The chances of Massachusetts even addressing sports betting this year, let alone legalizing, appear much longer after the Senate‘s budget decisions this week.
The Senate again rejected the addition of sports betting to its fiscal 2021 budget proposal, which is months overdue. Sen. Bruce Tarr submitted an amendment legalizing sports wagering, just as he did in an economic development bill over the summer.
Tarr, the Senate minority leader, proposed legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts with retail and online betting. The amendment was rejected without a roll call vote.
After the hearing, Senate President Karen Spilka told the State House News Service sports betting isn’t an immediate priority:
“Right now, the focus is going to be on conference committees, resolving the budget, and COVID. We’ll see though.”
Stalling Massachusetts sports betting legalization
If the House had its way, MA sports betting would be in a much better position.
The House passed its version of an economic development bill 156-3 this summer with sports betting included. The bill would have allowed seven online sports betting licenses for the casinos, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and two others.
Penn National and Wynn Resorts, two of the state’s three casino operators, recently penned a joint letter against that idea. The casinos argued they deserve control of most licenses in the market.
The Senate eventually decided the economic bill wasn’t the time to handle sports betting. Sen. Michael Brady, who also submitted a betting amendment for