In the state of a global pandemic, Massachusetts is trying to recoup its financial losses by introducing an additional source of income. According to Gov. Charlie Baker and Red Sox’s David Friedman, this includes the legalization of sports betting.
Massachusetts Looks to Introduce Sports Betting to Recoup Financial Doldrums
Massachusetts will stand to benefit from the legalization of sports betting or so Gov. Charlie Baker believes amid the unfolding COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. He is not the only person to think so after a Boston Red Sox’s executive confirmed that the state stands to benefit from the legalization of the activity.
The Boston Red Sox have espoused the idea that sports betting is a “low-hanging fruit” and one that can bring significant benefits to Massachusetts’ economic development, especially in the context of a global pandemic.
Meanwhile, Gov. Baker has filed a legislation that would allow anyone aged 21 or older to place a sport bet legally in the state, either in person or by using a mobile platform. The governor explained that lawmakers wanted to retain as much of the sports betting outflow in the state and turn a healthy revenue off the activity. He further added:
“And I absolutely believe that, in addition to sort of the cross-border competition issues that would be addressed by doing something here in Massachusetts, it would certainly generate revenue and it would be something that a lot of people would be interested in here at home as opposed to doing across the border.”
A Gaping Tax Deficit in Massachusetts
The pandemic has also prompted the state to act quickly. While federal help has been welcome, Massachusetts may be looking at between $6 billion and $8 billion deficit gap. Sports betting wouldn’t be able to fill up the difference, but it will provide the state with an alternative form of tax income.
With the offshore sports betting industry estimated to be worth around $150 billion, Massachusetts will try to capture some of that revenue and bring it back to the state. Gov. Baker hopes that sports betting can rise $35 million in tax revenue, while some more optimistic analysts expect this digit to increase two-fold once sports betting is developed fully.
Red Sox’s David Friedman seems to agree with the plan that envisages sports betting as one of the levers of economic recovery. Sports in the state can also benefit from sports betting in purely financial terms, Friedman said.
He admitted, though, that sports betting won’t fix the budget deficit. The goal, however, is to provide Massachusetts with a source of income that will tick over nicely over the years and build up, he said.
Asked if legalizing sports betting and the financial crunch would worsen the integrity of sports and baseball in particular, Friedman said that mobile and online betting were more transparent than offshore operations and, as such, they could be checked for match-fixing.