BOSTON (WHDH) – The state Senate is discussing a bill that would legalize sports betting in Massachusetts, which Gov. Charlie Baker has been pushing for.
The bill has some differences from one that the House of Representatives passed over the summer, barring betting on college sports and using credit cards to make bets. It also establishes two categories of gaming licenses — one that allows existing casinos to take bets at their locations or over apps, and one permitting up to six other operators to take in-person and mobile bets.
Nearly 30 other states offer some kind of legal sports betting including four of the five states bordering Massachusetts.
“We now have sports betting all around us, I think this is one of those things that we should try and get done by the end of the year and I’m glad the Senate is taking it up,” Baker said. “There’s plenty of evidence at this point of lots of people just driving over the border in either direction and placing bets on professional football, the final four, a whole bunch of other sporting events.”
The biggest stumbling block is that Governor Baker and the Senate have pushed plans that would only allow betting on professional sports. A House bill allows betting on college games too, despite objections from local schools like Boston University, Boston College and Harvard.
The Senate is considering amendments that would allow betting on college games except those involving Massachusetts teams.
Even though Massachusetts appears late to the sports betting game, sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach said those states that rushed in first are finding it’s hard to fix their mistakes.
“Even though the legislature is often free to tinker, tweak, modify the laws, in actuality, it’s not as easily done as most people think,” he said. “So, it’s much more important to get it right at the outset.”
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