Massachusetts Senate Should Approve Sports Betting [OPINION]
Can you imagine the revenue that might have been generated if Massachusetts had a sports book when Tom Brady was in town the other night? I'd be willing to bet that it would have been substantial. Yet even though sports betting is now legal in all of the states that border Massachusetts (except Vermont), the president of the Massachusetts Senate, Democrat Karen Spilka, is about to deal a fatal blow to legislation that would legalize it here.
The two Connecticut casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, recently added sports betting, making them considerably more attractive to Massachusetts gamblers than anything currently offered here in the Bay State. As for the many millions of dollars that sports betting would generate for the Massachusetts economy, Spilka recently told the State House News Service she is "not certain that there's a need for even more money" to address transportation issues. What? But raising a tax on so-called millionaires is necessary?
Spilka said the issue of sports betting might not fit into the "bandwidth," a stupid way of saying she has higher priorities right now for the limited amount of time state senators have left between now and their next vacation.
The Massachusetts House has already passed a sports betting bill, and the concept is popular with Massachusetts gamblers. Spilka should stick that in her bandwidth, ahead of her personal legislative agenda.
Massachusetts has committed to casino gaming. Spilka may not be a fan of gaming, but since the Commonwealth has moved in that direction, we should do everything possible to make our casinos and gaming parlors as competitive as possible. Otherwise, we will continue to encourage Massachusetts residents to travel to neighboring states to gamble.
Massachusetts may be rolling in the dough today, but the good times don't last forever. Spilka and the Massachusetts Senate should take the steps now to ensure that the dough continues to flow, even after they've spent every last nickel we currently have in the state treasury – and you know they will.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.