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MGM Strikes Gambling Deal With Pro Basketball. Will Massachusetts Play Along?

Sports betting in action.
Thomas Schlosser
Creative Commons

MGM Resorts has announced a gambling partnership with the NBA and WNBA. But don't look for betting on basketball at MGM’s new Springfield casino anytime soon.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting, making room for states to call their own shots.

Even with its pro basketball deal in place, MGM has no plans yet for sports betting at Springfield casino scheduled to open this month.

For that to happen, the state would first have to figure out how to regulate it.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who spearheaded the state’s gaming expansion law in 2011, has said he thinks sports betting "could be" a good thing for Massachusetts. That's because regulators say it could generate up to $61 million dollars a year for the state.

But there's a lot to figure out, like where betting occurs and how much of it happens online.

Lawmakers have said they didn't want to rush into regulating all of that this year.

“The more we talk about it, the more questions that we get,” DeLeo said of regulating sports betting in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. “And with that, I think that if we're going to do it, I think we have to do it as best we can, and try to get it right the first time. And if that takes a little bit longer for us to get to that point, to do it correctly, then I think that's the way we ought to do it.”

DeLeo and other lawmakers have said instead they hope to take up sports betting in early 2019.

This report includes information from State House News Service.

Disclosure: MGM has purchased underwriting from New England Public Radio publicizing the company's non-gambling activities. The NEPR newsroom operates independently of the station's development department, and editorial decisions are made without regard to any funding relationships.

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