BOSTON (State House News Service) – House Speaker Ronald Mariano left the door open for a compromise Friday morning but said that the House has not “heard anything about sports betting” from the Senate and suggested it was Senate President Karen Spilka who was not being flexible in the talks.
At this point, it seems there may be more barbs being lobbed back and forth between Mariano and Spilka than there are legitimate sports betting proposals being swapped by conferees. Though there were an array of differences between House and Senate versions of betting legalization bills, the most visible barrier to a deal appears to be the House’s insistence that betting be allowed on college games and the Senate’s approach to limit betting to professional contests.
Spilka said this week that she wanted Mariano, who has said he does not really see the point of legalizing betting without college being part of it, to avoid taking an “all-or-nothing” approach in the talks.
“You know, I find it kind of amazing that the Senate president called me out to be flexible. I could make the same request of her,” Mariano told reporters in a State House hallway late Friday morning. “We haven’t heard anything about sports betting from them. We don’t even have a vote that we can go by. They voice-voted everything through. I know there were amendments that were similar to our bill over here in the House that never even got a roll call vote, they were all voiced down. So I’m not gonna negotiate against myself.”
The speaker did not close the door on striking a sports betting agreement before formal sessions end Sunday night. “There’s always a compromise,” he said.
Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday shed some light on the sports betting talks. “There are very significant conversations going on between the branches about this,” Baker told reporters after signing the annual state budget. “So it’s clearly still on people’s radar. It is very much on people’s to-do list.”