Small Businesses Want In On The Massachusetts Sports Betting Action
Just under 100 businesses in Massachusetts have asked the state senate to legalize sports betting in 2022.
Sports betting is booming across the United States, offered via casinos and other gambling establishments across the country. More and more states are legalizing the option to take advantage of the earnings potential. While some states are moving quickly, others are not. Take Massachusetts for example. Lawmakers are dragging their feet to legalize sports betting and stakeholders have had enough. Just this week, around 90 small businesses in the state sent a letter to local senators asking for passage of legislation this year.
Supporting Senator Adam Gomez’ Bill
The large group of businesses came together to plea their case via letter. Bars, restaurants, and private clubs want in on the action and feel that sports betting will help to generate much-needed revenues. The letters were sent to all forty senate members in Massachusetts showing support for a bill created by Senator Adam Gomez. The letter details how legalizing sports betting will increase tax revenues and create a safe environment for bettors. It would also create geographic fairness to those who are not close to a casino in the state.
The business owners also pointed out that they have been harmed by the pandemic and many have already shutdown with no plans to reopen. Those who are in business must make cuts in order to stay in operation and are barely hanging on as is. The letter pointed out that people are traveling across state lines and spending money in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire on sports betting. The state is missing out on funds that would stay here if the option were available.
The group says that they cannot lose any more customers, especially those that are already close to casinos. If they cannot offer in-person sports betting, they will lose traffic to the gaming venues. The bars and restaurants already have a hard time competing with the venues since they offer table games and slots, plus free drinks.
Long Road Ahead
At the end of the letter, the group says they just want to be included. The small businesses want to be able to offer sports betting as the casinos will be able to do if legislation is passed into law. So far, close to 20 bills have been proposed regarding sports betting in the state. None have been able to move forward.
Lawmakers differ so much on their opinion as to how sports betting should function in the state that they cannot agree on one bill to legalize the industry. Tax rates and betting on college sports are key points of contention. If lawmakers can come to some form of consensus, 2022 might be the year that sports betting finally comes to Massachusetts.
There are signs that it could happen. Just last week, Senator Eric Lesser commented positively that it will happen this year. Lesser is the co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. Hopefully, the time spent on break was enough for lawmakers to figure out how the industry needs to take shape in the state, and we will see some legislative movement.
Massachusetts is far behind its neighbors, as most states nearby offer online and land-based sports betting. If the state can pass legislation, then residents will not feel the need to travel out of state to access betting services. Only time will tell, but hopefully this is the year that things get done and we see sports betting approved in the state.