60% of the chamber

A majority of Massachusetts Senators in favor of sports betting legalization, poll says

Massachusetts Capitol House.
2022-03-28
United States
Reading time 1:37 min

A new poll conducted by State House News Service shows a majority of Massachusetts senators support sports betting legalization. The SHNS surveyed all legislators, receiving responses from all but 12: of those who responded, 24 (60% of the total chamber) said they would back the plan.

Meanwhile, eight senators gave noncommittal or undecided responses, including Senate President Karen Spilka. None explicitly spoke out against legalization, further shows the poll. Senators from districts bordering states where the market is already legal expressed concern that millions in bets were being lost to neighbors.

“This continues to result in a significant revenue loss for Massachusetts and gain for New Hampshire,” said Democratic State Sen. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen, according to Boston Herald. She further said people from her district regularly cross into New Hampshire to wager.

Additionally, many of the most progressive senators, and gubernatorial candidate Sonia Chang-Díaz, either declined to comment or said they wanted to see the specifics of the bill before deciding. Díaz expressed concerns about the equity of the industry.



Massachusetts State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz

“My top concerns will be around ensuring we’re making our tax code more progressive, not regressive and ensuring economic development opportunities serve communities most often left out,” Chang-Díaz said, according to the cited source.

Other senators showed tentative support, but expressed concerns that there are yet many issues to be resolved before a passage. “I’m OK with sports betting in theory, but there are many unresolved questions about the scope of activities that should be eligible for sports betting, how to set it up, how to regulate it, and how to share the revenue it generates,” said Sen. Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont), Senate President Pro Tempore.

His opinion was echoed by Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Senate Minority Leader, who said he supported a legalization “in concept,” but considered that there are “a lot of details that we need to work out,” according to The Lowell Sun.


Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

Sports betting legalization has also been publicly supported by Gov. Charlie Baker. However, a House-approved bill, passed 156-3 last July, remains lodged in the Senate Ways and Means Committee since last summer, despite the general support the poll gauged.

“For people in Massachusetts – literally many do – to just drive over the border, to be able to participate in something that is another form of entertainment, I think is unfortunate,” Baker said last Thursday, lamenting the lack of a passage.

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