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At a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Massachusetts Economic Development Committee co-chair Senator Eric Lesser said that sports betting legislation is still a high priority in his chamber.
That’s despite three months have already passed since he told constituents that the state Senate was “ready” to approve such a bill, saying:
This has absolutely been a top-tier issue. It’s been something many of us have been working on, on almost a daily basis. And there’s very active conversations going on.
According to Lesser, the bill that was passed by the House on July 22 is still “live and underactive conversation and negotiation” in the Senate Ways and Means Committee but issues regarding consumer protection have caused a delay.
We’re doing our best to balance, obviously, the fun of sports betting with some of the elements that we have to keep mindful of and be mindful of when you’re talking about a gambling product.
Meanwhile, most of Massachusetts’ neighbors have already moved forward on this controversial (and lucrative) issue.
The reality here is that Massachusetts sports gamblers are already spending millions of dollars on wagers, but that money is going out of state where it’s already legal to place such bets, like in Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.
Also financially benefitting from Codfish State bettors are all the offshore sportsbooks that are more than happy to take those wagers, though with those outfits there is never any legal guarantee that they will pay out on big wins.
Governor Charlie Baker recognizes that these loopholes are real, and he understands that regulating and taxing this existing money flow is in the best interest of state residents, saying:
I know people who live in Massachusetts who drive to New Hampshire just to do it. I don’t know why we wouldn’t just incorporate the very basic framework that’s been adopted by most of these places so that people in Massachusetts can play and generate the revenue associated with it and make sure some of it gets put to good use to help people who are dealing with gambling issues and other issues like that.
It’s millions of dollars at stake here, a big reason this issue is still considered “top-tier.
According to industry analysts, legal and regulated sports betting market in the state of Massachusetts could generate an estimated $70 million in annual tax revenue, money that would be reinvested in various areas of need in that state.
Right now, neighboring states who have moved forward with legal sports betting use those tax revenues for items such as education and infrastructure improvements while many residents also benefit from the various jobs such a market inherently creates.
The key point many lawmakers are beginning to accept is that those millions of dollars will be spent regardless of how Massachusetts handles the issue, so it makes the most sense to accept that reality and begin to bring those financial benefits back home.
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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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