Senate dismisses MA sports betting tax increase proposal

Massachusetts Senate Rejects Tax Hike
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Massachusetts lawmakers are no longer considering an increase to the state’s tax rate on sports betting revenue.

On Thursday, Sen. John Keenan saw his proposal, Amendment 828, rejected by the Massachusetts Senate as a measure that aimed to raise the tax for online sportsbooks from 20% to 51%. The increase would have placed Massachusetts next to New York as regulated U.S. gambling markets with the highest tax rates for sports betting operators.

Amendment 828 sought to change the Senate’s FY2025 budget plan, which estimates tax revenue across the state to reach at least $41.5 billion. Next fiscal year’s plan is approximately a $208 million decline from projected tax revenue for FY2024.

Keenan failed to see his tax rate proposal become a reality but the Senator is still wanting changes to Massachusetts’s active gaming laws. The Democratic lawmaker during a Senate hearing voiced his concerns for college player prop wagering, which has emerged as a hot topic for lawmakers and licensed operators nationwide. Keenan also shared his disdain for live wagering as he perceives it as the “crack cocaine of sports betting.”

Increases on the table in other markets

New Jersey and Illinois are now the two remaining states that have lawmakers considering an increase to sports betting tax rates.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has voiced his desire to increase the sports betting tax rate in the Land of Lincoln from 15% to 35%. The potential tax hike for Illinois operators could generate an additional $200 million in annual revenue.

New Jersey is also considering a bill that increases tax rates. Sen. John F. McKeon has introduced Senate No. 3064, a bill that would raise the state’s sports betting tax to 30%.