The Massachusetts Legislature

  • The Massachusetts Legislature has 19 sports betting proposals to consider for passage in 2021.
  • At the moment, the consensus is to have a mobile and retail sports wagering market open in the Bay State.
  • But collegiate sports gaming is something that lawmakers are split on for the potential regulated industry.

BOSTON – The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies held a hearing on Thursday to discuss the 19 sports betting bills currently sitting in the Massachusetts Legislature.

The virtual hearing spoke to some sponsors of the bills as well as those in various areas of the sports industry. The takeaway from the hours of discussion was that the Commonwealth does want to see a regulated sports betting market open but it’s simply a matter of how to go about it.

What Was Discussed Regarding Massachusetts & A Sports Betting Market

One very large chunk of the hearing for Massachusetts sports wagering was whether or not to allow for collegiate wagers. The pros and cons of this aspect went back and forth for quite some time.

Colleges in the Bay State do not want to have gambling done on their sporting events. They believe the risk of mental health issues for their student-athletes is too great if betting were to become part of the package.

However, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins was there to testify and say that doing away with college sports bets would be a bad move for the market. Massachusetts is already losing money daily to mobile sportsbooks, as well as the market in Rhode Island and now Connecticut.

Robins said that sports bettors would much rather stick with a sportsbook that offers both professional and collegiate sports betting rather than have to use two separate platforms.

Massachusetts as a whole wants a sports gaming industry, Governor Charlie Baker wants a sports gaming industry, most everyone in MA wants sports gaming, which is why one lawmaker put the present issue into very precise words; “The devil is in the details.”

The Commonwealth just needs to sit down and really go over the numerous proposals and pick and choose which ones best suit the Bay State in terms of a regulated sports wagering market.

What’s Next For Massachusetts?

Mobile and retail sports betting will be a part of the industry should the Commonwealth decide to regulate it. However, there is an issue as to whether land-based sportsbooks should just be casinos or should they be licensed elsewhere? And should local retail facilities be allowed to have sports betting kiosks at their places of business?

Some believe if people can play the lottery and other gaming at these storefronts, there should be no reason not to be able to grab a sports betting slip while shopping there as well.

No date has been set for the next hearing but lawmakers have opened the discussions and that is a huge step in the right direction. It has been said that the industry could bring in an estimated $500 million in annual revenue once launched and Robins said the DraftKings mobile platform could be up and running in Massachusetts as soon as they were licensed to do so because the process is fairly quick, technologically speaking.

The Massachusetts Legislature adjourns at the end of the year but it looks like sports wagering may actually pass for the Commonwealth in 2021.

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