As the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) works through the legalities of the Massachusetts sports betting launch, nearby states are raking in the dough from sports wagering revenue.
As of November, the MGC has a tentative timeline for Massachusetts to begin accepting sports wagers. The timeline puts a retail launch in January 2023, with mobile betting apps following in late February or early March. While some commissioners have called this an aggressive timeline to get sports betting up and running, they are keenly aware of how much the state could be earning in the meantime.
During public meetings about sports betting, members of the MGC have mentioned several times the revenue windfall that could be generated if sports wagering is available to state residents before the Super Bowl in February.
Gaming Licenses Revenue Breakdown
According to state legislators who spoke at a recently hosted forum by Suffolk University’s business school, the state expects to make at least $70 million every five years from gaming licenses alone.
“Massachusetts could generate about $70 to $80 million just in licensing fees before a bet is placed,” said state representative Jerry Parisella. “Those licenses have to be renewed every five years—so every five years, we’re going to get that revenue from the license fees.” Parisella is the House chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development & Emerging Technologies.
He was also optimistic about the amount of tax revenue expected to come to the state’s coffers once sports betting arrives.
“As far as revenue from gaming itself, if you place a bet via retail, 15% of that will be taxed. If you bet via mobile, 20% of that will be taxed. So, the reason that we did a little bit lower tax rate for retailers, is we’re trying to incentivize people to show up at the casinos [to] bet, because that’ll generate a lot of economic development.”
Estimated Annual Sports Betting Revenue
The estimated annual tax revenue from sports betting is $60 million, according to State Senator Eric Lessor, who also participated in the forum.
The state’s three casinos will offer retail sportsbooks for bettors: Encore Boston, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville. The MGC hopes that bettors can begin placing wagers at those locations in late January.
Massachusetts online sports betting will come later, with 24 operators vying for a mobile betting license, including the parent companies of Encore Boston and MGM Springfield.
“The experts that we talked to say that Massachusetts is a wonderful sports environment, people love their sports in Massachusetts, and they feel like it’s really going to take off once it’s legalized,” Parisella said. “We’re probably one of the more productive states in terms of revenue for sports betting.”
When sports betting finally comes to the state, Massachusetts can start to generate income like its neighbors, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York.
The panel also included MGC Commissioner Bradford “Brad” Hill; Jonah Beckley, deputy chief of staff and general counsel to Senate President Karen Spilka; and Christopher Bennett, senior policy advisor to the Massachusetts House speaker Ron Mariano.