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Massachusetts Rings In New Sports Betting Bills

Just as the 2019 legislative session deadline reaches Friday the 18th, five sports gambling bills are squeezed in last minute.

Governor Charlie Baker and several other MA lawmakers have produced their own sports gambling bills for consideration in this year’s legislative session. The Governor’s bill favors the endeavors of companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, while another bill presented is in favor of major sports leagues and their lobbied royalty fee. The remaining bills SB 908, SB 882, and SB 903 were introduced by Sen. Bruce Tarr, Sen. James Welch, and Sen. Brendan Crighton – respectively.

The bill which includes a royalty fee for the leagues was pushed Thursday, one day before the session filing deadline. The bill presented would give .25 percentage of the wagers handled to the leagues which were providing the wagering entertainment. This bill is likely to not make it far in the legislative session, seeing as how multiple US states have turned their back on the league and their fees.

Senator Bruce Tarr’s bill is not too attractive either as it doesn’t rally for immediate implementation like the other legal sports gambling bills presented. SB 908 calls for a 180-day study of the industry and its effects before moving forward with a decision to legalize betting. This kind of dragged out procedure may not make the bill as favorable as the others when it comes to its hearing but will likely flip some lawmakers against expanded gambling and get them on board with the idea.

The other two bills to be considered offer immediate implementation of state-licensed sports wagering operations at physical venues and via mobile device and online. DraftKings a daily fantasy sports provider turned sportsbook is based in Boston and looks forward to mobile wagering capabilities on its home turf. As of this moment, DraftKings has partnered with several US gambling establishments and offers their own branded sportsbook app in New Jersey.

Governor Baker’s bill favors the above mentioned DFS providers and sportsbooks due to no specific provisions requiring online-based companies to partner with a physical establishment or agree to joint ventures. This is very different from the cases seen in other US states where providers like DraftKings are forced to offer sports wagering as a service extension from another brand.

The state of Massachusetts has a lot to consider with five bills on its legislative table and the session has just gotten started.