Three areas of interest

The American Gaming Association (AGA), a national trade group representing the casino industry, issued a warning to legislators regarding Massachusetts sports betting.

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

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

The AGA also stated that Massachusetts not adhering to its advice will hinder the state’s sports betting industry long-term. Massachusetts already faces extreme competition from New York and cannot afford to hinder itself.

Dealing with college sports

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

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

“There has always been, and always will be, significant public demand for betting on collegiate sports,” said the AGA. “States have appropriately recognized that the real public policy question is not if collegiate sports wagering will occur, but whether it should take place through legal or illegal channels.”

Massachusetts houses a slew of higher-learning institutions, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston College, and others; despite the schools having great popularity, however, many are not proponents of college sports betting.

A group of seven Massachusetts-based institutions authored 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, whether that be online, on the television, or in brick-and-mortar properties.

The AGA warned Massachusetts that if it does not fully embrace gambling advertising, it could be shooting itself in the foot.

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

The group also revealed that in-state internet searches for illegal sportsbooks increased by 22% in January and February 2022.

tax rate of 35% for online sportsbooks and 20% for retail

Massachusetts’ extreme tax rate of 35% for online sportsbooks and 20% for retail also raised eyebrows.

“Sports betting is a low margin business and will not be viable long term if a burdensome taxation framework is adopted,” said the AGA.

Both chambers are seeking a resolution before Massachusetts’ legislative period expires on July 31. The House already rejected a Senate-based plan.

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