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Gov. Baker eager to see Massachusetts sports betting legalized

Massachusetts sports betting news

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has called on local lawmakers to bring legal sports betting to the state.

The Governor, who has been one of the biggest proponents of legalizing event wagering in the Bay State, took to Twitter during the New England Patriots’ opening game of the NFL season on Sunday, urging MA legislators to consider expanding gambling in the jurisdiction. In his tweet, Baker pointed out that the state was losing out to many of its neighbors who have already authorized the market.

The Governor is among those who filed sports betting proposals seeking to allow retail and digital wagering in the state early this year.

“Great to see the @Patriots back! 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,” said Baker.

Three of Massachusetts’ neighboring states – Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New York – have regulated sportsbooks, and Connecticut is looking to launch both retail and online sportsbooks by October.

Massachusetts missing out on sports betting revenue

The rallying cry by Gov. Baker couldn’t come at a better time.

The country is approaching a busy sports schedule after the start of the football season on Thursday last week, and states with regulated sportsbooks are already reporting record numbers of NFL betting transactions.

To put this into perspective, data released by GeoComply Solutions on Monday shows that 58.2 million bets were placed on the first weekend of the NFL campaign, up 126% from the 25.8 million transactions reported by the company in the same period last year.

A breakdown of the data revealed that Arizona, which launched its regulated wagering industry on the first day of the 2021 NFL season, had the fourth-highest number of transactions in the country with a market share of 10.4%.

The commencement of the NBA and NHL seasons next month is also expected to drive up the numbers, but states that have not legalized the industry, like Massachusetts, will not be getting a slice of the pie. Failing to act also means that MA will continue to lose its potential betting dollars to RI, NH, NY, and CT as bettors cross the border to place wagers in the neighboring states where the activity is legal.

Will Massachusetts legalize sports betting in 2021?

Whether MA lawmakers heed Baker’s call or not is impossible to tell at this point, but the state’s efforts and progress towards legalizing the industry this year shows promise.

There is a Massachusetts sports betting bill under consideration, H.3977, and it has made significant progress in the legislature.

The MA House approved the proposed legislation by a huge margin in July, sending it to the Senate for consideration. The upper chamber, however, did not have ample time to debate on the bill before adjourning for the summer break, but Senate President Karen Spilka is optimistic that the state will legalize the market this year.

Massachusetts’ legislative session runs until December 31.

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