Massachusetts puts sports gambling on the back burner
The Massachusetts House says yes to sports gambling, but the Senate says not yet
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts lawmakers from the Senate chamber voted on the ENDURE act that was already passed by the House. However, they approved the legislation without including the language that would have legalized sports betting in the state. It looked like sports gambling was about to become a reality in the Bay State, but the $455 million economic development plan proposed in the ENDURE Act will not include any sports gambling revenue. This is a hard hit for advocates of this legislation, who were optimistic after the major support the bill had on behalf of the House on Tuesday.
“As it relates to sports gaming, sports wagering, I believe that certainly, the time is close when we are going to be tackling this issue, but the time is not now,” said State Senator and chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee Michael Rodrigues. “Nor is this the proper vehicle to do so in.” Even a Senator who has been a big supporter of legalizing sports betting said that this was not the proper way to do so and that lawmakers expect to vote on this matter at some point this year. However, this bill is focused on tackling the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, so sports betting needs to be on hold for now. Some might argue the stance is misguided, given the guaranteed revenue streams legalized sports gambling can offer states.
The language included in the ENDURE Act would have created three different sports gambling licenses for online and in-person sports betting, for in-person sports betting at racetracks and for online-only sports betting. It suggested a $250,000 fee for applying and the license was going to be granted for a five-year period.