legislation legalizing in-person and mobile sports betting in Massachusetts.
The legislation, “An Act regulating sports wagering,” allows the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to grant in-person licenses at gaming establishments, including casinos, racetracks and simulcast facilities, and mobile licenses through applications or digital platforms.
It’s expected to generate an estimated $60 million in annual tax revenue for the state, in addition to collecting up to $70 to $80 million in initial licensing fees, which must be renewed every five years. It includes a 15 percent tax on in-person wagering and a 20 percent tax on mobile wagering.
“Our administration first filed legislation to legalize sports wagering in the Commonwealth several years ago, and I am glad to be able to sign this bill into law today,” Gov. Baker said in a statement. “We appreciate the dedication and compromise that the Legislature demonstrated on this issue, and we look forward to supporting the work of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on the responsible implementation of the law over the next several months.”
The revenue collected will be distributed to municipalities, and for economic, workforce, education, and public health priorities.
The law allows betting on college sports, with the exception of Massachusetts schools, unless they are participating in a tournament. People must be 21 years old or older to bet. As directed through this legislation, the Gaming Commission will also be conducting a study into the feasibility of allowing retail locations to operate sports wagering kiosks.
A date for the launch of sports betting has not yet been set.
“On behalf of my fellow commissioners and the staff of the MGC, we appreciate the confidence the Legislature and the Governor have in naming us as regulator of this new industry,” Cahty Judd-Stein, chair of the Gaming Commission, said in a statement. “For the past several years, we have been monitoring sports wagering legislation and taking appropriate steps to prepare for our potential role. As soon as this week we will be working to understand the landscape of interest in operator licensure as we move forward with this process.”
The Gaming Commission will meet Thursday and has preparations related to sports betting on its agenda.
Among the other bills Baker signed were mental health legislation expanding access to behavioral health services and a transportation bond bill that invests $11.4 billion into roads, bridges and environmental infrastructure.
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