Massachusetts’ sports betting negotiations stall

Massachusetts House of Representatives Speaker Ron Mariano has disclosed that State House and Senate negotiators are “far apart” in discussions on the legalisation of sports betting.

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The Senate approved the bill to legalise sports betting in April 2022, with the final decision to be determined by a vote in the House of Representatives.

One point of contention is the inclusion of betting on college sports, which was included in the House’s Bill but rejected by the Senate. Mariano predicted that state revenue from sports betting would drop from $60m to $25m if college sports wagering is not included.

Speaking to reporters, Mariano said: “I’m reluctant to turn over college sports to the black market. I’ve had that position since the beginning. If we’re going to do this, I think there’s an opportunity to include college sports rather than let it be only handled by bookies.

“I mean, I don’t understand if you’re going to do sports betting why you’re going to leave out the Final Four, the bowl games, and the whole college football season. It just doesn’t seem to me to be worth doing if you’re going to leave those.”

The legislative session ends on 31 July, with negotiators Rep. Jerald Parisella of Beverly and Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport expected to continue deliberations until this deadline. Mariano is said to be “hopeful” an agreement can be reached.

Since May 2018, over 30 states, including Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York, have legalised sports betting.

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