Massachusetts Gaming Commission to Probe Sports Betting in New Study

The Massachusetts State Senate is not convinced that sports betting would be best for the state, but then again, the state’s Gaming Commission has decided to go ahead with a study that will probe the benefits of introducing a legalized sports betting framework in the Bay State. 

While Massachusetts pushed through with a bill to legalize sports gambling in July, the bill lost momentum in the Senate, which never truly discussed it, effectively leaving it out to lose all momentum. There are hopes that this may change by the end of 2021, but those hopes are slim. 

The commission met on Thursday and discussed an interim study carried out by the Social and Economic Impacts of Gambling in Massachusetts (SEIGMA), which touched on several important points related directly to sports betting. 

As a result of the interim study, MGC director of research and responsible gaming Mark Vander Linden deemed that it would be best to commission a full-scale study that focuses on how sports betting has been successfully implemented in over 30 states across the US. 

Vander Linden and fellow colleagues from the MGC expect the study to be able to collate all available data from individual states that have successfully rolled out their gambling industries and sports betting. One of the key areas of focus is mitigating gambling harm that may transpire after the full-scale legalization of sports gambling. 

Catching Up to MA’s Peers 

The MGC has been showing a lot of interest in understanding gambling better as it expects that it would eventually be the governing body for all sports betting operations. Meanwhile, the state finds itself surrounded by neighbors who are openly embracing sports gambling, to name New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

New York has just passed a bill that would make it legal for residents to place interactive wagers on sports, possibly turning the Empire State into one of the biggest sports betting states. This title now goes to New Jersey, which clocked in over $1.3 billion worth of wagers in the month of October. 

Meanwhile, MGC members continue to probe the matter with pragmatism. Commission member Brad Hill argued that the legalization of sports gambling would be “an issue that we are going to be all dealing with in the very near future.” That is why the commissioners have charged SEIGMA to carry out more detailed research into sports gambling. 

Cellular Data Another Important Matter 

The MGC is also looking into some other metrics that it is interested in. For example, the commissioners are interested to know if SEIGMA can analyze mobile phone location data to see where patrons are based or coming from. However, the commission seemingly has only time to do one.

Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein deliberated on the two proposed research topics, i.e., an overall analysis of sports betting versus cellular data. However, a broader approach has been chosen to best benefit the state’s current needs. Massachusetts began opening to gambling in 2011 when the state exacted changes in its laws that allowed it to award three casino resort licenses, two of which have been won by the MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor.

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