Governor Charlie Baker is again asking Massachusetts lawmakers to approve sports betting. Baker is including the forecasted sports betting income in its fiscal year 22 budget, which was presented to lawmakers this week. It is the third year in a row that Baker has applied for approval for sports betting, which is currently legal in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York.
The House voted in the previous session to make sports betting legal, but the Senate never took the matter up. Baker hopes this will be the year.
Baker’s proposed budget provides for over $ 35 million in new revenue if sports betting is approved in time for the new fiscal year beginning July 1. The House’s Economic Development Committee estimates that number will likely be closer to $ 20 million. In any case, it’s tens of millions more than we are currently recording, and that’s what people want.
With sports betting going on everywhere, Baker said “it seems kind of inappropriate at this point” not to allow this to happen here. He added, “I think this thing is starting to mature and I think it just makes sense that we give our people the same chance to play that people in other states have.”
Baker is right. Massachusetts people flock to neighboring states to bet on sports. Why should they continue to spend their money in other states when they can do it here? We already have a lottery, casinos and a slot machine. It’s not like we’re breaking new ground.
Give people the sports betting they want and get extra revenue from the state coffers. It’s a no-brainer.
Barry Richard is the host of the Barry Richard Show at 1420 WBSM New Bedford. It can be heard on weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this comment are solely those of the author.