Coalition Asks Massachusetts Legislators to Pass Sports Betting Bill

Massachusetts legislators were asked Friday to decide on adding sports betting to the legislature by a group of state sports teams and gaming operators.

New Job Opportunities and Revenue for The State

On November 20, a coalition of gaming companies and sports teams asked the Massachusetts Legislature to pass a sports betting bill before the end of 2020.

Sports betting is not legal yet in the state, as an amendment suggested by Senator Bruce Tarr over the summer was recently rejected.

State sports teams, including the Boston Red Sox, New England Revolution, and New England Patriots, as well as sports betting operators DraftKings, FanDuel, MGM Springfield, and the PGA Tour, requested, in a letter sent Friday, that lawmakers approve sports betting as part of a jobs legislation.

The final version of the bill has been in the works since July when the versions of the jobs bill of the House and the Senate were issued. The document states that passing sports betting will generate a minimum of $50 million in taxes, while legislators said they expect $20 million in tax revenue.

As gaming companies were forced to make cost-cutting decisions due to the impact of the pandemic, legalizing sports betting would secure employment in Massachusetts, according to the coalition.

The letter reads “Massachusetts has already lost jobs that could have been housed here by not acting sooner on sports betting.”

Senate and House to Decide on Sports Betting Provision

The Senate rejected sports betting as part of the bill during a debate on the budget, while the House added a provision on sports bettings in its legislation. They said a conference committee is planned to harmonize both legislations.

Various committees are being held to decide on the bill’s final terms on the economy, health care, police reform, and climate change, among other points.

Senator Eric Lesser said after the rejection of the sports wagering bill, that this was not a priority at the moment, as “this specific bill on this specific day, which we pointed out earlier in our session when the debate began is about an emergency response economically to the coronavirus depression that we find ourselves in.”

Sports Betting Could Pass Before The End of The Year

According to David Friedman, Red Sox Senior Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs, declared that sports betting will allow the state to generate income and bring regulation to the illegal market during those difficult times for the economy.

He added that he was optimistic a sports betting bill could still pass in the state before the end of 2020, despite fewer chances to find a regulated sportsbook or a legal sports wagering app in the next few months.

“I think the leaders we have today in the House and Senate have proven their ability to tackle a lot of major issues and take steps that help the Massachusetts economy, and I have faith that these leaders are smart and talented enough and focused enough to get this done,” he said. “We hope that they do.”

David Friedman, Red Sox Senior Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs

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