Sports betting was eliminated from Massachusetts economic development bill despite pressure from a coalition in favour.
US.- The final version of the economic development bill was approved in Massachusetts on Wednesday, but it does not feature sports betting.
The decision is disappointing news to the coalition of casinos, pro sports teams and mobile sports betting operators who pushed for a legal, regulated market in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In summer 2020, Senate minority leader Bruce Tarr submitted a budget amendment to legalise gambling on sports.
The House of Representatives approved the amendment as part of its economic development bill 156-3, but the Senate rejected the amendment without a roll call vote.
It seemed the Senate sided with Penn National and Wynn Resorts who sent a joint letter opposing online sports gambling before the decision was made.
Senator Eric Lesser, a key advocate for sports betting on the economic development bill, wants to see sports betting done in the next session.
Lesser said: “I personally would like to see sports betting get done, and we want to do it when we have time to really focus on it.
“I do think you’ll see a process on sports betting move forward, but in this bill the focus needed to be on getting relief to people with the COVID recession.”
The $627m jobs bill includes small business grants, a compromise that changes zoning laws to reduce barriers to housing production and funding meant to stimulate the tourism and restaurant industries during the pandemic.