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Almost four years have passed since the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018 and so far over thirty states have legalized sports betting for their residents, but Massachusetts is still not one of them.
That’s despite a recent News Service survey that said at least 60% of MA state Senators were in favor of a legal sport betting market, a surprising total gave that a betting bill the House passed last July – HB 3993 – by an overwhelming majority, 156-3, has been stalled in the Senate ever since.
Turning that sports betting bill into law would be just the first step in a long process to set up and regulate such a complex market that would allow Massachusetts bettors to place sports betting wagers in person and by using mobile sportsbook apps.
Governor Charlie Baker has gone on record as being in favor of legalizing sports betting after accepting the reality that his residents are already placing wagers, they are just using offshore sportsbooks and local illegal bookies to do it, or worse, traveling outside the state, saying:
And for people in Massachusetts – literally many do [place wagers on sports] – to just drive over the border, to be able to participate in something that is another form of entertainment, I think is unfortunate.
It’s money out the door, but that has not motivated the state senate to move any faster.
Though there have reportedly been behind the scenes discussions in the Senate Ways and Means Committee regarding HB 3993, no forward movement has happened yet in terms of bringing the bill to the full Senate floor for a vote.
The reason for that delay given by Senate President Pro Tempore Will Brownsberger being:
There are unresolved questions about the scope of activities that should be eligible for sports betting, how to set it up, how to regulate it, and how to share the revenue it generates.
It is important to note that Senate President Karen Spilka did not respond to the New Service survey, telling the media that she is waiting for “some sort of consensus” before her chamber begins to seriously consider the issue, saying:
“You know, some want to do it, some are uncertain they want to do it. But we will be taking a look at it with the senators.”
Everybody wants a piece of the sports betting pie, but the longer lawmakers quibble over the details, the more money the state misses out on.
Senator Diana DiZoglio, who represents Massachusetts residents who live on the border in the Merrimack Valley next to New Hampshire, is seeing “significant revenue loss” to their neighbors as Bay State bettors take the short trip to the Granite State to spend their betting kitty there.
And that is also true for any Massachusetts gamblers who live near Connecticut, New York, or Rhode Island, states where it’s already legal to place sports bets, and who are happy to take all the Codfish State action they can.
No telling when HB 3993 might make it to the Senate floor for a vote but, given the financial stakes, chances are it will happen sooner rather than later so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this unfolding story.
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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]More info on Mike Lukas
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