GOP State Treasurer Candidate Says Lottery Should Participate in Sports Betting

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By Matt Murphy

Republican State Treasurer candidate Keiko Orrall believes the Lottery should be looking for ways that it can become an “active participant” in sports betting after the Supreme Court this week struck down a federal ban on sports wagering outside of Nevada.

While it will ultimately be up to the Legislature and governor to decide whether Massachusetts should wade into the sports betting pool, Orrall called it “an opportunity for us to boost local aid support for our cities and towns.”

“These communities depend on local aid payments for everything from hiring teachers and police officers to fixing roads, therefore we need to look at this potential revenue source and maximize it,” Orrall said.

Governor Charlie Baker and legislative leaders said Monday that they need to take a thorough look at Monday’s court ruling, how legal sports betting might be implemented in Massachusetts and whether the pros, such as revenue, outweigh the cons of a further expansion of gambling as the state still works to get its casino industry off the ground.

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who runs the Lottery and has been warning about the need to steel that local aid revenue source against losses from expanded gambling, said she reached out Monday to House and Senate Democrats to make sure she is a participant in the decision making process moving forward.

“With news of the Supreme Court’s decision, we immediately reached out to Legislative leadership to ensure a seat at the table. As deliberations occur, we must both modernize the Lottery’s operations, and continue to protect the Lottery’s mission of delivering critical resources to the 351 cities and towns across Massachusetts,” Goldberg said in a statement.

Orrall, however, said having a seat at the table is not enough.

“In light of the recent ruling, State Treasurer Deb Goldberg should show leadership and explain how her office could take a proactive approach when it comes to the issue of sports betting, instead of just hoping for a ‘seat at the table,’ ” Orrall said.

A spokeswoman for the Lakeville Republican state representative’s campaign said that if Orrall were treasurer she would be developing a plan right now to present to the Legislature for how the Lottery could take advantage of sports betting.

Goldberg’s chief of staff David Falcone told the News Service that the Lottery is “always on top of new developments, legal and technological, and certainly open to new channels that would generate more revenue for cities and towns.”

“That’s why we continue to advocate for online lottery and will work with the House and Senate on sports betting as well, so that we can achieve the best results for the Commonwealth,” Falcone said in an email.