Major Disagreements Are Impeding Progress in Massachusetts

A general view of the Truly Terrace at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/AFP

There is plenty of support for the legalization of sports betting in Massachusetts. But it’s not enough. One would think that legalizing sports betting is simply a matter of finding enough support for it.

Massachusetts, however, provides a great example of a state in which the necessary support is there, but the mere existence of support for legalization is not sufficient to translate the wish into reality.

While politicians in the state generally support the legalization of sports betting, they disagree over too many things and to too strong of an extent to allow sports betting to be legalized.

Evidently, legalizing sports betting is a complex issue because people who generally support the legalization of sports betting can still disagree with each other strongly about the issue.

Massachusetts Sports Betting Status Quo

The status quo of sports betting in Massachusetts seems promising enough in some respects. In this state, both the Senate and the House have improved bills in which sports betting would become legal.

However, the respective approved bills in the Senate and House differ strongly from each other because the politicians drafting them to have different opinions as to how legal sports betting should operate in the state.

Three Major Disagreements

Above all, three issues are keeping sports betting from being legalized. The Senate, unlike the House, does not want to permit betting on college sports.

First Disagreement

The worry is that, if sports betting sites were to include betting on college sports, there would be an integrity issue within college sports.

However, supporters of legal wagering on college sports point out that there is a huge population of people who want to wager on college sports.

If these folks couldn’t do so legally, then they would do so illegally, There would be a huge illegal market for these bettors.

Second Disagreement

Secondly, politicians in the state disagree over how much sportsbooks should be taxed. Should they be allowed to operate with less of a tax burden or should they be taxed more heavily? 

Answering this question is difficult, but it is an important question because the revenue generated by sportsbooks can provide immense benefit to the state.

Third Disagreement

The third main problem concerns the prospect of advertising rules and restrictions that would affect the marketing abilities of different sportsbooks.