Baker signs sports betting bill


BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker signed the sports betting legalization bill into law on Wednesday, his office said.

The governor said he looked forward to the implementation of the law “over the next few months.”

“Our administration first introduced legislation to legalize sports betting in the Commonwealth several years ago, and I am pleased to be able to sign this bill into law today,” Baker said in a statement. “We appreciate the dedication and compromise the Legislature has shown on this issue, and we look forward to supporting the work of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on the responsible implementation of the law over the coming months.”

Lawmakers reached an agreement earlier this month to legalize betting on professional and college sports. Sports betting is already legal in more than 30 states, including Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York.

Anyone 21 or older will be able to place a bet in Massachusetts with a 15% tax on in-person betting and a 20% tax on mobile betting. Wagering on Massachusetts colleges and universities will not be allowed unless they are participating in a post-season tournament like March Madness.

“It’s also going to create a whole new industry and a whole new sector for our economy and a whole new way for people to engage with their favorite teams,” Sen. Eric Lesser told WBZ-TV when the bill has been adopted. “I think given the scope of what we’ve included here, including the university that’s out of Massachusetts, I think we’re probably going to see $60-65 million a year”

So when will people be able to start betting on the games? While lawmakers initially said it could be operational in time for the start of the football season in the fall, the Gambling Commission recently don’t say so fast.

Commissioners said implementing the law could take months, the State House News Service reported.

“I want the public to understand, like we as commissioners are starting to understand, that this is not something that’s going to happen overnight,” Commissioner Brad Hill said. “It’s going to take a little longer than expected, and I’m okay with that because I want to get it right.”


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