Massachusetts might see sports gambling legislation this year, after all
By Bob Garcia
The Massachusetts legislative session has been extended until the end of the year
Due to the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Massachusetts Legislature agreed to extend its current session through January in a vote that took place in both the Senate and the House. This means that the sports gambling bill that is still being worked on will have more time to be discussed – and possibly passed – before this year ends. Originally, this year’s legislative session was set to be adjourned on July 31, but lawmakers feel that the financial havoc created by the pandemic demands that many key topics that were put aside to be discussed. One of those topics is the possibility of running legal sports betting in 2020, and Representative Brad Hill remains optimistic.
Now that the session has been extended, Hill, who has sponsored other sports gambling legislation, believes that House Bill 4559 is the one among several sports betting-related bills that has the best chance of being passed all the way to the governor’s desk. The last time that there was any real action towards legal sports betting was before the outbreak of the coronavirus. “Now that sports are up and running, Rhode Island and New Hampshire continue to rake in some dollars through their programs. It’s a missed opportunity for the Commonwealth if we don’t do anything. I think House Bill 4559 would be the easiest avenue right now because there is language in the bill already and all we need to do is convince the Senate to agree to that language,” said Hill.
This sports betting bill will make both retail and mobile/Internet platforms legal in the Bay State, and lawmakers don’t expect a lot of problems getting the approval from the House. The biggest concern is how to get the Senate on board with the bill since they recently removed all sports betting language from a bill that had already been approved by the House.