Massachusetts casino operators are urging lawmakers to let them take control of the sports betting market that could eventually launch in the Bay State.
Executives from Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor penned a letter to Bay State lawmakers arguing that since they were the ones that put up the money to solidify the state’s gambling market, they should be allowed to have the largest piece of the sports betting pie, according to a report from MassLive.
“Those that make actual investments in Massachusetts, assume legitimate risk, and incur costs to provide a service or benefit in the Commonwealth should be enfranchised under this legislation,” Plainridge Park General Manager Lance George and Encore Boston Harbor President Brian Gullbrants wrote in a joint letter to lawmakers.
The executives went on to say that lawmakers should grant the three corporations with expanded gaming licenses, which also includes MGM Resorts thanks to their property in Springfield, the ability to take bets on sporting events.
They also said that each licensee should be allowed to partner with an online sportsbook, but didn’t think that those that operate solely online should be given a gaming license. They feared that if those books were given a license and could access the market without a partnership, then the risk that was assumed to create an upstanding brick-and-mortar industry would be devalued.
They did, however, say that they would support the Gaming Commission granting a fourth license to an online sportsbook that is based in the state. The statement is clearly referencing Boston-based DraftKings, which has become one of the biggest online sportsbooks in the country after making its name as a daily fantasy sports powerhouse.
Last July, the House included sports betting in its economic development bill, but the Senate kept it out of their jobs bill and argued that it was a subject that should be dealt with separately.
The brick-and-mortar operators, however, told lawmakers not to wait too long as neighboring states, such as Rhode Island and New Hampshire, have already launched a regulated sports betting market, and valuable tax revenue is escaping the state.
These same casinos have been trying to push sports betting through the legislature for some time as a similar conversation took place in 2019 when all three casinos had executives urging lawmakers to pass specific regulations regarding sports betting.