HOUSE . . . . . . . . No. 3977
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, July 21, 2021.
The committee on Ways and Means, to whom was referred the Bill to
regulate sports wagering (House, No. 3974), reports recommending that
the accompanying bill (House, No. 3977) ought to pass with an
amendment substituting therefor the accompanying bill (House, No.
For the committee,
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FILED ON: 7/21/2021
HOUSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . No. 3977
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
In the One Hundred and Ninety-Second General Court
An Act regulating sports wagering.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority
of the same, as follows:
1 SECTION 1. Section 7 of chapter 4 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking
2 out clause Tenth, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, and inserting in place thereof the
3 following clause:-
4 Tenth, “Illegal gaming”, a banking or percentage game played with cards, dice, tiles,
5 dominoes, or an electronic, electrical or mechanical device or machine for money, property,
6 checks, credit or any representative of value, but excluding: (i) a lottery game conducted by the
7 state lottery commission, under sections 24, 24A and 27 of chapter 10; (ii) a game conducted
8 under chapter 23K; (iii) sports wagering conducted under chapter 23N; (iv) pari-mutuel wagering
9 on horse races under chapters 128A and 128C and greyhound races under said chapter 128C; (v)
10 a game of bingo conducted under chapter 271; and (vi) charitable gaming conducted under said
11 chapter 271.
12 SECTION 2. Chapter 12 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after
13 section 11M the following section:-
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14 Section 11M½. Notwithstanding sections 24, 24A and 27 of chapter 10, chapter 271 or
15 any other general or special law to the contrary, a person or entity that offers fantasy contests for
16 a cash prize to members of the public may offer a fantasy contest to residents of the
17 commonwealth pursuant to and in accordance with regulations promulgated by the attorney
18 general; provided further, for the purposes of section 7 of chapter 4, a fantasy contest shall not be
19 considered illegal gaming. “Fantasy contest” includes any fantasy or simulated game or contest,
20 including, but not limited to, any fantasy or simulated game or contest based on college or
21 professional sports events in which: (i) the value of all prizes and awards offered to winning
22 participants are established and made known to the participants in advance of the contest; (ii) all
23 winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the participants and shall be
24 determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results of the performance of individuals,
25 including athletes in the case of sports events; and (iii) no winning outcome is based on the
26 score, point spread, or any performance or performances of any single actual team or
27 combination of such teams or solely on any single performance of an individual athlete or player
28 in any single actual event.
29 SECTION 3. Section 4 of chapter 23K, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is
30 hereby amended by striking out subsections (40) and (41) and inserting in place thereof the
31 following 3 subsections:-
32 (40) provide assistance to the governor in negotiating a compact with a federally-
33 recognized Indian tribe in the commonwealth;
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34 (41) regulate and enforce section 7A of chapter 271 relating to bazaars; provided,
35 however, that nothing in this section shall limit the attorney general’s authority over public
36 charities pursuant to the General Laws; and
37 (42) regulate and enforce chapter 23N relating to sports wagering.
38 SECTION 4. The General Laws are hereby amended by inserting after chapter 23M the
39 following chapter:-
40 CHAPTER 23N
41 AUTHORIZATION AND REGULATION OF SPORTS WAGERING
42 Section 1. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Massachusetts Sports
43 Wagering Act”.
44 Section 2. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the operation of
45 sports wagering and ancillary activities shall be lawful when conducted in accordance with this
46 chapter and the rules and regulations of the commission.
47 Section 3. As used in this chapter the following words shall, unless the context clearly
48 requires otherwise, have the following meanings:
49 “Adjusted gross sports wagering receipts”, an operator’s total gross receipts from sports
50 wagering, excluding sports wagers made with promotional gaming credits, less the total of all
51 winnings paid to wagerers in such games, which shall include the cash equivalent of any
52 merchandise or thing of value awarded as a prize, and all excise taxes paid pursuant to federal
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54 “Affiliate”, a person who directly or indirectly controls, or is controlled by, or is under
55 common control with, a specified person.
56 “Applicant”, a person who has applied for a license to engage in activity regulated under
57 this chapter.
58 “Category 1 license”, a license issued by the commission that permits the operation of
59 sports wagering in person at a gaming establishment, as defined in section 2 of chapter 23K, and
60 through not more than 3 individually-branded mobile applications or other digital platforms
61 approved by the commission; provided, that the mobile applications or other digital platforms
62 shall be qualified for and issued a category 3 license.
63 “Category 2 license”, a license issued by the commission that permits the operation of
64 sports wagering in-person on the premises where either: (1) live horse racing is conducted in
65 accordance with chapter 128A or (2) the licensee is authorized by law to conduct simulcast
66 wagering on horse or greyhound racing, and through not more than 1 individually branded
67 mobile application or other digital platform approved by the commission; provided, that the
68 mobile applications or other digital platforms shall be qualified for and issued a category 3
69 license; provided further, that the commission may issue a category 2 license to: (1) a person or
70 entity licensed by the commission in accordance with said chapter 128A to conduct a live horse
71 racing meeting, (2) a running horse racing licensee that conducted simulcast wagering as of
72 December 31, 2021 as authorized by law, or (3) a greyhound meeting licensee that conducted
73 simulcast wagering as of December 31, 2021 as authorized by law.
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74 “Category 3 license”, a license issued by the commission that permits the operation of
75 sports wagering through a mobile application and other digital platforms approved by the
77 “Close associate”, a person who holds a relevant financial interest in, or is entitled to
78 exercise power in, the business of an applicant or licensee and, by virtue of that interest or
79 power, is able to exercise a significant influence over the management or operation of a gaming
80 establishment or business licensed under this chapter
81 “Collegiate sport or athletic event”, a sport or athletic event offered or sponsored by, or
82 played in connection with, a public or private institution that offers educational services beyond
83 the secondary level.
84 “Commission”, the Massachusetts gaming commission established in section 3 of chapter
86 “Governmental authority”, any governmental unit of a national, state or local body
87 exercising governmental functions, except the United States government.
88 “License”, any license applied for or issued by the commission under this chapter,
89 including, but not limited to: (i) an operator license or (ii) an occupational license.
90 “National criminal history background check system”, the criminal history record system
91 maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, based on fingerprint identification or any
92 other method of positive identification.
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93 “Occupational license”, a license required to be held by an employee of an operator when
94 the employee performs duties directly related to the operation of sports wagering in the
95 commonwealth in a supervisory role.
96 “Official league data”, statistics, results, outcomes and other data relating to a sporting
97 event that is obtained pursuant to an agreement with the relevant sports governing body, or with
98 an entity expressly authorized by the relevant sports governing body to provide such data to
99 sports wagering operators, which authorizes the use of such data for determining the outcome of
100 tier 2 sports wagers on such sporting event.
101 “Operator” or “sports wagering operator”, any entity permitted under this chapter to offer
102 sports wagering to persons in the commonwealth through a category 1 license, category 2 license
103 or category 3 license.
104 “Operator license”, a category 1 license, category 2 license or category 3 license to
105 operate sports wagering.
106 “Personal biometric data”, any information about an athlete that is derived from that
107 athlete’s physical or physiological characteristics, including, but not limited to, deoxyribonucleic
108 acid, heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration rate, internal or external body temperature, hormone
109 levels, glucose levels, hydration levels, vitamin levels, bone density, muscle density or sleep
111 “Professional sport or athletic event”, an event at which 2 or more persons participate in a
112 sports event and receive compensation in excess of actual expenses for their participation in such
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114 “Promotional gaming credit”, a sports wagering credit or other item issued by an operator
115 to a patron to enable the placement of a sports wager.
116 “Qualified gaming entity”, an entity that: (i) holds a gaming license as defined in section
117 2 of chapter 23K; (ii) (a) is licensed by the commission in accordance with chapter 128A to
118 conduct a live horse racing meeting, (b) is a running horse racing licensee that conducted
119 simulcast wagering as of December 31, 2021 as authorized by law or (c) is a greyhound meeting
120 licensee that conducted simulcast wagering as of December 31, 2021 as authorized by law; or
121 (iii) offers an interactive sports wagering platform through a mobile application or other digital
123 “Sports event” or “sporting event”, any professional sport or athletic event, collegiate
124 sport or athletic event, motor race event, electronic sports event, competitive video game event
125 or any other event authorized by the commission under this chapter.
126 “Sports governing body”, an organization that is headquartered in the United States and
127 prescribes final rules and enforces codes of conduct with respect to a sporting event and
128 participants therein; provided, however, that, notwithstanding the foregoing, the commission
129 shall adopt regulations to determine the governing body for electronic sports for the purposes of
130 this chapter.
131 “Sports wager”, a wager on a sporting event or a portion of a sporting event.
132 “Sports wagering”, the business of accepting wagers on sporting events or portions of
133 sporting events, other events, the individual performance statistics of athletes in a sporting event
134 or other events or a combination of any of the same by any system or method of wagering
135 approved by the commission including, but not limited to, mobile applications and other digital
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136 platforms; provided, that sports wagering shall not include the acceptance of any wager: (i) with
137 an outcome dependent on the performance of an individual athlete in any collegiate sport or
138 athletic event, including, but not limited, to in-game or in-play wagers; (ii) on a high school or
139 youth sporting event; or (iii) on injuries, penalties, player discipline or replay review; and
140 provided further, that sports wagering shall not include fantasy contests as defined in section
141 11M½ of chapter 12. Sports wagering shall include, but shall not be limited to, single-game bets,
142 teaser bets, parlays, over-under, moneyline, pools, exchange wagering, in-game wagering, in-
143 play bets, proposition bets and straight bets.
144 “Sports wagering account”, a financial record established by an operator for an individual
145 patron in which the patron may deposit by any method approved by the commission and
146 withdraw funds for sports wagering and other authorized purchases, and to which the operator
147 may credit winnings or other amounts due to or authorized by that patron. Such account may be
148 established and funded by the patron electronically through an approved mobile application or
149 digital platform.
150 “Tier 1 sports wager”, a sports wager that is determined solely by the final score or
151 outcome of a sporting event and is placed before the sporting event has begun.
152 “Tier 2 sports wager”, a sports wager that is not a tier 1 sports wager.
153 “Wager”, a sum of money or thing of value risked on an uncertain occurrence.
154 Section 4. (a) The commission shall regulate the conduct of sports wagering under this
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156 (b) The commission may promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the
157 implementation, administration and enforcement of this chapter. The commission may
158 promulgate emergency rules and regulations in accordance with applicable procedures for the
159 promulgation of emergency rules and regulations.
160 (c) The commission shall promulgate regulations to prohibit: (i) the purchase or other use
161 of any personal biometric data of an athlete for sports wagering or aiding a patron in placing a
162 wager with sports wagering operators; and (ii) the following advertising, marketing and branding
164 (A) advertisements, marketing and branding in such a manner that it is deceptive, false,
165 misleading, or untrue, or tends to deceive or create a misleading impression whether directly, or
166 by ambiguity or omission;
167 (B) use of unsolicited pop-up advertisements on the internet or by text message directed
168 to an individual on the list of self-excluded persons established pursuant to paragraph (2) of
169 subsection (e) of section 13;
170 (C) any form of advertising, marketing or branding that the commission deems
171 unacceptable or disruptive to the viewer experience at a sports event;
172 (D) advertising, marketing and branding deemed to appeal directly to a person younger
173 than 21 years old; and
174 (E) advertising on any billboards, or any other public signage, which fails to comply with
175 any federal state or local law.
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176 (d) The commission may promulgate rules and regulations including, but not limited to,
177 those governing the acceptance of wagers on a sports event, other event or a series of sports
178 events; types of wagering receipts which may be used; methods of issuing receipts; methods of
179 accounting to be used by operators; types of records to be kept; types of systems for wagering;
180 protections for patrons placing wagers; and promotion of social responsibility and responsible
181 gambling; provided, that such regulations shall include a requirement that all mobile applications
182 and digital platforms authorized for sports wagering include prominently upon each entry into
183 the application or platform, the following statement: “If you or someone you know has a
184 gambling problem and wants help, call the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health on the
185 Safer Gaming Education Line at 1-800-426-1234 or the Massachusetts Department of Public
186 Health helpline at 1-800-327-5050.”
187 (e) The commission shall: (i) determine the eligibility of a person to hold or continue to
188 hold a license; (ii) issue all licenses; and (iii) maintain a record of all licenses issued under this
189 chapter. The commission may accept applications, evaluate qualifications of applicants,
190 undertake initial review of licenses and issue temporary licenses.
191 (f) The commission shall levy and collect all fees, surcharges, civil penalties and taxes on
192 adjusted gross sports wagering receipts imposed by this chapter, except as otherwise provided
193 under this chapter.
194 (g) The commission shall have the authority to enforce this chapter and any rule or
195 regulation of the commission and may request that the attorney general bring an action to enforce
196 this chapter or any rule or regulation of the commission by civil action or petition for injunctive
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198 (h) The commission may hold hearings, administ