The odds of Massachusetts lawmakers legalizing sports betting this year are diminishing as state Senate leaders signaled the lucrative measure was not high on the fall priority list.
“We need to redistribute, we need to close the books and do a (supplementary) budget, we need to make a more permanent voting law, our temporary (arrangements) end in December,” Senate President Karen said. Spilka at State House News Service. “Some of it will depend on the bandwidth and its condition.”
The House passed a sports betting bill in July – the second time the House has done so – which its supporters say could generate up to $ 70 million in tax revenue per year, plus $ 80 million additional every five years for license fees.
But a lack of urgency for action on sports betting in the state Senate could mean the measure meets its demise again.
Lawmakers have attempted – and failed – to pass sports betting legislation since 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the almost national ban unconstitutional.
A similar sports betting bill died in the Senate last session when Spilka spiked the measure, declaring it was not a legislative priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ashland Democrat has signaled that sports betting is low on her list again, with lawmakers already concerned about state government spending on funding for the American Rescue Plan Act, closing the books for fiscal year 2021, electoral reforms, mental and behavioral health parity and redrawing of political district boundaries. .
Thirty states – including neighboring Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York state – have all legalized sports betting in one form or another, making supporters hungry for legalization as the state bleeds money for bets placed in border states.
On the opening day of the Patriots’ season, Governor Charlie Baker took to Twitter to give his opinion on legal sports betting.
He wrote: “It’s great to see @Patriots again! We tabled a bill in 2019 and again this year to legalize sports betting in MA – it’s time to act and do it. MA is losing to many of our neighbors on this one.
Sports betting has proven to be a slam dunk for the gaming industry and has helped revenues rebound, even as the pandemic rages on in the United States. as more and more states legalize.
The Massachusetts legislature is taking a break for the Thanksgiving holiday, giving lawmakers about six weeks to debate and pass a sports betting bill. Spilka said the Senate Ways and Means Committee is “reviewing” it.
Herald wire services contributed to this report.