With only four days to commit to one Legal Sports Betting in Massachusetts Resolution, the chambers are in ruins. State legislators in the House and Senate are divided on the issue of college-level betting, an impediment that could block legal wagering well into 2023.
College bets to block legalization
The continued delays in the negotiation process have been frustrating for potential bettors in the state. While offshore sports betting remains a legal and reliable option for Massachusetts residents, most are concerned about the millions that remain on the table between 2021 and 2022.
The Massachusetts Senate voted to pass a revised version of House Bill 3393 in late April. Changes to the legislation included eliminating college sports betting, increasing tax rates for state operators and a ban on credit card banking.
House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano found these changes outrageous and has shifted his position to an all-or-nothing stance. He claims to legalize without access to college betting lines mobile sports betting options would come at a loss. He says,
“If we do that, I think there’s an opportunity to get collegiate sports involved, rather than just having bookmakers manage it. I mean, if you’re a sports bettor, I don’t understand why you skip the Final Four, the bowl games, and the whole college football season. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me if you want to leave them.”
Still, Mariano’s argument negates the upcoming lucrative sporting season. If the state legislature fails to make sports betting a reality this year, Massachusetts will lose revenue from the FIFA World Cup and Super Bowl LVII.
A glimmer of hope for legal betting
Realistically, college betting could be legalized at some point in the future – an alternative many hopeful residents are banking on.
Senate President Karen Spilka was a key player in pushing Massachusetts into a legal sports betting state. She argues that the ban on college athletics betting stems from requests from university officials. She says,
“It’s not a good thing. These presidents and athletic directors know their students. So in our Senate version of the bill, we didn’t allow college, but we did allow all other sports betting.”
Proponents of college sports betting suggest recent changes to player compensation rules would prevent students from fixing games.
While college athletes can accept branding deals and sponsorships, for the majority of players, these types of paid partnerships never materialize.
Massachusetts time is running out
So far, it doesn’t look like the House or Senate are ready to cave in. Both sides are very passionate about college betting, even to the detriment of the electorate.
However, with the midterms just around the corner, it’s in everyone’s best interest to find some sort of solution — even if it means missing out on college sports betting.
Be sure to come back and visit us for the latest updates on sports betting news from Massachusetts.
Source: NBC Boston