Casino Group advocates sports betting in Massachusetts

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The American Gaming Association warned lawmakers about potential legal errors in the Massachusetts sports betting debate. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Three areas of interest

The American Gaming Association (AGA), a national trade group representing the casino industry, has warned legislators about sports betting in Massachusetts.

Betting on college sports, limiting advertising restrictions, and enforcing justifiable tax rates

Among the points of interest were three main pillars: legalizing betting on college sports, limiting advertising restrictions, and enforcing reasonable tax rates. All three areas of AGA under discussion come after a very different bill made its way through the Massachusetts House last year.

The AGA also stated that if Massachusetts does not heed its advice, it would hamper the state’s sports betting industry in the long run. Massachusetts is already facing fierce competition from New York and cannot afford to get in the way of itself.

Dealing with college sports

The AGA stated that none of the 35 states with legal sports wagering have restricted betting on collegiate athletics. It also revealed that of the $57.7 billion wagered on regulated sports betting in 2021, college events accounted for around 20%.

There has always been, and always will be, significant public demand for collegiate sports betting.”

“There has always been, and always will be, significant public demand for varsity sports betting,” the AGA said. “States have rightly recognized that the real public policy issue is not whether college sports betting should take place, but whether it should take place through legal or illegal channels.”

Massachusetts is home to a number of colleges, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston College, and others; However, although the schools are very popular, many are not proponents of college sports betting.

A group of seven Massachusetts-based institutions wrote a warning to state legislators two years ago, citing “unnecessary and unacceptable risks” as reasons enough to rule against new gambling measures.

Problems with advertising and taxation

The modern world is all about visibility, be it online, on TV or in stationary buildings.

The AGA warned Massachusetts that it could shoot itself in the foot if it didn’t fully embrace gambling advertising.

“Rival states are already advertising in Massachusetts with no restrictions, which will only add to the confusion,” the AGA said.

The group also revealed that internet searches for illegal sports betting increased by 22% in January and February 2022.

Tax rate of 35% for online sports betting and 20% for retail

Massachusetts’ extreme tax rate of 35% for online sports betting and 20% for retail also caused a stir.

Sports betting is a low-margin business and will not be profitable in the long term if a onerous tax framework is adopted,” the AGA said.

Both houses are seeking a solution before the Massachusetts legislative session ends on July 31. The House of Representatives has already rejected a Senate plan.

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