Massachusetts’ number of governor candidates is on the rise after its current governor, Charlie Baker, officially announced that he will not run for a third term last month. Eric Lesser, who is planning to be on the Democratic ticket and currently works as a state lawmaker, thinks that sports betting in the state should become legal before the gubernatorial shutdown in 2022.
A Sports Betting Bill Was Almost Passed in 2021
Ever since the 2018 Supreme Court decision, which allowed US states to regulate sports betting as they please, more than 30 of them have passed laws to make the industry legal. There were some efforts to legalize sports betting in the state by the end of 2021, but they failed. According to the state’s commercial casinos, this is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.
MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park are supportive of the idea of allowing Massachusetts residents to bet on professional and collegiate sports. They claim that currently, they are at a massive competitive disadvantage to casinos in Connecticut and Rhode Island because the mentioned forms of gambling in these two states are considered legal.
Apart from allowing retail sports betting, the aforementioned two states also allow patrons to participate in mobile wagering activities. New Hampshire is also a state where retail and online betting are allowed.
Eric Lesser Supports The Idea Of Legalizing Sportsbooks in Massachusetts
Lesser has been campaigning for the idea of legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts ever since the ban on gambling was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2018. While speaking to MassLive, Lesser stated that he hopes to legalize sports betting before the end of the campaign, which is 10 or 11 months from now.
His comments on sports betting came just a few hours after he announced that he will be running for the commonwealth’s lieutenant governor. Currently, Lesser hasn’t announced a running mate, but political pundits believe that the main candidate is Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General.
According to Lesser, legalizing sports betting is of massive importance as it could bring a lot of money in tax revenue to the state. House Bill 3993, which was passed last July and concerns sports betting, is legislation that would allow the state’s three commercial casinos to run sportsbooks.
The GGR from land-based sportsbooks would be taxed at 12.5% while mobile sportsbook GGR would be taxed at 15%. With these numbers, estimates have calculated that thanks to sports betting, Massachusetts could receive as much as $60 million annually.
Statehouse reporter Mike Deehan considers sports betting to be a priority this year, although he believes that the state’s House and Senate have different ideas. He pointed out that even though House wants to legalize it, Senate keeps “dragging their heels.”
Deehan also added that at the end, it all comes down to what House and Senate have to say, and since they have opposing opinions, they need to “jam together and come up with a compromise” at the end of their sessions. However, this is where things tend to fall apart, and hence, compromises don’t see the light of the day.