By Josh Resnek
A last-minute deal the House and Senate worked out during an all night session that went into Monday morning allows both
in-person and online sports wagering, including some college games, and sets up the Gaming Commission as the regulatory body overseeing the practice.
The bill sailed through each branch Monday morning and now sits on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk.
He has 10 days to act on the legislation.
Governor Baker has consistently maintained he will sign the bill into law.
After years and years of stops and starts, online wagering will become a reality here.
The state expects to reap the benefit of hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenues.
For the Wynn folks who own and run Encore, sports betting online will be a windfall – a powerful, steady, rich stream of new money coming in without the need of building a new facility.
When you can place your first bet is anyone’s guess.
The Senate’s chief budget writer, Sen. Michael Rodrigues, told reporters Monday that betting could “hopefully” start in time for the fall football season, according to a report carried by MassLive.
“Yeah, I think it will be,” the Westport Democrat said when asked if sports betting will be up and running in time for football season.
“Hopefully. You can bet on in-state football teams, so you can bet on the Patriots.”
Casinos and online betting companies hailed the law’s passage as a win for the state and Massachusetts residents.
Encore Casino CEO Craig Billings said both sports fans and taxpayers will “reap the benefits.”
“Our next step is to work with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to apply to provide premium sports betting opportunities for our guests in the WynnBET Sports Bar at Encore Boston Harbor and on the WynnBET app,” Billings said in a statement.
The MGC has been following the legislation through its many iterations and will be meeting this week to discuss passage of this bill allowing electronic betting.
It is believed the MGC will act quickly to do its business to get the new sports betting venue up and running.
Analysts familiar with the bill and its imperatives claim it will likely be up and running by the fall in time for the football, basketball, hockey and every form of sports betting possible.
Massachusetts has been trying to arrive at this point for well over a decade. It is expected the two biggest benefactors beside taxpayers will be Encore and MGM Grand in Springfield.
Neither facility needs to build new facilities to handle the crush of new revenues expected to pile up from Internet sports betting.