Massachusetts sports bettors will have to continue to travel across state lines – almost in any direction – or use offshore alternatives to place their bets. With the exception of Vermont, all of the state’s neighbors have legalized sports betting, but Massachusetts lawmakers continue to drag their feet on the topic. Although the House has been able to find time to approve a sports betting bill, the Senate reportedly doesn’t have the “bandwidth” to tackle the subject right now.
Massachusetts Currently Not Interest in Legalized Sports Betting
According to the State House News Service, the Massachusetts Senate is the reason why sports betting hasn’t yet been legalized in the state. The House approved a bill in July, but only after the topic had spent more than a year and a half in legislative limbo. However, the Senate is now proving to be a roadblock and doesn’t seem to be too concerned. Senate President Karen Spilka told the media outlet that the chamber won’t consider sports betting this year unless it determines that it has the “bandwidth” to do so.
Despite states across the US beginning to reap the rewards of legalized sports betting, Spilka doesn’t think Massachusetts desperately needs more money – the education and transportation departments would likely disagree. According to Spilka, she is “not certain that there’s a need for even more money” to correct ongoing transportation issues, especially in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which has had a series of problems recently. This past Tuesday, a train derailed and, on Sunday, a station escalator failed that led to nine people being injured. Earlier this month, Boston University professor David Jones died after falling through a rusty staircase at a separate station.
Political Aspirations a Bigger Priority
According to the Senate president, what is more important than legalized sports betting are political aspirations. She didn’t use those words exactly, but indicated that one of the five topics taking priority are election reforms and the redrawing of political district lines. District lines have become a hot-button topic across the US this year, but have been in place for so long that waiting a little longer shouldn’t be a problem. The difference, however, is that next year is an election year. Other issues taking priority are government spending and budgets, as well as creating parity between mental and behavioral health, according to the lawmaker.
Spilka added, “We have to do redistricting, we have to close out the books and do a [supplemental] budget, we need to do a more permanent VOTES act, our temporary (provisions) end in December. Some of it will depend upon bandwidth and how it stands.”
It’s difficult to imagine any government leader asserting that more revenue isn’t needed, but that seems to be the position Spilka has taken. In the meantime, Massachusetts will allow instant revenue to bleed out of the state as sports bettors continue to find alternatives for their entertainment needs.