Gov. Baker Uses Twitter to Reignite Fizzling MA Sports Betting Fire
- MA Governor Charlie Baker Tweets “…it’s time to act and get this done.”
- These MA Neighbor States Already Have Legalized Sports Betting, More to Follow
- Next for MA: Sports Betting Bill Up for Senate Debate
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MA Governor Charlie Baker Tweets “…It’s Time to Act and Get This Done.”
Last Sunday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Tweeted out a message meant to motivate his state’s Senators who have yet to act on several sports betting bills that have either been full-on rejected by them in 2020 or left sitting on the Senatorial table since earlier this year.
Here’s the Tweet:
Great to see the @Patriots back!
We filed a bill in 2019 and again this year to legalize sports betting in MA – it’s time to act and get this done. MA is losing out to many of our neighbors on this one.
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) September 12, 2021
What Gov. Baker is in part referring to is the sports betting bill that the MA House approved last year, but that the Senate rejected afterward essentially because of the way it was attached to an economic development bill instead of being proposed on its own.
Now in 2021, the MA House has overwhelmingly passed a new sports betting bill by a 156-3 margin, and once again it is up to the state Senate to decide whether to pass the bill and hand it over to Baker to sign into law, but that’s where the fire has fizzled once again.
That piece of legislation, Senator Eric Lesser’s bill – S 269 – is still waiting for Senatorial approval and has not been amended since it was first introduced in March, not a good sign that this issue is considered a priority.
But the fact remains that gambling revenue is already being generated by MA bettors, only right now it’s all being done using either out of state or offshore bookmakers.
These MA Neighbor States Already Have Legalized Sports Betting, More to Follow
By the start of the 2021 NFL season in early September, several Massachusetts neighbors have already either made sports betting legal for their residents or are close to making that happen soon.
For instance, to the north is New Hampshire where there are sports betting with DraftKings Sportsbook or else it’s a short drive to Rhode Island where sports gambling is run by Caesars Sportsbook, plus Connecticut should launch by October and New York’s mobile sportsbook are expected to be operational by the Super Bowl in February.
And lawmakers know all this, as Rep. Jerald Parisella, who chairs the Committee on Economic Development, has made clear, saying:
Some may say that this is bringing sports betting to Massachusetts. The fact is that our Massachusetts residents are already betting on sports. They’re either taking that short drive up to New Hampshire or to Rhode Island, where it’s legal, or they’re also going on their phones and using offshore applications, those sportsbooks, to bet or they’re also going to a bookie.
For Gov. Baker and many Massachusetts lawmakers and gamblers, it’s come time to face these facts and reignite the sports betting fire that has again seemed to fizzle.
Next for MA: Sports Betting Bill Up for Senate Debate
Right now, it’s up to the MA Senate to debate upon and eventually pass the sports betting bill that is in front of them so that Gov. Baker can sign it into law, but after that, it will still be a matter of months (if not a year) before the rules and regulations and soft/hardware can be approved and put into place.
The good news is that, unlike last year when this issue was not a priority, in 2021 the reality of all the money the state is missing out on is finally hitting more lawmakers, and those millions of potential dollars in tax revenue and licensing fees are too tempting to resist.
MA Senate President Karen Spilka expects a “robust debate” regarding sports betting, but in the meantime, Bay State residents will most likely just continue to place their sports bets elsewhere.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]