Massachusetts could hit a $70 million annual jackpot in sports betting revenue

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The Bay State is expected to rake in at least $70 million from gaming licenses and another $70 million a year in revenue once sports betting begins, lawmakers said.

Those who attended Wednesday’s panel at Suffolk University said it was important to generate that extra revenue, especially since every state around Massachusetts except Vermont is already benefiting from legalized sports betting winnings.

“Massachusetts could bring in about $70-80 million in royalties alone before a bet is placed,” said Rep. Jerry Parisella, D-Beverly, the House of Representatives’ lead negotiator for sports betting legalization last summer.

“These licenses have to be renewed every five years, so every five years we’re going to get this royalty income,” he added.

For other revenue, Parisella said the new state law provides incentives for in-person gambling at casinos, with those bets taxed at a rate of 15%, compared to 20% for online betting.

“That will generate a lot of economic development,” Parisella said. “We’re probably going to be one of the most productive states in terms of sports betting revenue.”

Commissioner Bradford Hill said the state Gambling Commission is working to implement the schedule it approved this month, which would allow residents to begin placing legal in-person sports bets in late January ahead of Super Bowl LVII.

Mobile sports betting has been pushed back to an early March launch date in anticipation of the NCAA college basketball championships.

“The idea is to make sure that the people that are coming forward, the companies that are coming forward to get those licenses, have proven resources,” Hill said.

“At the same time, you want that competition because if there are monopolies, they may not offer the best products to customers, which are the people of Massachusetts.”

Christopher Bennett, senior policy advisor to House Speaker Ron Mariano, said the state should do well in this market based on its long history of allowing wagering on sports and horse and dog racing before those activities were banned or simulcast.

“We have had successful partnerships and taken the benefits of what were previously illegal activities or activities that operated on a black or gray market and bringing them into a state regulated area and using this as a way of bringing revenue to the state budget” , he said.

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