Massachusetts Sports Betting “Hesitation Lives in the State Senate” Says Globe

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
4 min read
  • Boston Globe Accuses State Senate of Blocking Legal Sports Betting
  • MA House Approved Sports Betting Bills in ’20 and ’21 but Senate Never Debated
  • Governor Charlie Baker Estimates MA Could Generate $35 Million in Annual Revenue
Massachusetts Sports Betting

According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, the only reason Massachusetts sports gamblers can’t place mobile wagers in their own backyards or in-person at casinos is that “hesitation lives in the state Senate” where lawmakers fear gamblers might lose their money.

All due respect to Codfish State Senators, but the possibility of losing one’s money is exactly what makes gambling so exciting, as is the counter-possibility that one might win a bunch of it, too, but chances are these legislators already know that and are unwilling to explain why they are really against this popular issue.

How popular is it?

Here is just a partial list of all the major players in the state of Massachusetts who have already shown their support for legalizing, regulating, and taxing sports betting market in the state:

  • All the major sports franchises
  • All the major casinos
  • Governor Charlie Baker
  • MA State House of Representatives

With over thirty states in the U.S. now on board with some form of legal sports betting, Massachusetts’ litigious foot-dragging surprises industry leaders like Dustin Gouker, an analyst for gaming website PlayUSA who said:

The fact that the Commonwealth hasn’t legalized it sticks out like a sore thumb. It doesn’t quite line up.

MA lawmakers keep trying to get it done, but these bills never make it to the Governor.

MA House Approved Sports Betting Bills in ’20 and ’21 but Senate Never Debated

Massachusetts, like the other 49 U.S states, has been allowed to create its own legal sports betting market ever since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA and gave each state the right to permit it, but so far the Bay State has refused to take advantage of the right.

And it’s not like state lawmakers haven’t had the chance – in both 2020 and 2021 the state House passed a bill to legalize sports betting for residents, but in neither case did it go any farther getting snubbed by the state Senate with no further discussion or debate.

Except the reality is that their opposition to a regulated market does not stop MA gamblers from placing wagers on sports, it only forces them to spend that money elsewhere using unregulated offshore sportsbooks and illicit bookies or by traveling to neighboring states where it’s legal.

To his credit, Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health spokesman Phil Sherwood has acknowledged this fact, saying:

We know sports betting is happening in Massachusetts. . . . But it’s not happening in a transparent way where consumers have the protections and have access to resources if something goes away.

Not to mention all the money that is leaving the state and going elsewhere.

Governor Charlie Baker Estimates MA Could Generate $35 Million in Annual Revenue

The biggest drawback to stalling on this sports betting issue is that for every week they delay, millions of dollars are lost, with Governor Charlie Baker estimating that the state could generate at least $35 million in yearly revenue with a legal market in place.

Otherwise, that money keeps going out of state, and MA neighbors like Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and Rhode Island are happy to take the action of those Old Colony State bettors, with an inevitable shift in certain thinking needed before that can change.

Keep checking back to see how the MA congress progresses on this issue.

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Mike Lukas

Sports Betting & Gambling Industry Analyst

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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.
Nationality: American
Education: N/A
Favourite Sportsbook: bet365 Sportsbook
Favourite Casino: Caesars Palace Casino
23 years
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