Could sports betting be coming to Massachusetts?

Massachusetts Sports Betting

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has said that sports betting revenue could help the state to recover from the financial impact of COVID-19. 

Baker said this in a press conference yesterday. 

Although the vertical is currently unregulated in the state, efforts have been made in recent times to move forward with legislation and change that. 

The topic of sports betting in Massachusetts re-arises just over a week before the legislative session ends on 31st July. 

More desirable for players to bet in Massachusetts than elsewhere 

Both neighbouring Rhode Island and New Hampshire have regulated sports betting markets. A little further afield, this is also the case for New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Yesterday, Baker was asked about a Red Sox executive reportedly saying on Tuesday that the regulation of sports betting was a “low-hanging fruit”. It was also suggested that regulating sports betting would provide some kind of relief to both local sports teams and casinos affected by the pandemic.

In response, the State Governor pointed to the fact that his administration has filed sports betting legislation in the past – in a bid to move forward with its regulation. He also said the following. 

“We wanted to give Massachusetts the ability to have people play here rather than playing elsewhere.

“And I absolutely believe that, in addition to sort of the cross-border competition issues that would be addressed by doing something here in Massachusetts, it would certainly generate revenue and it would be something that a lot of people would be interested in here at home as opposed to doing across the border. 

“We would like to see that happen.” 

The Bay State could need to look for additional financial sources in the coming months 

As was reported by boston.com, existing estimates worry that Massachusetts could – despite financial aid – have to contend with a budget deficit as deep as $6 billion-$8 billion. This is due to a combination of both lower tax revenues and more spending during COVID-19. 

Baker’s administration believes that regulated sports betting could generate $35 million in revenue for the state. Others elsewhere believe that it could be double that. 

On Tuesday, Boston Red Sox SVP of Legal and Government Affairs David Friedman suggested that legalising the vertical could help his team recover “modest” revenue. Because of the reduced MLB season and no fans being allowed at stadiums, the team’s revenue has “fallen off a cliff” for this campaign.