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Jerome García March 8, 2021 3 min read
Massachusetts Lawmakers Discuss Sports Betting Legalization
Massachusetts’ lawmakers are still considering the legalization of sports betting in the state. Although several bills propose the expansion of gambling, the state’s legislature is yet to initiate the legalization of sports wagering.
Debate on Sports Wagering Legalization in Massachusetts Continues
Although many US states have undertaken steps to expand gambling to include sports betting, more than a dozen are still in the process of legalizing the activity. This is precisely the case for Massachusetts. As the Bay State seeks to legalize sports betting, currently, several bills are proposing the expansion.
One bill that seems to have a chance for success was proposed by Governor Charlie Baker. If passed, the bill would allow sports wagering to be offered both in-person and online. Furthermore, the bill sets the legal sports wagering age at 21 years.
During a Senate Committee hearing last month, Senator Eric Lesser voiced support for the proposal. According to him, the legalization of sports wagering would bring some $35 million annually to the state’s coffers as tax. While the bill proposes a 20% tax on retail sports betting, online sports wagering would be taxed at 25%. However, betting on collegiate sports is not allowed under the current proposal.
More Money to Stay in Massachusetts
According to supporters of the gambling expansion, the legalization of sports wagering will reduce the money, flowing to other jurisdictions that currently offer the activity. In other words, sports fans who would want to wager in Massachusetts will no longer need to go to neighboring New Hampshire, New York, or Rhode Island. Besides retaining money which is usually spent on sports wagering outside the state, there are more benefits from legalizing the activity.
If Massachusetts legalizes and regulates sports wagering, fewer players are going to spend their money with unlicensed and black market operators. Furthermore, many major companies, currently offering sports wagering services across the US have various player protection tools. Those tools can significantly help people who suffer from problem gambling or are at risk.
Will Sports Wagering Legalization Bring Harms or Goods for Local Businesses?
A different bill, pushed forward by State Senator Adam Gomez and State Representative Orlando Ramos, proposes local retail to be able to offer sports wagering. If the legislature in Massachusetts decides to go ahead with that proposal, it’s not only the major companies on the market that will benefit from the gambling expansion.
If that bill is approved, minority-owned retail are going to have a significant chance to boost their revenue. Besides revenue from sports wagering, convenience stores and other retail will undoubtedly see an increase in their usual sales, considering that the activity will draw crowds of people.
Although legalizing sports wagering in the Bay State sounds promising, Senator Jamie Eldridge, a long-term opponent of casino gambling, does not agree entirely with the gambling expansion. Speaking with Boston Herald last week, the Senator revealed that he supports sports wagering if the activity is not offered within a casino. According to him, if the people’s limited dollars for recreation and entertainment go to a casino, “then that’s money that’s not spent at the local restaurant or museum or in the community“.