Gov. Charlie Baker is ready to see legalized MA sports betting this year so potential tax dollars stop flowing over the state’s borders.
Baker and many others have filed bills to legalize Massachusetts sportsbooks the past two years. While there is movement this year, momentum to pass a bill stalled in the Senate before the summer break.
But it has been long enough, Baker said on Twitter Sunday:
“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.”
MA sports betting progress this year
The ball to legalize MA sports betting is in the Senate’s court, just like it was last year.
The House passed H 3977 out of the chamber by a 156-3 vote. That is the same margin by which it approved an economic development bill last year that also legalized sports betting in MA.
The Senate refused to act on sports betting last year, though. Senate President Karen Spilka told local media sports betting was not a priority last year.
So far, the Senate has done little with sports betting this year. Sen. Eric Lesser‘s S 269 will be the Senate’s main bill, but it has not been amended since it was introduced in March. The House reworked its proposal following a stakeholder meeting in June.
Spilka told another local outlet this year she expects a robust debate around Massachusetts sports betting.
More legal opportunities coming for Mass. residents
Baker has reason to put some pressure on the process to stop tax dollars from bleeding over the state border.
Residents in Massachusetts have two legal options right now: head north for New Hampshire sports betting with DraftKings Sportsbook or hit Rhode Island for sports betting operated by Caesars Sportsbook.
More options are coming as well. Online Connecticut sportsbooks should launch in October. Mohegan Digital CEO Rich Roberts said it will target out-of-state customers with its FanDuel Sportsbook after launch.
Sports betting in New York should get its first mobile sportsbooks around the Super Bowl.