Currently, lawmakers from the state of Massachusetts face an approaching deadline and work behind closed doors to deal with some major differences on a bill that would make sports betting legal in the state. At the same time, the local gambling sector and the companies operating are anxiously waiting to see what will happen from now on.
The senior vice president at the American Gaming Association (AGA), Casey Clark, has confirmed that everyone is expecting to see what happens with the sports betting sector in Massachusetts. He noted that people are already betting on sports in the state but they are simply doing that illegally.
According to Mr. Clark, the legalization of sports betting would create a much safer and, most of all, regulated marketplace, where people are protected against gambling-related harm and encouraged to gamble in a responsible, risk-free manner. The vice president of the AGA noted that the illegal sports betting market that had been serving not only Massachusetts but other jurisdictions across the US, too, was not subject to any regulatory oversight or restrictions.
The pieces of legislation aimed at legalizing sports betting that were passed by both the Senate and House of Massachusetts are quite similar in many ways. Both seek to allow local people to place online bets through their smartphones and other portable devices. However, it is the differences between the bills that could cause havoc.
Major Differences between House and Senate Versions of Sports Betting Bill Could Cause Trouble
One of the largest differences between the Senate and House bills involves betting on college sports. The House version of the piece of legislation seeks to allow betting on college sports, while the Senate version does not.
According to some experts, such as the assistant professor of political science at Lasell University, Paul Debole, the legalization of betting on college sports complicates things a lot. Student-athletes have been exploited by their colleges and college sports betting places more emphasis on the fact that the system needs serious changes. However, Mr. Debole also believes that legislators need to make sure that the legalization of sports betting results in any further exploitation of athletes or punters.
Earlier this week, the heads of 3 casino venues – MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park Casino – sent a joint letter to state legislators, calling for them to make a compromise on the proposed bills and finally send a sports betting measure to the Massachusetts Governor to sign. The casino operators claim that the rapid expansion of the new form of gambling after the US Supreme Court decided to eliminate the nationwide ban on sports betting and lift the restrictions in 2018 is leaving Massachusetts gambling operators one step behind their competitors, which have already started accepting sports wagers in some US states.
Apart from that, the bosses of the three Massachusetts casinos have added that the absence of legal sports betting options is resulting in a loss of tax revenue for the state. They also wrote that the legalization of sports betting services would bring new jobs to the state, which would provide local people with more stability, especially in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.