House lawmakers are expected to push forward a bill legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts, and the state’s pro sports franchises said they are looking for a piece of the action.
Two of the 28 amendments filed with the bill ahead of Thursday’s scheduled debate propose allowing gambling in or around stadiums and would allow teams to apply for licenses.
David Friedman, head of government affairs for the Red Sox, said: “The Red Sox and the state’s other major professional sports teams – the Bruins, Patriots, Celtics and Revolution – all support this idea.”
The bill, as drafted, would legalize betting on professional and college sports for people age 21 and older. This includes betting on fantasy, video games and racing. A similar bill was passed in the House last year, but died in the Senate.
The proposed law sets out a framework for three categories of licenses for casino, race track and mobile operators.
Rape. Bradford Hill and Rep. Two similar amendments, filed separately by Jay Livingstone, would add an additional license category for retailers to allow fans to bet in person at a sports facility adjacent to or half a mile away. This would include, if passed, Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium.
This would allow teams like the Red Sox to apply for those licenses.
Leagues currently do not allow betting in stadiums with ticketed fans, but Friedman said bets can be taken in a different area of the stadium. He added that the Washington Nationals are currently building a sportsbook at their stadium.
Five other jurisdictions – Washington, DC, Arizona, Illinois, Maryland and Virginia – currently allow teams to carry sports wearing licenses.
Lawmakers have tried — and failed — for years to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts as a growing number of states have done so. According to the American Gaming Association, as of July, certain types of sports gambling are operational or pending in 31 states as well as Washington, DC.
According to state representative Gerald Pericella, license fees for three casinos, two race tracks and the nine mobile app operators described in the bill would generate up to $80 million for the state to start and restart every five years upon their renewal. D-Beverly, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. They will be regulated by the State Gaming Commission.
The state could cash in as much as $60 million to $70 million in annual tax revenue, he said. Personal bets at casino and track retailers will be taxed at 12.5%, with mobile bets costing a little over 15%.
The Senate has yet to indicate its support for a bill.