BOSTON (CBS) – A high-stakes vote could pave the way for legalized sports betting in Massachusetts.
“We’re in good shape. I think it’s highly likely this will pass,” state Senator Eric Lesser told WBZ-TV before Thursday’s Senate vote.
His bill would allow adults 21 and up to bet money on sports games at casinos and from the convenience of a cellphone.
“If all goes well, before the end of the year we’ll be able to bet on the Celtics, the Patriots, the Red Sox,” Senator Lesser said. “You name it.”
Bobby Gomes plays daily fantasy sports for a living and believes expanding gaming in Massachusetts makes sense since neighboring states have passed similar laws.
“People are going to go to New Hampshire or Rhode Island to place bets, but it’s easier to do from the comfort of your own home,” said Gomes.
“Basically all of our neighbors, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York have all legalized sports betting so we are losing business, said Sen. Lesser.
Legalizing the industry, Lesser said, will keep tax dollars in Massachusetts.
“We’re estimating anywhere between about $35 million to $65 million dollars. There’s a lot of details that matter,” he said.
The Massachusetts House passed a sports betting bill last summer that would allow adults to wager college sports and use credit cards to place bets, but the Senate opted to strip those details from their version of the bill.
The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health warns that making gambling more accessible does have its risks.
“Mobile is a big piece of this new approach and so 24 hours a day you’re able to access gambling,” said executive director Marlene Warner. “It is more of a challenge because someone’s not looking over your shoulder.”
If the House and Senate can reconcile their differences, Governor Charlie Baker has signaled support for signing a legalized sports betting bill into law.