Massachusetts House Advances Sports Betting Bill to State Senate
Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images. Pictured: The steps of the Massachusetts State House.
A bill that would legalize sports betting in Massachusetts was expected to advance through the House this week. Now, it’s a reality.
The House has passed a $459 million economic plan that includes the legalization of sports betting in the state by a 156-3 vote.
It will now advance to the state’s Senate.
If passed by the Senate, it would head to the desk of Governor Charlie Baker, who has voiced his support for legalized sports betting in the past.
“This [legalized sports betting] is going to be a thing pretty much everywhere, and our view was we should get on with the show,” Baker said in an interview with Radio.com in 2019. “The legislature held a hearing on it [in spring 2019]. I certainly hope we get this done by the end of the legislative session, which is [summer] of 2020. But I would’ve liked to see it done sooner.”
Although the bill passed in the House with ease, advancing through the Senate is no guarantee, according to sources cited by MassLive.
The bill, which would allow for a larger number of licenses, would include both in-person and online betting.
Even though online betting would be allowed through casinos, the same would not apply to racetracks.
David Friedman, the senior vice president of legal and government affairs for the Boston Red Sox has expressed interest in legalized sports betting on behalf of the organization.
If sports betting were to be legalized in the Bay State, it would allow the team to cash in — although minimally — during a season that won’t include revenue from ticket sales or concessions.
The Red Sox have taken their stance to another level, joining DraftKings, FanDuel, and MGM in an effort to pass a sports betting bill.
The state has already possessed an affiliation with sports betting despite its current legal status. DraftKings was founded in Massachusetts and remains headquartered in the state.
“As we confront an economic downturn and budget shortfalls, this is a unique moment for the legislature to act to protect consumers, create jobs, and bring an infusion of tens of millions of dollars in much needed revenues to the Commonwealth,” the organizations said in a release earlier this month.
Massachusetts would certainly benefit from the sports betting aspect of the bill. Like a number of other states around the country, it has been hit by the coronavirus crisis, causing a large budget deficit.
With its legislative session ending on July 31, a final decision should come shortly.