Sports betting goes before Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday


Don’t waste your gambling money just yet: It may be some time before the state’s recently passed sports betting law takes effect, with many details still to be decided by the state’s governing gambling body.

“In an overnight session, the legislature took a few extra innings to get a win over a highly anticipated sports betting bill,” said Brandt Iden, head of US Government Affairs at Sportsradar, which provides sports data to the MLB and NBA.

He added that “the main details have been left to the gaming commission”, but bets will be coming to a local venue soon.

The state’s new gambling rules have gone to Governor Charlie Baker’s office for consideration.

The law, as written, allows betting on professional sports and college sports that do not involve a Massachusetts college team unless that team participates in a tournament.

What Baker does with the law now that he has it in his hands is hard to say.

He has the power to veto and there isn’t much the legislature can do now that formal sessions are over.

Baker has expressed his support for sports betting and said he would like to sign legislation before the end of his term this year. The governor announced last year that he would not run for a third term.

His government does not routinely comment on recently passed legislation ahead of its signature.

If Baker signs the bill without further changes, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which will oversee the gambling program, could consider the matter at its next session, scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m.

“The MGC is reviewing the Sports Betting Act passed by the legislature on August 1, 2022. As all proposed legislation in the course of this session has designated the Commission as the overseer of a potential emerging sports betting industry, staff have been diligently preparing should such proposed legislation become law,” the group said in a meeting announcement.

According to the Commission, the meeting will include the development of a post of head of sports betting and the review of draft license applications and the regulatory process.

The Commission’s meeting agenda does not specify when sports betting will begin in Massachusetts, and the law itself does not specify an implementation date, but does give the power to manage implementation to the Gaming Commission.

Even as the law goes online, Governor Chris Sununu, who has often reprimanded his Massachusetts colleague for not capitalizing on the sports betting economy, said the fees and taxes in the Bay State law make Granite State a more attractive place to gamble. .

“New Hampshire continues to deliver the best sports gaming experience in the country. Massachusetts’ trifecta of complicated licensing, fees and taxes on winnings means they’ll be challenged to match the gold standard of gaming success we’ve built north of the border. But again, second place is nothing new to our friends at The Bay State,” he told the Herald.

Baker’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

BRAINTREE, MA.  - JANUARY 14: New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu speaks during an editorial meeting at the Boston Herald on January 14, 2020 in Braintree, Massachusetts.  (Staff photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu says sports betting is better in the north. (Herald file photo.)
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