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Gov. Baker Wants To Legalize Sports Betting In Massachusetts


Massachusetts could soon follow Rhode Island’s footsteps toward legalized sports betting. 

Legislation will be filed to offer legal sports betting at Massachusetts casinos and via online games, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law in May 2018 that had prevented states from regulating sports betting, and several states and Washington, D.C., have moved to allow wagering on athletic competitions. Rhode Island has already started sports betting at its two casinos, the Boston Globe reports

The Massachusetts General Court initially discussed legalized sports betting shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, but the legislative body did not have enough time in the legislative session to pass a law.

“Our legislation puts forth a series of common sense proposals to ensure potential licensees are thoroughly vetted and safeguards are in place to protect against problem gambling and illegal activity,” Baker said in a statement to the Globe. 

Boston-based fantasy sports company DraftKings was the first operator to launch online sports betting in New Jersey and opened its first brick-and-mortar sportsbook in November at the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville, Mississippi. The company is optimistic that it could expand its betting reach into its home state.  

“Legal, regulated mobile sports betting provides the best mechanism to not only protect consumers, but to eliminate illegal offshore gambling, ensure game integrity, generate new revenue for the Commonwealth and fuel the growth of Massachusetts’ sports-tech sector,” DraftKings said in a statement to the Globe. 

Baker’s proposal calls for a 10% tax for in-person betting and a 12.5% levy for bets made online. He estimates his plan would bring in $35M in revenue in the next fiscal year.