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Massachusetts Senate passes sports betting bill but prohibits college wagering

Massachusetts has taken an important step in passing sports betting into state law, with the Senate approving a bill for the first time.

Rather unusually, however, the Senate rejected several sections of the measure, including the ability for bettors to place wagers on college sports. Of the 32 states which have approved sports betting to date, only Illinois has prohibited college sports betting.

If the bill is signed into law, which is in the balance as the House of Representatives is still to vote, it would generate an estimated $35m in annual state taxes.

Senate Chairman Michael Rodrigues commented: “This bill maximises benefits to the Commonwealth and minimises harm to consumers and the general public. We are bringing sports betting into the light of day.

“We in the Senate spent a lot of time thinking about a bill that achieves those three overarching goals of maximising revenue, promoting economic development and establishing the strongest consumer protection measures. I think we hit it on the head.”

The House has previously passed a bill on sports betting, including college sports, twice, most recently by a margin of 156 to 3. The Senate’s bill will now go back to the House for approval and could face several rejections over the proposed amendments.

The measure passed by the Senate prohibits the use of credit cards to place bets in the name of responsible gambling. The current bill would allow bettors to set limits on how much money and how often they gamble.

The Senate also rejected several other points, including funnelling money to care for retired racehorses and paying for mental health professionals in schools.


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