Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Chairman O.K. With Legalizing Sports Betting

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By Sam Dorgan
State House News Service

Massachusetts state Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), who chairs the committee that’s been holding on to the House’s sports betting bill since last summer, said Monday he is “fine” with the idea of legal sports wagering.

House Speaker Ronald Mariano voiced his frustration last week with the Senate’s lack of action on sports wagering, calling the other branch “stubborn,” and state Senator Walter Timilty in a radio appearance pinned the decision-making at this juncture on Senate President Karen Spilka.

The senator with immediate custody of the bill is Ways and Means chairman Rodrigues, whose committee received it on July 26, 2021.

“We are actively engaged in discussions and meetings with all the principals. It’s very complicated. It’s very broad. And we’re processing it,” Rodrigues told State House News Service after attending the Massachusetts Senate session on Monday, March 7.

Responding to Mariano’s radio hit last week, Spilka said senators are still “all over the place” on the issue and that she wanted to see “some sort of consensus.”

Asked Monday if anything had shifted recently in those private talks, Rodrigues said, “Just regular meetings, and trying to get our hands around all the competing proposals out there.”

Prompted for his own position on sports wagering Monday, Rodrigues said, “We’ll be ready when the time comes,” before adding, “I’m fine with it.”

Governor Charlie Baker supports sports betting, which means legislators who support the idea don’t have concerns about a veto and likely need only to pass a bill by a majority in each branch. The House bill (H.3993) passed 156-3 on July 23, 2021.


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