The national casino gaming industry trade group has urged Massachusetts lawmakers to include three elements in any sports betting bill: allow betting on college sports, allow less restrictive advertising, and enact higher betting rates. reasonable taxation.
The three areas of concern cited by the American Gaming Association stem from the Senate bill passed last month, a version that differs markedly from the one passed the House last summer at about half the tax rate and with college sports betting included.
The AGM missive pointed out that if Massachusetts adopted a Senate-like version, the state would remain at a disadvantage to not only current illegal betting operators, but also surrounding border states like New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
None of the 35 states that have legalized sports betting have outright banned college sports betting, said the AGA, which estimates that college sports betting accounted for about 20% of the $57.7 billion legal year. last in the United States.
“There has always been, and always will be, significant public demand for college sports betting,” the AGA said. “States have rightly recognized that the real public policy question is not whether college sports betting will take place, but whether it should take place through legal or illegal channels.”
Massachusetts higher education institutions are not fans of college betting in the state. The presidents and athletic directors of seven major colleges and universities in Massachusetts wrote their own letter to the legislature two years ago, citing the “unnecessary and unacceptable risks” that would come from betting on their student-athletes.
The advertising ban would also backfire, says the AGA, which described advertising as an “essential tool” for potential customers to hear responsible gambling messages and direct them to regulated sports betting. or unregulated.
“Competitor states are already advertising in Massachusetts without any restrictions, which will only add to the confusion,” the group said.
The AGA said that in the first two months of this year, internet searches in the state for illegal offshore sports betting increased 22% year-over-year, with nearly 60% sports betting searches concentrated on illegal sites.
The Senate proposed a tax rate of 35% for online sports betting, 20% for physical operations, with the House at 15 and 12.5%, respectively.
“Sports betting is a low margin business and will not be viable in the long term if a heavy tax framework is adopted,” the AGA said.
With the House having rejected the Senate sports betting bill, the chambers are expected to seek a compromise bill before the end of the official legislative session on July 31.
Michael Silverman can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.