Coalition pushes for legal sports betting in Massachusetts

The group has written a letter to lawmakers.
The group has written a letter to lawmakers.

The group aims to push sports betting forward on the agenda of the current session, which ends in January.

US.- After state legislators in Massachusetts failed to address sports betting in the most recent session, a number of sports teams, gaming companies and unions have formed a coalition to put pressure on the state to legalise sports betting before the end of the year.

A letter sent to lawmakers has been signed by the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, New England Revolution, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, DraftKings, MGM Springfield, FanDuel, and the PGA Tour.

The coalition wrote: “To use a sports analogy, Massachusetts is collectively keeping our bat on our shoulder in the competition for additional jobs in the innovation economy.”

“With sports betting not included as part of the budget process, and after two years of good-faith collaboration on this issue, and the objective absence of any organized opposition, we are deeply concerned at the prospect of legislation not being passed this session.”

The group hopes their added pressure will push sports betting further forward on the agenda of the remaining session, which ends in January. However, lawmakers have asserted that Covid-19 action will take precedence.

The coalition also raised concerns that while sports betting remains illegal in the state, it provides “a major win for illegal, offshore sports betting companies.”

Sports betting was legalised in the US at the federal level back in 2018, but since then the House and Senate in Massachusetts have not been able to agree on the matter.

While the House included sports betting in its economic development bill in July, the Senate excluded it from its own jobs bill, saying that the matter should be dealt with separately. It set no definite timeframe for that to happen.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has said he believes legalising sports betting would help the state’s recovery from the pandemic, arguing it could bring in annual revenues of around $35m.

New Hampshire legalised sports betting in January, with the state entitled to half of the revenue generated. In October, revenues amounted to $4.2m.