New Emerson Poll Measures Support For Massachusetts Sports Betting

Written By Jason Schaumburg on May 9, 2022Last Updated on May 10, 2022
Mass. Senate Major Supports Sports Betting

New polling shows 46% of registered voters surveyed support legal sports betting in Massachusetts.

Among the questions Emerson College Polling Massachusetts asked 848 registered voters between May 2 and May 4, was: “Do you think gambling on professional and college sports should be legal in Massachusetts?”

Thirty-four percent of respondents said sports gambling should not be legal, and 21% were unsure.

Demographics breakdown

Females comprised 424 of the 848 people surveyed, and males accounted for 404 of respondents. Nineteen identified as non-binary or other. Thirty percent of respondents were between ages 30-49, another 30% were between ages 50-64, 24% were age 65 or older and 16% were between ages 18-29.

“There is a stark age divide when it comes to sports gambling: 62% of 18-29 year olds and 56% of 30-49 year olds think it should be legal, compared to a lesser 40% of 50-64 and just 28% of those over 65 who think it should be legal.” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling. “Men are much more in favor of sports gambling than women: 60% of men think it should be legal compared to 32% of women.”

The poll’s margin of error was 3.3 percentage points.

Sports betting in Massachusetts

The Bay State is one of 16 US states without legal sports gambling. It is not because of a lack of trying. The Massachusetts House has passed multiple sports betting bills, but most failed to gain any MA Senate support.

Late last month, however, the state Senate passed an amended version of H3993, a sports betting bill that passed the House in July. There are key differences between the House version of the bill and the Senate version, including:

  • The House version legalizes betting on professional and college sports; the Senate version only allows for legal betting on professional sports;
  • The Senate version taxes online sports wagering at 35% and in-person betting at 20%; the House proposes 15% and 12.5% tax rates, respectively;
  • The House proposal allows each state casino three online skins, and three racetracks each get one retail sportsbook skin; the Senate limits sports wagering licenses to one in person and one online skin for three casinos and six regional sportsbooks;
  • The Senate bans sports betting TV advertising during game broadcasts.

What’s next?

Since the state Senate passed a version of the bill that did not match the House version, the House must take up the Senate version in a concurrence vote. If that concurrence vote fails, the issue would go to a conference committee, which would try to craft an agreed upon bill that cannot be amended.

The speaker of the House and the Senate president would appoint three members each to the conference committee. The agreed-upon bill would have to pass both chambers before headed to the governor.

State Rep. Dan Cahill, who is a co-sponsor of H3993, told Play MA Monday he did not know when a concurrence vote might happen or when a conference committee would be formed should the concurrence vote fail in the House.

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Jason Schaumburg

Jason Schaumburg is the managing editor of He has more than 20 years of journalism experience and spent nearly four years as communications director at the Illinois Lottery.

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