Massachusetts Senate discards sports betting bill initiative

Cvetanka Cvetanovska | Published 31 Jul 2020, 11:26 a.m.

This Wednesday the initiative to include sports betting in the latest economic development bill was denied by the Senate of Massachusetts. The Senate approved the economic bill without the amendments that mentioned sports betting into the bill. The House passed its version of the bill with an included legislation for legalising sports betting activities.

Possible period extension

News outlets report that sports betting would likely need to be presented as a separate bill, but are uncertain if that would be taken into consideration if session extends. Since the House and Senate differ in their laws, the legislation will need to be reconciled and approved before it is sent to the governor.

The public recognises gov. Charlie Baker as a supporter of this initiative, pushing his bills in order to legalise the sports betting practice. Baker recently stated that sports betting could help in generating revenue for the state as it deals with budget deficits due to the current global economic struggle.

If Massachusetts can push legislation through, it would become the third New England state with legal sports betting activities. For now, Rhode Island and New Hampshire offer sports betting, but their markets are restricted by the state lottery laws and the small number of operators to choose. The Massachusetts House legislation provided mobile and retail sports betting with multiple operators, including sites not tied to casinos. This state is seen as a significant market opportunity, with enthusiastic sports fans and teams winning championships in all major sports leagues. Findings show that if the session extends after the setback on Wednesday, there’s still a chance for reconsidering the sports betting amendment. 

Michigan on expanding the iGaming community

Michigan introduces another addition to the online gambling market-the BetAmerica online sportsbook and iGaming platform. This announces the growth of the Michigan iGaming market that should culminate in the latter part of 2020 and into 2021. Churchill Downs Inc., the company that owns the BetAmerica platform will first need regulatory approval in Michigan before launching its casino gaming platform. The sportsbooks platform is currently available in Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and its online casino products are available in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board began accepting online gaming and sports betting licence applications from operators this summer. Retail sports started in March, only to be shut down days after because of the global pandemic disruption. This week Gretchen Whitmer the Michigan Gov. announced that Detroit’s three commercial casinos would be allowed to reopen next week. They will, however, operate at 15% capacity. In the meantime, Michigan online poker sites and other variations of mobile gaming have become legal with a launch date in late 2020. Even though the exact dates are still unknown, this major company was eager to enter the Michigan market as major sports leagues start to return. 

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