There seems to be plenty of support to legalize Massachusetts sports betting. How and when that happens, though, remains up in the air.
There are now at least 23 MA sports betting bills filed in both chambers of the state legislature. That is up from 14 in February.
The good thing for sports bettors in the Bay State is there are multiple reasons to legalize betting this year:
- The search for more revenue following the coronavirus pandemic.
- Support from legislative leaders, including Gov. Charlie Baker who has a bill of his own.
- Plenty of time., as the Massachusetts Legislature does not adjourn until the end of the year.
- Pressure from border states to keep betting dollars in-state.
Massachusetts sports betting misses House budget
One recent development in Massachusetts sports betting is the issue missed inclusion in the proposed House budget.
That does not mean the House is against it, though. House Speaker Ron Mariano said he thinks there is “potential to get it done in the House yet,” according to the Springfield Republican.
Mariano also mentioned MA sports betting in a speech at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce last month, giving homegrown DraftKings a special shoutout:
“The greatest danger to our long-term fiscal health is becoming over-reliant on federal assistance. While this federal funding may carry our budget for the next year or two, continued stability depends on finding new opportunities for revenue.
“That reasoning was the cause for the House’s urgency last session in passing legislation to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts which could bring more than $50 million in annual revenue to the state. I continue to support sports betting that creates in-person and mobile gaming licenses that will boost their existing casinos and racing facilities.
“Our legislation will also correct the unacceptable result of the current legal landscape which forbids a homegrown business like DraftKings from offering its product within its own borders. DraftKings was created here, they’ve stayed here and they’ve grown here. It’s time Massachusetts allows them a future here.”
Betting dollars flowing out of state
Fortunately for sports bettors in eastern Massachusetts and the Boston area, there are legal options.
Both sports betting in Rhode Island and DraftKings Sportsbook‘s New Hampshire sports betting mobile monopoly allow remote registration. That means legal betting is within an hour’s drive for anyone in the Boston area.
The western part of the state has fewer options, but not for long.
Mobile sports betting in New York will finally become a reality by early 2022 with at least four skins operating in the state. The hope is to get mobile betting launched at some point this NFL season. Sen. Joe Addabbo said he hopes the Super Bowl can serve as a benchmark to show how the industry is operating so far.
Sports betting in Connecticut is also eyeing, for now, a launch at the beginning of the NFL season in early September. The Connecticut Lottery is already wrapping up its request for qualifications this Friday.