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Massachusetts awaits sports betting revenue results from Super Bowl bets

MGM Springfield launches in-person sports betting on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023,  now that it is legal in Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier
MGM Springfield launches in-person sports betting on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, now that it is legal in Massachusetts.

The Chiefs are Super Bowl champions. Will the state of Massachusetts be a winner?

Massachusetts has not seen a revenue stream before, from bets on the Super Bowl. Reporter Chris Lisinksi from the State House News Service explains when we will learn just how much tax revenue the state's three casinos brought in from those football bets.

Chris Lisinksi, State House News Service: It'll probably be sometime in March that we learn how much revenue came in from bets on the Super Bowl. Seems like the early plans from the Mass Gaming Commission are to report out that data on sports betting on a monthly basis. Since the Super Bowl falls in February, obviously, we're going to need to wait for February to draw to a close before we can get a sense of just how popular this was. The very first Super Bowl with sports betting allowed in Massachusetts.

Carrie Healy, NEPM: Mobile online betting has not yet started in Massachusetts, just in person at the casinos and two of those casinos, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park accepted bets involving Massachusetts colleges. It's a ‘no no’ under the law. Does illegal activity, one week into legal sports betting, raise any questions for gambling regulators?

I think it certainly raises some questions for regulators on what else they need to do to better train casinos and the folks working there to keep an eye out for these. You know it's worth noting that both casinos self-reportedthese bets that they had accepted illegally on college sports. So, they're not necessarily operating in the shadows here and already caught. But it does raise the specter of the need for additional training or additional awareness, especially as we look ahead to the start of mobile sports betting, again, as you mentioned, in early March.

Nearly six weeks into the new legislative session, Massachusetts senators have agreed on a package of rules to guide the two-year session. One measure removes the term limit for Senate presidency, where Karen Spilka has served since mid-2018. So, what's the context for the vote taken last week, removing that term limit?

This had been in place in the Senate for about three decades. A term limit limiting each president to serve no more than eight years in that top post. Karen Spilka, as you mentioned, would have bumped up against the limit of her term right toward the end of formal lawmaking business in 2026, not at the end, but just a few days before that. So, senators who voted in favor of this argued that doing it now prevents Spilka from being a lame duck for the 2025-2026 lawmaking session and gives them more bargaining position with the House, (which) does not have a term limit on the speaker any longer, and with the governor who also does not have a term limit.

But the Senate President has yet to appoint senators to leadership posts and as committee chairs for this session. So, Chris, what's the chance that some may have voted yes, not wanting to anger their leader?

I think there's a pretty sizable chance of that. Senators obviously are not going to be forthcoming and admit that that was part of their thinking. But you can't separate the timing from that. You know Beacon Hill has long been notorious for operating in a very top down, centralized power kind of way, and this is just another example of that.

Briefly, the legislative session is about six weeks in, and committees and chairs have yet to be named. No real legislation is even moved. What or when is the session expected to get fired up and active?

I think we'll expect the session to get fired up once we get those committee assignments, which could come as early as this week or possibly the week following. Look out for Governor Healey's first annual state budget to be filed by March 1st. That'll probably be the first big major topic to get any momentum up here.

Carrie Healy hosts the local broadcast of "Morning Edition" at NEPM. She also hosts the station’s weekly government and politics segment “Beacon Hill In 5” for broadcast radio and podcast syndication.
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