New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox Back Sports Betting, as State Senate Rejects Legalization

Posted on: November 20, 2020, 09:06h. 

Last updated on: November 20, 2020, 02:34h.

The New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox have both lent their support to their home state legalizing sports betting.

Massachusetts sports betting Patriots DraftKings
DraftKings and the New England Patriots are hoping sports betting comes to Massachusetts sooner than later. (Image: Yahoo!)

Two of the most beloved franchises in US sports both believe regulated sports betting will create new jobs in Massachusetts, which are desperately needed in wake of COVID-19.

Passing sports betting will protect and create jobs here in Massachusetts at a time when many companies have been forced to shrink their workforce. Massachusetts has already lost jobs that could have been housed here by not acting sooner on sports betting,” the letter sent to the Massachusetts Legislature reads.

The document is signed by the Patriots and Red Sox, as well as Boston-based DraftKings. Sports betting and daily fantasy sports rival FanDuel is also a signatory.

“We are deeply concerned at the prospect of legislation not being passed this session,” the letter added. “Such an outcome would be detrimental to our businesses, to consumers, and to our Commonwealth, all while providing a major win for illegal, offshore sports betting companies.”

Patriots billionaire owner Robert Kraft has been a DraftKings investor since 2015.

Senate Rejection

The Patriots and Red Sox letter arrives on Beacon Hill just hours after the Massachusetts Senate decided not to include sports betting in its budget plan for 2021.

Republican Minority Leader Bruce Tarr had submitted an amendment to the budget bill that would have legalized sports betting. The earmark, however, was promptly removed by Democratic leaders without a vote.

The rejection angered some state lawmakers.

Sen. Patrick O’Connor (R-Plymouth) called sports betting “basically free money” for the state. Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Plymouth) was one Democratic politician who supported the amendment.

“[Massachusetts] “is losing all of this revenue that we are going to need.”

Estimates for sports betting tax revenue ranges from $20 million to $35 million annually. Tarr’s sports betting effort would have authorized the state’s three casinos — Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park — to incorporate sportsbooks into their facilities. Mobile wagering also would have been permitted.

Legislative Effort

With sports betting out of the 2021 Massachusetts budget, it’s back to the drawing board for lawmakers who support legalizing the expanded gambling activity.

Governor Charlie Baker (R) filed legislation in January to legalize sports betting on professional sports for adults over the age of 21 at the state’s casinos and online. But in July, the governor said there had been little movement by state lawmakers on the matter.

We wanted to give Massachusetts the ability to have people play here rather than playing elsewhere,” Baker explained. “In addition to sort of the cross-border competition issues that would be addressed by doing something here in Massachusetts, it would certainly generate revenue, and it would be something that a lot of people would be interested in here at home, as opposed to doing across the border.”

Pacheco is committed to getting sports betting across the legal goal line.

“If we don’t do it in this bill [budget], we should absolutely get to work before we end this year to make sure this is done,” Pacheco said. “I am very concerned that we are going to be missing the boat on this.”