A new State House News Service survey initiated by the Senate last week showed that at least 60% of Massachusetts senators support the legalization of sports betting in the state. However, sports betting remains currently illegal in Massachusetts, although there is no real and organized opposition against the proposed legislative measure in the commonwealth.
A sports betting bill that has already been approved by the House remains lodged in the Ways and Means Committee of the Senate, where it got last summer. According to the aforementioned survey, there was not any senator who openly opposed the proposed legislative measure seeking the legalization of the new form of gambling in the state.
In July 2021, the House voted 156 to 3 to make sports betting legal. The proposed bill, called H 3993, has been a priority of Ron Mariano, who has been extremely disappointed with the Senate’s reluctance to engage with the piece of legislation.
Last week, the state’s Governor Charlie Baker has noted there is no way to evade the legalization of sports betting. He further explained that a move to legalize sports betting would prevent local people from driving across the border to other locations to be able to take part in a form of entertainment that, for the time being, remains unavailable in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Residents Cross State Borders to Use Sports Betting Services in Neighboring States
With sports betting still remaining not legally allowed in Massachusetts, thousands of local residents are crossing state borders to visit nearby states such as New Hampshire and New York, which have already given the green light to the new form of gambling.
Some Massachusetts sports lovers have shared that they do not understand why it is taking local legislators so long to make the new form of gambling legal. Democratic Senator Eric Lesser, who has filed a piece of legislation seeking to make Massachusetts part of the growing list of US states that legally allow sports betting, has noted that many local people place wagers on sports events. According to him, it would be a good thing for Massachusetts to legalize the new form of gambling, especially considering the fact that almost all neighboring states have already done that, and local customers are currently traveling across borders to bet on their favorite teams.
Lesser, who is the author of the bill lodged in the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee, believes that it is less safe for local people if sports betting is not legalized in Massachusetts. He reminded that by keeping the new form of gambling out, the local authorities could neither regulate it nor tax it, so they are unable to make sure that local residents participate in sports betting services that are offered in a safe way.
For the past 8 months, the Senate’s stance on sports betting legalization has been difficult to determine, because the talks regarding the sports betting expansion have been held almost in total privacy. The aforementioned survey of the State House News Service found that 24 senators support the proposed legislative measure, while 8 senators either said they had not yet decided whether they would make a commitment and back the bill, or were unwilling to comment on the matter. The survey also found that 12 senators did not provide a response on the question but there was no outright opposition to the addition of sports betting to the legal gambling sector of Massachusetts.
As CasinoGamesPro reported at the time, the US Supreme Court lifted the restrictions imposed on sports betting by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in 2018 and paved the way to the legalization of the new form of gambling across the country.