Massachusetts Senator Adam Gomez and House Representative Orlando Ramos.

  • Massachusetts is seeing even more sports wagering bills filed with the Commonwealth to be heard by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2021.
  • Newly filed Senate and House bills are both seeking to get restaurants and bars in on the action of sports betting.

BOSTON – There’s no getting around it, Massachusetts lawmakers clearly want sports betting to become legal in the Commonwealth as even more bills have been filed to get a sports gaming industry for the Bay State.

Senator Adam Gomez and Representative Orlando Ramos have come together on proposals that would not only allow for casinos and mobile sportsbooks but for other establishments like bars and restaurants to operate as sports wagering venues.

Bill SD. 2237 is co-sponsored by Gomez and Senator John Velis. This Senate bill as well as an indistinguishable version of it seen in the House have been filed in the Senate and in the House to be heard. Velis contributed to the drafting of the Senate bill by helping with the language of it so that it is very concise in what it’s asking the Massachusetts Legislature to consider for legalization in 2021.

Details of Bill SD. 2237

Massachusetts has been gunning for legal sports betting since the repeal of PASPA in 2018. However, 2021 has already shown that the Commonwealth really wants to get this done due to the sheer number of bills having been filed on the subject. Especially when the legislative session runs through December 31, allowing for plenty of more time to draft an extensive number of proposals.

Bill SD. 2237 is asking for all forms of legal sportsbooks to become accessible to residents of Massachusetts. This includes gaming establishments, mobile sportsbooks, and now bars and restaurants as Gomez finds them to be a natural addition to the industry.

“For me, it became a no-brainer – why shouldn’t an adult who is patronizing a local sports restaurant have the opportunity to bet $25 legally and safely on the Celtics,” said Gomez. “We want to ensure that sports wagering can occur fairly and legally where every business interested can have a seat at the table. This legislation will increase our state’s competitiveness and will capture revenues that are currently being enjoyed by our neighboring states where sports betting has been legalized.”

Representative Orlando Ramos will be representing the House version of this bill, Bill HD. 3606, as he and Gomez worked on what they were wanting to make legal in the Bay State regarding sports betting. The bills are exactly the same, just differing in which Chamber of the Legislature they are in.

“Considering all of the challenges that bars and restaurants and other small businesses have been going through with this pandemic, it was important to me that they were included in this bill,” said Ramos. “I think we also have to make sure that minority-owned businesses have an opportunity to succeed in this new industry which is why we included explicit language for diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

What’s Up Next For These Bills?

Legal Massachusetts sports betting is something that is now a continuous topic of conversation in the Commonwealth. Not only is the Bay State home to a number of professional sports organizations that have also spoken in favor of legalizing the industry, but Governor Charlie Baker himself is also an advocate and has created his own bill to make the pastime legal during the 2021 session.

With all of these proposals on the table and the backing of nearly a majority of policymakers in Massachusetts, it is highly likely that 2021 will be the year that residents see sports wagering become a legal market. There is no word yet on when these two latest bills will be heard within the Legislature but they have the whole year to schedule to do so.

If any piece of legislation makes sportsbooks legal, a launch would be slated for 2022. Until then, the huge population of sports bettors in the Commonwealth will have to continue to travel to neighboring states to bet on sports as they’ve been doing for years.

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