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Massachusetts Governor Proclaims Need for Sports Betting; For Senate Review Once Again

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Sports betting is a good way for state legislatures to generate tax revenue which is one of the reasons lawmakers throughout the nation have pushed for legal wagering in their respective jurisdictions because of the financial return.

There are states, of course, that have not yet legalized sports betting, and they are missing out on significant tax revenue. Massachusetts is a state that has tried to pass sports betting multiple times, but nothing has come to fruition. Nevertheless, Governor Charlie Baker has declared that now is the time to pass a betting bill.

Time to pass sports betting in Massachusetts

Tax dollars have been shifting away from Massachusetts because the state has not found a way to implement legal wagering. Baker and many other lawmakers have filed sports betting bills to legalize online and retail wagering over the past two years.

There was momentum earlier this year, but the Senate’s summer break destroyed the opportunity for betting to be legalized. The legislative session runs through the remainder of the year, so there is time to pass sports betting, and Baker’s comments provide hope for the industry.

On Sunday, when the Patriots opened their season, Baker took to Twitter to give his thoughts on legal sports betting.

He wrote, “Great to see the @Patriots back! We filed a bill in 2019 and again this year to legalize sports betting in MA – it’s time to act and get this done. MA is losing out to many of our neighbors on this one.”

Sports betting updates in Massachusetts

The Senate has been the body that has limited sports betting in Massachusetts for the past two years. However, they have still not delivered like the House of Representatives in the state. The House passed H 3977 by a 156-3 margin, which strictly dealt with sports betting. The chamber approved an economic development bill that also would have brought sports betting to the state.

Last year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Senate President Karen Spilka stated that local sports betting was not a priority. The Senate has not seemed to change this thought process much in the 2021 legislative session.

S 269 is the primary Senate bill dealing with sports betting, and it was proposed by Senator Eric Lesser. It has not been amended since it was introduced in March, which is not a positive sign for sports betting.

Spilka has commented on sports betting, and she expects there to be a massive debate in the final months of the legislative session.

Lost tax dollars for Massachusetts

Many border states for Massachusetts have legalized sports betting, causing tax dollars to leave the area. New Hampshire and Rhode Island currently have live mobile sports betting, and the options are increasing.

These are both sole operator states, with New Hampshire operated by DraftKings and Caesars running Rhode Island’s market.

Connecticut sports betting is expected to go live in October, with DraftKings and FanDuel headlining the state. Mohegan Digital CEO has already declared that the casino is going to attract out-of-state bettors to FanDuel sportsbook.

Additionally, New York, mobile sports betting should be available by the Super Bowl.

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