SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Sports betting in the Commonwealth may become a reality after state lawmakers reached a compromise on a bill authorizing it here in the state.
When Ben Manetta of New York goes to a casino, he has his eyes on sports betting, “I was just looking in there to see if I can watch a game and bet on one.”
He’s heading back to New York because he can’t do that in Massachusetts just yet but sports betting is one step closer to coming to the state. State lawmakers have reached an agreement to legalize wagering on professional and collegiate sports.
The bill allows sports betting at the state’s three casinos, including MGM Springfield, as well as up to seven online gaming operators but it won’t allow betting at bars and restaurants. Local bar and restaurant owners saying this will hurt business.
“We are going to lose some business for sure, especially for us here being so close to MGM. I’m going to lose business on the Super Bowl,” said Bill Stetson, owner of the Rumbleseat Bar and Grille in Chicopee.
There is an amendment to the bill that will allow a study on expanding sports betting to businesses like Stetson’s.
“But hopefully some people will recognize that and realize that after COVID they shouldn’t being doing more things to hurt our business,” Stetson told 22News.
State Representative Orlando Ramos has been advocating for restaurants and bars to get their share, “If not for that amendment, this new industry would be monopolized by the casinos and sports betting apps, none of which are owned by Black and Brown owners.”
Ramos says that study will begin once the sports betting bill becomes law.
Governor Baker has said in the past that he will sign a sports betting bill if one were to make it to his desk