Hello Valley Patriot Readers,
Right now, it is illegal to engage in sports betting in Massachusetts. The reality, however, is countless residents already engage in sports wagering, especially in a region like ours in the Merrimack Valley, as a short drive or walk will take you across the border to New Hampshire, where sports betting is permitted.
This is resulting in the state losing out on millions of dollars in revenue that could be staying local, right here in Massachusetts.
Nationally, in 2021, the sports betting industry generated more than $4 billion in revenue. New Hampshire, which is among the more than 30 U.S. states that allow sports betting, took in $13 million in state tax revenue in just its first 15 months of legal sports wagering, with much of that revenue coming from Massachusetts residents traveling across the border. And we’re losing out to Connecticut and Rhode Island too, which also permit sports betting. Sports betting is taking place all around us, with Massachusetts reaping none of the benefits in sorely needed revenue.
That is why the Massachusetts Senate recently passed legislation to legalize commercial sports betting in the Commonwealth. This bill would allow for in-person and online sports betting in Massachusetts, estimated to bring in $35 million in tax revenue annually, while also including several consumer safeguards to address gaming addiction and recovery.
Specifically, the legislation would allow for bets to be placed on a professional sport or athletic event. In addition to sports betting being offered at existing casinos, the bill includes six licenses to be awarded through a competitive process to companies which promote job growth, responsible gambling, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and which have community support.
With concerns around compulsive gambling in mind, the bill also aims to promote responsible gambling and takes steps to protect consumers, including prohibiting the use of credit cards to place sports bets. The bill would ensure that consumers could cash out and permanently close accounts for any reason or create self-imposed limits on wagers. This bill is designed to promote economic development through maximizing revenue while also establishing some of the strongest consumer protection measures in the country.
If you have any questions on this or any other issue, please feel free to contact me anytime via email at Diana.Dizoglio@masenate.gov or phone at 978-984-7747.
Yours in service,