As the legislative session prepares to wrap up by the end of July, a renewed push for legalized sports betting in Massachusetts is currently underway.
Sports betting proponents have unified in one final effort to get a bill legalized before it’s too late and the legislative session ends. Supporters are using the tax revenue as an incentive to go ahead and pass the bill along with the benefits that this revenue will have on the state’s economy.
While a legalized sports betting bill has its fair share of supporters, it’s a Boston Red Sox executive that has come to the aid of proponents by publicly calling for the legalization of this gaming industry Massachusetts.
David Friedman, Senior Vice president of legal and government affairs for the Red Sox, declared that sports betting could provide a much needed relief for the team, casinos and other businesses suffering from the pandemic:
“Four months into this pandemic mobile sports betting takes on a new urgency for the leagues and teams. As I said, our revenues have fallen off a cliff, and so the direct financial impact of revenues for sports betting for teams may be relatively modest — we’re not going to be running sportsbooks ourselves — but today every single dollar of advertising and sponsorship revenue is extremely important to us.”
Friedman strongly believes that legalized sports betting could in fact give the economy a boost and help with its overall recovery. Even if it’s just a small amount of relief, every bit counts as he has stated.
Friedman shared his thoughts at a meeting of the Resilience and Recovery Special Committee. This committee is chaired by Ronald Mariano, House Majority Leader.
The committee also heard remarks on how legalized sports betting could help to “expand existing job programs”. Again, something that may appear quite attractive to the state at this time.
While Friedman certainly worked hard to make an impact and have his position heard, he certainly wasn’t the only one that offered testimony in the committee.
In fact, Friedman is just one person in a very large coalition made up of pro sports teams, bookmakers, and MGM Resorts that are pushing for the legalization of sports betting in Massachusetts.
Some of the high profile members of this coalition include the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, the PGA Tour, FanDuel, DraftKings, and MGM Springfield.
It was back in March that the House Ways and Means Committee released a bill that would make it possible for people to place legal bets at the casinos in the state, live horse tracks, and slot parlors.
The bill also opened the way for sports betting on mobile apps and on the internet. The stipulation was that people would need to be 21 and older to place a bet, and it was for players who were currently in the state.
While the bill is still before the House Ways and Means Committee there is no clear indication of whether or not it will pass by July 31st, which is the end of the session. With so many other issues sitting before the committee right now, legalizing sports betting could be a long shot.
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