Jul 28, 2022 - Politics

Clock running out on legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts

Fan greet a Boston College football player.

Fans could cheer for the BC Eagles and make a little cash on the side if the House gets its way. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Massachusetts would be one of a minority of states to still ban sports betting if Democrats in control of Beacon Hill can't come to a compromise soon.

Why it matters: Betting on sports could be a $500 million industry in the Bay State, which is home to sector leader DraftKings and plenty of sports fans waiting to wager on their favorite teams.

  • Massachusetts' coffers are missing out on as much as $60 million in tax revenue which the industry could bring in, according to House officials.
  • 35 states (including every other state in the northeast except Vermont) have legalized sports wagers.

State of play: The House widely supports legalizing, but the Senate has been less enthusiastic.

  • Their key disagreement is over whether people should be able to bet on college sports or just the professional leagues.
  • House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) said last week that negotiators were "far apart," and it doesn't look like that gap has closed any as time runs out.

What they're saying: "All eyes in the sports-betting business are in Massachusetts this week," American Gaming Association senior vice president Casey Clark told GBH News' Craig LeMoult this week.

  • The Senate says they're taking the side of educators who don't want to see collegiate sports become even more predatory on student athletes.
  • House officials say the state would be leaving around $25 million on the table by excluding college games.

What's next: If the House and Senate recess before reaching a compromise, it could be the end of the road for wagering in Mass., or at least a major delay.

  • Even if legislators pass a bill next session, it could take another year or two to implement a new system.

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