Any chance of sports betting becoming legal in Massachusetts this year likely died in the Senate late last week.
The state Senate rejected the addition of sports betting to the 2021 budget proposal which likely means sports betting won’t be coming to Massachusetts until 2021 at the earliest.
Senator Bruce Tarr submitted an amendment to the budget proposal that would legalize sports betting. The amendment, which was rejected by the senate, proposed the legalization of retail and online sports betting in the state. Following the hearing, Karen Spilka, the Senate President said that sports betting isn’t a priority right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more on Massachusetts sports betting legalization efforts.
This is the second time Tarr has tried to push through legal sports betting in Massachusetts. He also included it as an amendment in an economic development bill during the summer, which was also rejected by the Senate.
While the Senate continues to hold up sports betting coming to Massachusetts the House of Representatives is all for it. During the summer, the House passed an economic development bill that included legal sports betting by a vote of 156-3. If that bill would have passed through the Senate, it would have allowed seven online sports betting licenses for casinos and two other licenses.
The failure to include sports betting in the budget proposal was met with disappointment by betting operators and sports teams in the state. Many of those operators and teams came together to deliver a joint letter to the state Economic Development Conference Committee urging them to legalize sports betting.
The letter was signed by six individuals including Andy Levenson, Senior Vice-President of the PGA Tour, Chris Kelley, COO of MGM Springfield, Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings, Matt King, CEO of FanDuel, Robyn Glaser, club counsel for the New England Patriots and Sam Kennedy, CEO of the Boston Red Sox.
Missing from the letter were representatives from the state’s other two casinos. However, that’s because representatives from Penn National and Wynn Resorts, operators of the other two casinos, delivered their own letter asking that the state’s three casino operators be awarded three sports betting licenses each for the investments they’ve made in the state.