Sports betting is back on the table this week in Massachusetts, and there is optimism that some bills will be passed. This was a big focus of lawmakers to begin 2021, but things quieted down over the last few months.
The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies is holding a hearing on Thursday morning, and it is expected to be a long session. There are 19 bills that will be discussed during the meeting, and testimony will be given on each of them.
Sports betting was recently left out of the budget proposals by both the House and the Senate, but that doesn’t mean the issue is dead in 2021. The goal of this meeting is to try and create a plan for sports betting, and there are several options in play.
Some lawmakers are hoping to create a wide-open market in an attempt to attract a large number of operators. Others prefer a limited market, with licenses only going to the top operators in the industry.
The possibility of sports betting in Massachusetts will become more clear after this hearing, but there will still be plenty of work left to do.
Senate Still Not Convinced
Even though most of these bills do have bipartisan support, the Senate still is not convinced at this point in time. The House of Representatives actually approved a sports betting plan in 2020, but the Senate shot it down.
The biggest issue that the Senate has is with how sports betting tax revenue would be spent by the state. This will be one of the biggest focal points of discussion this week, and there is hope that more Senators will ultimately support the plan.
Teams are On Board
Professional teams in the state of Massachusetts support legal sports betting, and that has helped these bills gain some support. This is a state that is home to some of the most storied franchises in all of the sports, but those teams have quickly gotten on board with sports betting.
DraftKings is headquartered in Boston, and that company has a partnership in place with the New England Patriots. This operator would likely become a leader in the state, but there would be some competition as well.
BetMGM has already partnered with the Boston Red Sox, and betting could eventually make its way to iconic Fenway Park.
Others States Applying Pressure
If Massachusetts fails to pass legal sports betting this time around, it could have some serious financial implications. This state is in danger of being surrounded by states with legal sports betting options, and residents can simply cross the border to bet on sports.
Currently, New Hampshire and Rhode Island both have sports betting in place, and those markets have done well. Connecticut is set to launch sports betting this Fall, and New York could soon have mobile betting in place.
Massachusetts could quickly become a much larger sport betting market than Rhode Island or New Hampshire, but the other two states will provide plenty of competition.