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For the last few years, Massachusetts lawmakers have refused to pass sports betting law in their state despite heavy indications that residents their desire access to that type of legal market, the latest sign being a total willingness to travel to New Hampshire to place their bets.
That happened in a big way for Super Bowl LVI last weekend, and DraftKings was quick to tell the world that over a fourth of the Big Game wagers placed in the Granite State were by traveling Massachusetts residents, saying in a recent statement:
Approximately 26% of our New Hampshire bettors wagering on the Super Bowl had Massachusetts addresses.
Whoops – that’s a lot of lost revenue that the Codfish State just missed out on in the form of taxable sportsbook income that is now going to benefit their neighbors in the north instead of helping worthy causes back home.
One pro-sports betting MA state Senator, Eric Lesser, who is now running for lieutenant governor, understands the inevitability of a Massachusetts legal sports betting market and told the media that until that happens, they will continue to lose potential money, saying:
When you see numbers like this, it shows Massachusetts residents are actively betting on sports right now but being done in a way that the state has limited ability to capture for our own benefit.
And it’s not just New Hampshire that is benefitting from MA’s refusal to join in.
Massachusetts is bordered by five other states, and four of them – New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island – all have some form of a legal sports betting market, with only Vermont not participating in the sports betting movement that is sweeping the U.S.
It’s a recent trend that started once the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA back in May 2018, a move that essentially allowed each state to decide whether it wants to create its own legal sports betting market for residents, with 30+ states already doing just that.
Says Senator Lesser:
“Massachusetts is a small state geographically and essentially all our bordering states all have both brick and mortar and digital betting products, and they are all seeing high levels of cross border traffic from Massachusetts residents.”
It’s not like some Massachusetts legislators haven’t tried to make a change.
Since 2018, Massachusetts lawmakers have attempted to introduce and pass three sports betting bills, each getting Governor Charlie Baker’s verbal support, but though the House of Representatives have passed that legislation, it always gets stalled in the state Senate.
In fact, Senate President Karen Spilka has refused to bring these bills up for debate claiming that there is not enough support among senators to get enough votes to move forward, but with so many state residents spending their gambling money elsewhere, it could be time to start having some serious discussions.
House Speaker Ron Mariano gets it, saying:
The House has repeatedly passed legislation that would not only legalize sports betting but also direct the estimated $70-80 million in initial licensing fees and $60 million in annual tax revenue towards investments in our workforce, youth development, and local aid. We have a real opportunity to take long overdue action. We shouldn’t waste it any longer.
It’s lost money that could be redirected homewards, and that is a missed financial opportunity that Massachusetts voters should be allowed to change.
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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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