House OKs sports betting bill but fate in Senate uncertain

July 23, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts House lawmakers have overwhelming approved a bill to legalize sports betting in the state, but it’s fate in the state Senate remains uncertain.

The state House of Representatives voted 156-3 Thursday night to approve the measure, which would allow the state’s licensed casinos and simulcast and live horse racing facilities to offer sports bets. It would also place a 12.5% tax on revenues from in-person wagers and 15% on revenues from mobile bets and impose a range of consumer safety measures.

But Senate leaders haven’t committing to taking up sports betting as the legislature approaches its August recess. A bill pending in that chamber also differs significantly from the House version, banning college sports betting and imposing different fees on the industry.

The House approved sports wagering last year as part of a broader economic package, but the Senate leaders declined to include it in their version, arguing it was the wrong time to be introducing an entirely new industry to the state.

Casino gambling has been legal in Massachusetts for years and the state has three large gambling venues.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 ruled that banning sports betting was unconstitutional. Some 30 states, including neighboring Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, have since legalized sports wagering in some fashion.