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  • The Senate rejects sports betting legislation in MA HB 4887.
  • Some Senators believe that now was not the right time to focus on sports betting.
  • The official legislative session is over but an informal session is still in progress.

BOSTONMassachusetts sports betting bill dies in the Senate as lawmakers reject a sports betting proposal on Wednesday night.

Due to the timing, the Massachusetts legislative session is over, leaving the state without legal sports betting in 2020.

Possible regulations for Massachusetts sports betting had some momentum going for it.

An omnibus bill passed in the State House earlier this week. This bill would have allowed sports betting to be formally legalized in Massachusetts along with other proposals for economic relief due to COVID-19.

Bad Timing For Sports Betting

Estimates say that sports betting in Massachusetts could have brought in around $61 million in tax revenue. That is compared to the $20 million the state brings in on slots. Despite that, senators found that this was not the right time to pass sports betting legislation.

“We have every intention to continue the engagement on this topic. It does pose great promise for the state and it does pose a very promising source of revenue and economic development and jobs for the state, when properly implemented and when done right,” said Sen. Eric Lesser. “We have every intention to do that, but this specific bill on this specific day — which we pointed out earlier in our session when debate began is about emergency response, economically, to the coronavirus depression that we find ourselves in at this specific moment — we need to hold.”

The coronavirus has not only been a medical threat but an economic threat as well. To prevent the spread of the virus, many businesses are forced to close down. That has put a lot of businesses on hold, which has had devastating effects on the economy.

The senators in Massachusetts recognize to fix the economy, they need immediate action. If they allowed for sports betting to be legalized, it would take an unknown amount of time to actually open a sportsbook. Areas such as D.C. still have not opened retail sportsbooks despite sports betting being legal for an entire year.

Massachusetts needs immediate action and that is part of the reason why they rejected the proposal in MA HB 4887. However, that does not mean that the state will never have legal sports betting.

Although the official Massachusetts legislative session is over, an informal session will take place throughout the year. It is doubtful that a sports betting bill will pass in 2020, but state lawmakers will keep the discussion going into the future.

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