Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has introduced a sports betting bill. HD678 proposes a Massachusetts sports betting framework that would allow online sports betting via casinos and “on websites and mobile applications that are not affiliated with a casino,” according to Daniel Wallach. The bill also proposes to ban betting on all college sports and esports in Massachusetts.
Daniel Wallach continues to share a quote from Governor Baker: “The legislation also seeks to maintain separation between gambling and amateur and collegiate sports, and between gambling and electronic sports or ‘eSports.’ As a result, the legislation would prohibit wagering on these types of sports events.”
What This Means For Massachusetts
Governor Baker’s bill could bring online sports betting to Massachusetts in a meaningful way. And though the limitations he sets forth may serve to bottleneck possible revenue, it’s still a big step forward for the state.
The ban on college sports is the biggest limitation in the bill because it effectively severs a gigantic market from eager Massachusetts bettors. Other New England states have certain college betting restrictions, but they’re not as strict. New Jersey prohibits betting on in-state colleges (even if they’re playing in a different state), though new legislation may change that down the line. Nearby Pennsylvania, meanwhile, allows betting on all college match-ups, making it a prime market for college bettors. Setting aside other interstate differences like population, a complete ban on college betting puts Massachusetts at a disadvantage.
Esports, however, is similarly contested in various jurisdictions. There are several reasons for esports’ slow proliferation through the sports betting world. Namely, many players are under legal betting age (some are even too young to vote), and the space is so new that it hasn’t caught enough mainstream popularity.
Still, some operators in legal markets allow esports bets, adding an extra revenue opportunity from a growing branch of the sports betting world.
This bill was just introduced, so there will undoubtedly be more Massachusetts sports betting developments in the coming months.