The American Gaming Association has warned lawmakers about potential legislative missteps during the sports betting debate in Massachusetts. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Three centers of interest
The American Gaming Association (AGA), a national trade group representing the casino industry, has issued a warning to lawmakers regarding sports betting in Massachusetts.
bet on college sports, limit advertising restrictions and apply justifiable tax rates
Among the points of interest were three main pillars: legalizing college sports betting, limiting advertising restrictions, and enforcing justifiable tax rates. The three areas addressed by the AGM come after a very different bill made its way through the Massachusetts House last year.
The AGA also said Massachusetts failing to follow its advice will hamper the state’s sports betting industry in the long run. Massachusetts already faces extreme competition from New York and cannot afford to get in the way.
Coping with college sports
The AGA said none of the 35 states where sports betting is legal has restricted betting on college athletics. He also revealed that of the $57.7 billion wagered on regulated sports betting in 2021, around 20% was on college events.
has always been, and always will be, a significant public demand for college sports betting”
“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 is home to a host of institutions of higher education, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston College, and others; despite the high popularity of the schools, many are not supporters of college sports betting.
A group of seven Massachusetts-based institutions penned a warning to state lawmakers two years ago, citing “unnecessary and unacceptable risks” as reason enough to speak out against new gambling measures.
Problems with advertising and taxation
The modern world is all about visibility, whether online, on TV, or in physical properties.
The AGA has warned Massachusetts that if it doesn’t fully embrace gambling advertising, it could be shooting itself in the foot.
“Competitor states already advertise in Massachusetts without any restrictions, which will only add to the confusion,” the AGA said.
The group also revealed that internet searches in the state for illegal sports betting increased by 22% in January and February 2022.
35% tax rate for online sports betting and 20% for retail
Massachusetts’ extreme tax rate of 35% for online sports betting and 20% for retail also raised eyebrows.
“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.
Both houses are seeking a resolution before Massachusetts’ legislative term expires on July 31. The House has already rejected a plan based on the Senate.