- There have been over half-a-dozen Massachusetts sports betting bills introduced this year.
- The Massachusetts legislative session lasts until December 31, 2019.
- There have been two hearings held this summer to discuss possible sports betting bills.
BOSTON – While it may seem as though the fate of sports betting in Massachusetts is at a standstill, MA Governor Charlie Baker gave sports bettors some hope on Monday.
Governor Baker spoke in an interview with the Greg Hill Show on Monday to discuss various topics including the future of sports betting in the state.
“We actually filed legislation to create legalized sports betting in Massachusetts, we filed that back in January,” said Baker. “We filed that in large part because we already had some templates. The state of New Jersey was the first to go, and we basically borrowed their template as kind of our framework for the legislation that we filed and added a couple of things to it.”
Legal sports betting has already spread to other states in the New England area. Rhode Island was the first in the region to legalize sports gambling at their two casinos and has extended to mobile sports wagering apps this year.
New Hampshire recently legalized sports wagering through both retail locations and online sports wagering apps as well and Maine even passed a sports betting bill through the legislature before being stalled by their governor.
Governor Baker has a different perspective on the future of sports betting in Massachusetts.
“I mean this is going to be a big thing I think pretty much everywhere, and our view was we should get on with the show,” said Baker.
In 2019 alone there have been a total of 19 bills related to sports betting introduced in the state legislature. However, none of these bills have made it past the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.
The Committee originally held a two-day long hearing on May 28 and May 29 to do discuss nine different sports betting bills. On July 15 the committee held another hearing on gambling and economic development bills where sports betting bills MA H 377 and MA H 378 were discussed.
“There weren’t a heck of a lot of people testifying against it. Most of the folks who came to testify were raising sort of particular issues of that related primarily to their own interest,” said Baker.
One of those interested parties could very well be Wynn Resorts, who recently finished construction of the Encore Boston Harbor. The resort is the first property outside of Las Vegas for Wynn Resorts and the most expensive single-phase development of 2019 totaling at $2.5 billion dollars.
The new casino destination, as well as other casino properties, have previously discussed their interest in getting exclusivity over the amenity earlier this year.
Their proposal also called for the use of partnering exclusively with either FanDuel or DraftKings to operate their sportsbook operations. DraftKings holds its headquarters in Boston and is expected to be apart of any sports betting discussions.
Balancing the interests of various stakeholders is all the more reason why a definitive sports betting bill has had trouble moving through the legislature.
“I mean, it was my hope that we would get this done by the end of the summer so that it would be open and available here in Massachusetts for the football season in the fall. But I have a feeling it’s going to slide into next calendar year,” said Baker.
“I certainly hope we get this done by the end of… June of 2020, but I would like to have seen it done sooner to tell you the truth.”
– In his career, Hasan has worked both local and state government positions—including the Attorney General’s Office in Florida. On top of being familiar with the legislative process, he has also been researching and writing on the legality of sports betting across the US. Outside of work you’ll most likely find him producing or playing music, playing sports, or working on creative writing projects. You’ll also catch him at Doak Campbell Stadium cheering on the Noles.