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Volume 26 No. 85
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Mass. State Legislature Likely Won't Have Sports Betting In Place By Fall

The Massachusetts state legislature is "unlikely to decide whether to legalize sports betting" before the fall, which means "another football season will begin without any legal wagers" in the state, according to a front-page piece by Andy Rosen of the BOSTON GLOBE. It also means the state continues to "likely leave millions in revenue on the table." Industry players such as "sports leagues, casinos, and online gaming companies, have backed some form of legislation," and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has "put his weight behind the push." Baker in January proposed legislation that he said would have generated about $35M in "taxes and licensing fees" in the coming FY. However, lawmakers said that there is "still plenty of work to be done to decide how to structure the new market, who will benefit, and whether legalization is a good idea at all." A committee overseeing the sports betting debate is "set to hold hearings" this month on potential legalization. Those proceedings will be a "step toward determining the fate of sports betting, though the timing leaves little room for lawmakers to take further steps on any proposal before they depart for the summer." Meanwhile, state lawmakers in New Hampshire are entering the "final stages of debate on a sports betting measure." Rhode Island is also "preparing to expand the limited program it has been running for six months" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/17).

POOR SERVICE: In DC, Katishi Maake noted when the DC City Council "agreed to sole source the contract for the city's online sports wagering platform, it was under the impression the application would be available by September -- in time for the new NFL season." However, the office of DC CFO Jeff DeWitt said that the platform "won't be available until January." The city council's Committee on Finance & Revenue has now asked the DC Lottery to "consider pivoting to a competitive marketplace with multiple vendors." David Umansky, the public affairs officer for DeWitt's office, said that the DC Lottery is "fast-tracking the implementation of sports betting" in DC and "expects to submit the final contract" next month (BIZJOURNALS.com, 5/16).