The requests for Senate action first came from the Massachusetts House and Gov. Charlie Baker. Now, nearly 90 small businesses are asking the Senate to legalize sports betting in MA.
According to the Springfield Republican, those businesses penned a letter to the state’s 40 senators in support of a bill from Sen. Adam Gomez that rolled over from 2021.
The businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and will struggle even more if casinos lure business away with legalized Massachusetts sports betting:
“We cannot afford to lose more customers than we currently have and for the establishments within a certain distance of casinos they will not be able to compete fairly if they don’t have the option of providing in person sports betting,” the letter reads in part.
Details of MA sports betting bill
Gomez’s bill did not get much attention last year, but neither did anything else the Senate did with MA sports betting.
S 264 authorizes in-person and mobile sports betting in Massachusetts at significantly different costs. A five-year license for mobile betting is $10 million while an in-person license is $250,000. Those in-person licenses are available to lottery retailers and gaming operators.
That retail betting license cost sounds low but could still be tough for struggling businesses. Renewals are a bit easier on the wallet, as both types of licenses would be just $100,000 for five years.
The main bill focused on last year in the Senate, S 269 from Sen. Eric Lesser, did not call for retailers to be included.
Will a Massachusetts betting bill pass this year?
There was a surprising lack of action on sports betting by the Massachusetts Senate last year. Sports betting was the topic of a joint committee meeting back in June when there were more than 20 bills filed.
The House moved quickly and eventually passed a new bill just over a month later before both chambers left for summer break. That bill, H 3977, did not authorize betting through lottery retailers but called for a study on placing kiosks throughout the state.
But the Senate effort led by Lesser never took another bite at the proverbial apple. That should change this year, though. Lesser is running for Lieutenant Governor and plans to push sports betting on the campaign trail, he told the Springfield Republican.
The quicker, the better for Massachusetts, which now has four of its five border states live with legal mobile sports betting: