Sports betting could follow casino, marijuana legalization in Mass.
By Colin A. Young State House News Service
If lawmakers decide to make sports betting legal in Massachusetts, wagers might generate as little as $8.6 million in tax revenue under the most restrictive structure and as much as $61.3 million in the most permissive model presented in a Gaming Commission white paper Thursday.
States are waiting to learn if the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down any or all of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which limits which states can offer legal sports betting. A decision could come as soon as next week and states are trying to position themselves to jump at any opportunity presented by legal sports betting.
In a white paper presented to the Legislature on Thursday, the Gaming Commission laid out issues for lawmakers to weigh if they consider legalizing betting — like whether the federal Wire Act may still constrain legal betting regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, whether to allow only existing gaming licensees to take bets or if the market should be opened to newcomers, and whether Massachusetts would accept bets online.
“The introduction of a new aspect of the emerging gaming industry in Massachusetts presents an opportunity to bring a significant amount of gaming activity and revenues out of the shadows and into the legal market,” the commission wrote. “With that transition would come the opportunity to cultivate the associated economic benefits — including tax revenues — while providing consumers of sports betting with protections not afforded them by illegal bookmakers.”
The commission cited an Oxford Economics for the American Gaming Association study last year that estimated Massachusetts would collect $8.6 million in annual tax revenue if it allowed betting at brick and mortar casinos only and taxed the sportsbook’s gross gaming revenue at a “low tax” rate of