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Did Massachusetts Fail To Legalize Sports Betting?
It is being reported that residents of Massachusetts are simply crossing over to neighboring states to place sports bets as betting there is still illegal whilst most neighboring states allow it.
One bar just over state lines, Pepper Pub based in Salem in New Hampshire, often sees punters coming in to place bets having driven in from Massachusetts.
Worker Susan Tanguay told us “We have a Live Free or Die policy. Of course, if people from our neighboring state want to come here and bet they can, it’s crazy but it benefits us.”
Two friends sitting at the same bar, Steve Sheehy from Methuen and Chris Zani from Salem, fail to understand the logic of why Massachusetts has yet to see the benefits of legalizing sports betting.
“Personally, I don’t know of anyone that has lost houses or any kind of big assets,” Zani commented. His friend Sheehy agreed. “If they can generate income and help reduce my taxes or pay for other local amenities, I’m all for it. It seems very foolish they are not making the most of the situation as punters just go to neighboring states anyway.”
States such as Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut have all legalized sports betting, and back in 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Court made moves to legalize it in the state as well.
Senator Eric Lesser, a Democrat, proposed a bill that would add Massachusetts to the list of states legally allowing betting on sports.
“No doubt a lot of residents are still betting on sports as we see nearly all our neighboring states allowing it in one form or another,” he told us.
The bill he proposed is now with the Ways and Means committee. Should it pass there, it will go to the Senate floor and be subject to a full vote.
“The way things are, it is not safe and if we can’t tax it or regulate it, if we can’t keep our own eyes on it as punters are being forced out of state, we can’t ensure things are being handled in a safe way. We may be a small state, but we are surrounded by a large number of larger ones almost all of which have legalized sports betting,” he added.
“Massachusetts has states around us that have seen the advantages that legalized sports betting brings. As a house, we have passed a number of hurdles to finally legalize it ourselves meaning we can regulate everything finally, July 2021 was the last time things moved forward,” Ronald Mariano, the Democrat House Speaker said recently.
Back in January at the time of the Superbowl, the Governor, Charlie Baker, tweeted in support of legalizing betting as well.
The only sports betting operator based in the state, Draftkings, stated that around 27% of those placing bets on March Madness from neighboring New Hampshire listed their home address as Massachusetts showing just how much of an issue they could be facing.