The Massachusetts legislature has made attempts to legalize sports betting in the past, but the form of gambling’s future looks promising in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused government officials to align with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s mindset.
Baker has been a sports betting proponent since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned. It appears from the latest news out of the statehouse that Massachusetts will legalize sports betting in 2021.
The main issue now for legislators is determining the sports betting framework that will be present in the state.
The Theme of the Presented Bills
Dozens of sports betting bills have been proposed in the 2021 legislative session. After New Hampshire set a betting handle record in January, the MA legislature acted swiftly to stop losing tax revenue to the border state.
Governor Charlie Baker introduced a bill that sums up most legislators’ cumulative thoughts who favor sports betting. Baker modeled his bill after New Jersey in many ways.
Baker wants legal sports betting for professional and international sporting events. However, there would be no betting on collegiate or esports. Platforms would have to pay a hefty application fee, but it would be worth it because of the state’s demand for sports betting.
Massachusetts hosts sports franchises in every major league. The combination of the teams with diehard fans has given analysts the belief that the state could generate $35 million in yearly tax revenue.
Latest Bills Include Restaurants and Bars
Early bills supported mobile and retail sports wagering at casinos. New bills are increasing the potential for retail sportsbooks in the state by including bars and restaurants.
Senator Adam Gomez and Representative Orlando Ramos have worked together on bills for their respective chambers. Gomez, along with Senator John Velis, supported SD 2237. They co-sponsored it with the hopes of a 2022 sports betting launch.
The House version of the bill, which Ramos sponsors, is titled HD 3606. The bills are exactly the same but are being presented in both chambers to speed up the legislative process.
Gomez and Ramos wanted to include retail sportsbooks in bars and restaurants to help businesses recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The hospitality industry was devastated because of the virus, so sportsbooks could be an excellent way for dining venues to generate extra revenue.
The Next Step
The remaining legislative steps for Massachusetts sports betting to become a reality are still extensive. Nevertheless, the necessary support for sports betting is apparent in the Commonwealth. At this time, there is no reason to believe that sports betting will not pass in 2021.
SD 2237 and HD 3606 are not on the hearing schedule yet, but this will likely change soon. The Massachusetts legislative session runs through Dec. 31, 2021. However, the quicker a sports betting bill is passed, the earlier the state will experience a sports betting launch.
If sports betting passes in 2021, the launch will most likely come at some point in 2022. Until this point, residents will either travel to New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or New York to place their sports wagers.