Sports Betting’s Future Uncertain in Massachusetts Senate

Sports Betting’s Future Uncertain in Massachusetts Senate
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Sports betting is not a priority this fall, according to Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka.

Speaking with local media, Spilka highlighted the Senate’s fall agenda and listed the top five issues she expects the group to address over the next six weeks before the formal legislative business process goes on pause.

The use of the state government’s American Rescue Act funding, budgeting out the books on this fiscal year, election reforms, mental and behavioral health and redrawing political district lines are the main points she highlighted.

Sports Betting’s Place

When asked whether the expansion of gaming in Massachusetts to include sports betting would be discussed this fall, Spilka mentioned the Senate Ways and Means Committee is “looking at it.”

Spilka’s stance on sports betting vastly differs from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who made it known he’s ready to see a regulated sports betting market in the state.

During the New England Patriots’ regular-season opener, Baker tweeted, “We filed a bill in 2019 and again this year to legalize sports betting in MA – it's time to act and get this done. MA is losing out to many of our neighbors on this one.”

Massachusetts is currently waiting for the Senate to consider the House sports wagering bill. In July, the state house overwhelmingly passed a sports betting bill with a 156-3 vote. The bill combines 12 past versions of sports betting legislation that was introduced earlier this year.

Neighbors Legalizing Sports Betting

The “neighbors” Gov. Baker referenced are Rhode Island, Delaware and New Hampshire, where sports betting is legal and now taking bets. Both New Hampshire and Rhode Island also offer mobile sports wagering.

This week, Connecticut became the latest New England state to offer sports wagering. The Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casinos began taking bets at their retail sportsbooks on Thursday. Mohegan Sun is partnered with FanDuel, while Foxwoods features a DraftKings sportsbook.

Online sports betting is expected to launch in Connecticut next week, according to the Connecticut Lottery Corporation.

In addition to DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel, players will also be able to use PlaySugarHouse, which is operated by Rush Street Interactive (RSI). The Connecticut Lottery selected RSI as its sports betting partner after reviewing numerous applications.