November 20, 2020 Sports Betting

Massachusetts sports betting effort faces another setback

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The Massachusetts Senate rejected the addition of sports betting to its fiscal 2021 budget, marking the latest setback for sports wagering proponents in the Bay State.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr tried to squeeze in an amendment that would have legalized sports betting but his constituents rejected the bill without a roll call vote.

The House overwhelmingly passed a budget plan that included a sports wagering provision, which would have granted online sports betting licenses for the state’s casinos, DraftKings, FanDuel and two other operators.

The proposal drew opposition from Penn National Gaming and Wynn Resorts, who argued that as the state’s casino operators they should control the distribution of licenses.

The arguments for and against the House bill were for naught once the Senate decided it was not yet time to prioritize sports betting.

Tarr, a Republican, expressed his dismay at the rejection of sports betting during the present legislative session. “It is somewhat frustrating we have not been able to move forward on this front as so many of our cohort states have done,” Tarr told his colleagues on the Senate floor.

Tarr’s frustration was matched by Democrat Sen. Marc Pacheco, who said, “This is something that if we don’t do it in this bill, we should absolutely get to work before we end this year to make sure that this is done. I’m very concerned that we’re going to be missing the boat here on this very, very important industry.”

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