Sports Betting Rejected by Senate
Massachusetts took a massive step backwards this week as the Senate rejected making sports betting part of the 2021 budget. This was one of the easier paths to legalizing sports betting that could have seen it on the fast track for 2021 legalization.
We had already seen the House speak with their actions when they passed bill 156-3 that included sports wagering. The Senate responded to that bill, saying that it was just not the right time, and pushed back the voting until later in the year.
The frustrating thing for many legislatures and citizens is that the excuse being used by many in the Senate seemingly is that sports betting is not important and that the pandemic and recovering from said pandemic needs to be at the forefront. However, one of the best ways to basically print money for a State is to legalize and tax sports gambling.
Tennessee, a state with basically the same population, launched in early November, and the state made $509k in one week of sports betting. Massachusetts is actually in a better economic position than Tennessee, as well as having some of the biggest teams in all of American sports. The state would make money and begin the recovery sooner from Covid if it legalized.
Every year the Massachusetts Senate decides to pass on sports wagering, the more money they lose. Residents have the option of visiting Rhode Island or New Hampshire to go bet on sports or even making the drive to the current leader in sports gambling, New Jersey. If residents want to bet on sports, they really can, and instead of that money staying in-state to help out the local economy, it is going elsewhere.
What Did the Sports Betting Bill Look Like?
The Bill that the House passed was going to allow DraftKings and FanDuel to operate as well as gift seven licenses to each casino. This would make online sports betting and gambling at the forefront of the Massachusetts market, which makes sense. In-person betting is dying when you compare it to the revenue made by mobile betting.
A couple of casinos, Penn National and Wynn Resorts, came out against this, as obviously they do not want to compete with online sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel, who arguably offer a better product. If anything, the casinos want the control of forcing these online sportsbooks to partner with them. One must wonder if these big casinos happen to be big donors for some of the State Senators and if their lobbying had any effect on the decision.
This bill would be one of the more progressive ones seen in American sports gambling, rewarding the big-time online sportsbooks with licenses from the get-go. Of course, the ones who really benefit from that are the Massachusetts bettors who get more competitive odds and choices, and the Massachusetts residents as this path most likely would pull in the most amount of tax revenue in the long-run.
The fight for sports betting and online wagering in The Bay State will continue, and hopefully, the early 2021 legislative season leads to the Senate turning a new leaf.