Massachusetts’ economic development package includes sports betting
An economic development package designed to provide a much needed boost to the struggling economy of the state of Massachusetts by generating new jobs will reportedly include measures to legalize sports betting.
Casinos in the Bay State, including the widely popular Encore Boston Harbor, are once again up and running following their months-long closure. However, the state’s three gaming operators are still waiting for the rights to operate a sportsbook to cater to the needs of sports betting enthusiasts.
H.4879, “An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth,” now aims to trigger the economic engine by accelerating the pace of the gaming industry. The 118-page economic development package aims to spend more than $370 million to provide capital loans to businesses that were hit hard the deadly corona virus pandemic, which forced federal and state authorities to issue closure orders for non-essential businesses, including gaming venues. The closure of the casinos and other entertainment properties for more than a couple of months particularly hit gaming-based economies. Thus, the economic development package includes measures for boosting the struggling gaming industry as well.
The H.4879 would fund job training, public school grants, building rehabilitation projects, tourism initiatives and child care assistance. In addition, it would provide monetary assistance to companies involved in sustainable and climate-resilient housing development projects.
A section of the bill, called the “Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act,” has particularly been designed to support and boost the gaming industry. If it gets approval from the state lawmakers and signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker, three sorts of sports betting licenses would be created. One of the three licenses would permit casinos to operate in-person as well as online sportsbooks. The second license would permit a horse racetrack to operate a land-based sports betting facility. The third would allow for mobile-based sports wagering.
However, the bill doesn’t differentiate costs for the aforementioned different licenses. It states, “The commission shall grant an operator license to a qualified gaming entity that provides for the right to conduct sports wagering; provided that the qualified gaming entity meets the requirements for licensure.”
Massachusetts has three casinos, namely MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park. All the three remained closed from March 15th through early July. While Encore resumed operations on July 12th, and MGM reopened on July 13th. The gaming facilities are back in business, albeit burdened with hefty losses. Allowing the casinos to operate sportbooks would provide them great assistance as such a move would generate a new revenue stream for them.