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Sports Betting News: Oh my Massachusetts
Updated June 14, 2021
The legal week that was feels much longer for a resident of Massachusetts. Think about it, DraftKings is headquartered right in Boston, MA. Sports betting seemed like a foregone conclusion. With that said, it hasn’t happened and finally, there will be some movement as last this coming week. As always, at Vegas Betting, we have the latest news.
Massachusetts has multiple sports betting bills waiting in the wings
Unfortunately clamoring by the people of the state has had little influence. The Massachusetts legislature has been slow to react. At least, the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies will meet on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET. The biggest problem exists in the fact that the state has left sports betting out of its budget proposals. Is it because they simply want to stall it a little more?
Massachusetts keeps inflicting wounds on itself by its own inaction. State residents have options now. They can drive north to New Hampshire or down to Rhode Island. Furthermore, Connecticut may open up its sports betting as soon as the Fall. I almost forgot. New York sports betting expects to launch in time for Super Bowl wagering.
There are a total of 19 bills on the docket. That gives about three minutes for every topic discussed. It should be an entertaining four-hour block of time. Expect the testimony to be fast and furious as the clock is ticking.
Why is the clock ticking in Massachusetts?
From looking at this in several ways, the House has been cooperating in getting bills to the Senate. Unfortunately, it has been the Senate that has been the biggest obstacle. Massachusetts residents cannot bet when it comes to the 2021 NHL playoffs or any other sport for that matter.
Frustration has been mounting since 2020 featured no action while neighboring states were pocketing millions and millions of dollars. Tax revenue heading to other states is hurting the Bay State. Further inaction only compounds the problem.
Again, last year, the Senate was gifted with an easy-to-pass bill with seven mobile licenses. They shot that down with ease and then tabled everything well into 2021. The problem stems from a constant pull between those who want an open mobile market. However, others want licenses tethered completely to casinos and racetracks.
This merry-go-round aggravates everyone involved. The committee must come up with a model that can go to the Senate. Even then, everyone in the state is at the mercy of the legislative body.
Going a bit back in time with Massachusetts and sports betting
Two years ago, the committee was in this same, exact position. Most cannot comprehend how this happened but at least, they have come back full circle. It is progress — well sort of.
However, the point of emphasis here is they have hours. The last committee had two days to debate the matters at hand. What have they learned from 2019 that will make this a faster process? One can understand why some in Massachusetts are not very optimistic.
What happened then was revealing. The joint committee in 2019 had some solid, concrete ideas. The House passed their version and bills but the Senate did not. Nothing went to the governor’s desk.
“State senators passed a $47.72 billion budget following three days of debate that includes no new taxes but punted off major policy changes including action on sports betting.”
Then, there was the added insult of not seeing sports betting on the 2020 or 2021 budgets.
More problems with sports betting and Massachusetts
The sobering part of all this lies in this one, simple quote.
“While the Massachusetts sports betting market will eventually be legalized, there’s no indication as to when this will happen. The downside of this is that the state will be leaving millions of dollars on the table”
It’s quite a shame that the state cannot figure this out. Part of the problems aligns with the fact that most of the bills are rough around the edges. One bill wants online gaming options but bans all college betting. It is like having one’s cake and trying to eat it too.
There is a bill by Senator Bandor Crighton which offers hope. The tax rates present as reasonable. Though the bill is not perfect by any means, it is an improvement over most of the bills currently on the table. There are 24 in all. That is a large amount to sift through in short order.
The optimism is rightfully fading in Massachusetts. Most feel the state is on a “Moby Dick” like quest for the perfect bill. That is not going to happen. Look at states like New Jersey. They were the first and even a few years later, there are still amendments waiting.
The point is simple. There will always be tinkering. That is the nature of the process. Time is not on the side of the state. If sports betting does not get off the ground by the end of 2021, Vermont and Massachusetts will be left in the cold. Every other state gets to bet in the Northeast. That will mean a missed opportunity for a piece of the pie.
Will Massachusetts get an approvable framework done?
It’s a great question. The answer is much murkier. How the legislature in Massachusetts works can be best described as mysterious. One never quite knows what will happen next. The lean here is to expect state residents to have to wait longer yet. Those are words that few want to hear.