Massachusetts Needs “a National Model” Sports Betting Bill

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As more states are legalizing sports wagering, Massachusetts could also see advancement for its sports betting bill if it fits the criterion for “a national model,” according to Senate President Karen Spilka. 

Massachusetts’ Sports Wagering Legalization Outlook

After dozens of failed attempts, Massachusetts lawmakers will try to legalize sports betting once again. In the new session, Senate President Karen Spilka will take the wait-and-see approach on the issue. 

During an interview with Bloomberg Radio last week, she didn’t take a position on the bill. She stated that if the lawmakers decide to go forward and legalize sports wagering, it could serve as “a national model.” 

Spilka also said that sports wagering legalization would require many discussions as she knows many members who have different thoughts on the subject. In 2010, Spilka opposed casino legislation. She said that she is not a gambler, but the bill ultimately passed and it is now a national model. According to her, the same thing needs to happen with the sports wagering bill. 

Many US states have already legalized gambling and sports wagering by extension. However, some states haven’t taken initiatives towards sports betting legalization, like Massachusetts. Nevertheless, lawmakers are not giving up on the idea to legalize sports betting in the state. 

First Steps in 2021 Towards Legalizing Sports Betting in the State

Sen. Brendan Crighton was the first in 2021 to restart talks on sports wagering legalization. His proposal resembled a previous one but had an increase in fee and tax rate. According to Crighton, Massachusetts residents bet on sports, but the money is going to the black market or other states. 

Last month Sen. Eric Lesser introduced legislation that could change the situation of sports betting in Massachusetts. He said that the state has been taking a cautious approach to the issue. In his opinion, regulated in-person and online sports wagering could generate significant revenue for Massachusetts. His proposal suggests prohibition on wagering on any collegiate or amateur sports and allows sports betting on professional sports. 

Parts of the bill include the prohibition of wagers on any amateur or collegiate sports and advocate for a focus exclusively on professional sports. Only people who are 21 years old or older could bet on sports in the state. Customers wouldn’t be able to use credit cards. Lesser’s proposal could become the starting point for debate on the subject in the Senate this year. According to him, sports wagering could bring up to $35 million annually to the state’s fund.

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