The Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed legislation legalizing sports betting in August

by Blogswide

In-person wagering becomes available on January 31st, just in time for the Super Bowl, while mobile sportsbooks are projected to go online in March. 

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According to the Raleigh News and Observer, Massachusetts has limited the number of sportsbooks (both brick-and-mortar and online) to six apiece. In addition,

“a final vote on which licenses for online sportsbook apps will be granted is expected to be taken on Wednesday, January 18,”

something to keep an eye on ahead of the launch date.

One of the apps that is currently going through the licensing and approval process with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is DraftKings, which has a betting line that Boston sports fans are sure to love: at +360, the Celtics have the best odds of hoisting the Larry O’Brien championship trophy in 2023.

A Look at the Numbers: Financial Impact of Gambling Legislation

Forbes Magazine reports that as of January 2023, brick-and-mortar sports betting is now legal in 36 states and Washington, D.C.: 33 states are operational, with Massachusetts and two other states waiting in the wings for their launch date. Online sports betting is legal in more than half the union, with legislation passed in 26 states. 

Forbes says that

“in the first ten months of 2022, Americans wagered $73 billion legally on sports, up 70% year-over-year, according to the American Gaming Association. Sports betting companies generated $5.77 billion off those wagers, up 78% year-over-year, and states and the federal government generated an estimated $1.3 billion.” 

It’s impossible to say how much revenue Massachusetts will generate from the laws until the state closes their ledgers in 2023, but one need only look at how online betting has impacted other states to see the positive impact it’ll have on state finances. 

While the precise reasons for financial trends can be difficult to pin down, especially as world economies continue to contend with rampant inflation in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, here’s a look at how betting legislation will impact the economy in Massachusetts.

The Commonwealth begins with a bit of a handicap: by setting the launch date for the end of January, they’re missing out on revenue from 13 of the 14 games in the NFL Playoffs, which constitutes one of the biggest draws of the year for new and experienced bettors alike. Luckily, they’ll be ready in time for the Super Bowl, a betting frenzy that could dwarf the potential revenue from the rest of the playoffs with ease.

The better a state’s sports teams do, the more bets are placed (Tennessee got a huge boost from the Volunteers, who finished the 2022 College Football season ranked No. 6), so the Celtics lining up for another run at a championship bodes well for the economy.

The passed gambling legislation sets the tax rate for in-person bets at 15%, while online bets incur a 20% fee, which is expected to generate up to $60 million in tax revenue each year, according to lawmakers. Tennessee is similar to Massachusetts in population size and brought in $68 million in 2022, so that’s probably a good estimate.

However, Massachusetts has a larger economy judging by both GDP and GDP Per Capita, so the returns should be even greater as the dust settles on the market.

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Another windfall comes from licensing fees, which sportsbooks must fork over every five years to the tune of $80 million. 

WBGH in Boston reports that although those values seem like small potatoes compared to the Commonwealth’s yearly budget, Massachusetts is beating out black-market books—and nearby states that have already legalized sports betting—which is an added boost.

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