Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday his plan to file legislation that would permit people in the Bay State to bet on professional sports.

“Expanding Massachusetts’ developing gaming industry to include wagering on professional sports is an opportunity for Massachusetts to invest in local aid while remaining competitive with many other states pursuing similar regulations,” Baker said in a statement.

The proposal would allow the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to issue a new sport wagering license to current resort casino licensees MGM-Springfield and Encore-Everett. Plainridge Park Casino, which holds a category 2 license, would also be eligible for the newly-created license.

The holders of the newly-created gaming licenses would be allowed to offer sports betting online or create a contract with an entity that provides that service. Online sports operators would need to be licensed as a gaming vendor through an agreement approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Baker’s proposal also allows for unaffiliated entities to conduct online-only sports betting after being licensed by the gaming commission under the current process.

The proposal sets the application fee for an initial license at $100,000, which would fund the commission’s administration of the application process. Once approved, an applicant would pay a licensing fee of no less than $500,000 that would need to be renewed every five years.

In-person sports wagering licensees would pay a tax rate of 10 percent and online wagering licensees would pay a rate of 12.5 percent. The revenue from renewals and both in-person and online wagering would “exclusively go to the Gaming Local Aid Fund to finance local aid distributions,” according to a statement from Baker’s office.

“The administration anticipates this proposal would generate $35 million in revenue in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 that will benefit all 351 cities and towns in the commonwealth,” according to the statement from Baker’s office.

The legislation tasks the Massachusetts Gaming Commission with creating necessary regulations for putting sports wagering in effect. The commission will also be asked to include “the impact of sports wagering on individuals, businesses, and the economy” in its annual research report.

Jamie Chisholm, a spokesman for DraftKings, said he was encouraged by the announcement.

“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,” Chisholm said in a statement. “We’re hopeful Massachusetts will seize the opportunity to establish a new national model of directly licensing mobile operators this year.”

Wednesday, June 03, 2020