We have seen the launch and impending presence of legal sports betting platforms in other New England states such as Rhode Island and New Hampshire but stumbling blocks continue to rule the conversation in Massachusetts.
“We’re watching New Hampshire closely, just as we watched Rhode Island closely,” said Sen. Eric Lesser, a Democrat from Longmeadow. “We’re keeping a close eye on it." He went on to say that: “The timeline and the committee’s work will be determined by our members and the substance of what we’re going over”.
Words without action threaten to keep the state void of the tax revenues currently being enjoyed by 20 state coffers across the nation.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s predicted mid-2020 launch for a legal sports betting platform in Massachusetts but lawmakers just can't seem to get their ducks in a row. Eric Lesser summed it up best when he said that Sports Betting in Massachusetts would have to be rolled out "correctly" while citing the issues in Rhode Island and that state falling short of revenue expectations. What “correctly” means remains the biggest hurdle.
There has been talk surrounding wagering on college sports, taxation levels and there have been multiple sports betting bills that have been brought forward in Massachusetts but still there is no lawmaker that would commit to sports betting legislation in the next year.
The obvious appetite
Some key lawmakers in Massachusetts appear to be on the side of Legal Sports Gambling in the state. One such supporter, Rep. Brad Hill, the House’s assistant minority leader recently said: “To say I’m disappointed we don’t already have something would be an understatement… When Rhode Island passed it, I thought we would push quickly but that didn’t happen.”
He went on to say: “I know there are issues when you implement sports betting, but we have enough information now to adopt some form of sports betting here in Massachusetts,” Hill added. “We should be able to do something soon.”
Gov. Charlie Baker recently commented: "And we now have states around us that have done this as well in the Northeast, so I mean this is going to be a thing I think pretty much everywhere, and our view was that we should get on with the show."
It's not like Massachusetts doesn't have some good models to follow on their quest toward sports legalization. Recently Gov. Baker said: "We actually filed legislation to create legalized sports betting in Massachusetts, we filed that back in January. We filed that in large part because we already had some templates. The state of New Jersey was the first to go, and we basically borrowed their template as kind of our framework for the legislation that we filed and added a couple of things to it."
Massachusetts now has 20 examples of how to successfully roll out a legal sports betting platform. Excuses are getting old and time is ticking for an industry that Governor Baker predicts could add $35 million in revenue for the state's education and social programs. For now, citizens of Massachusetts will just have to cross state lines to place their bets, spend their gambling dollars there and as a result provide their neighbors with the tax revenue.