Massachusetts Must Legalize Sports Betting Now [OPINION]
Governor Charlie Baker is again asking the Massachusetts Legislature to approve sports betting. Baker is including projected revenue from sports betting as part of his FY22 budget submitted to lawmakers this week. It is the third consecutive year Baker has sought approval for sports betting, which is currently legal in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York.
The House voted to make sports betting legal in the last session, but the Senate never took up the matter. Baker is hoping this will be the year.
Baker's budget proposal anticipates upwards of $35 million in new revenue should sports betting be approved in time for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1. The House Economic Development Committee estimates that figure would likely be closer to $20 million. Either way, it's tens of millions more than we are currently taking in, and it's what the people want.
With sports betting happening all around us, Baker said, "It seems kind of inappropriate at this point," not to permit it here. He added, "I do think this thing is starting to mature, and I think it just makes sense for us to give our people the same chance to play that people have in other states."
Baker is right. People from Massachusetts are pouring into neighboring states to bet on sports. Why should they continue to spend their money in other states when they can do it here? We already have a lottery, casinos, and a slots parlor. It's not as if we are breaking new ground.
Give the people the sports betting that they want and reap the benefits of additional revenue in the state's coffers. It's a no-brainer.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.