Massachusetts is taking steps towards legalizing sports betting, as the state’s Senate is expected to vote on a sports wagering bill later this week.
According to the Boston Herald, the bill that passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee last week differs from a sports betting bill that cleared the House last summer by an overwhelming vote of 156-3.
One of the differences between the Senate and House bills is betting on college sports, which the Senate bill prohibits.
If the bill passes the Senate later this week, lawmakers would have about three months to negotiate and send a bill to Governor Charlie Baker, a backer of legalizing sports wagering, for approval.
The Senate’s bill meets the requests of the Presidents and Athletic Directors of the eight Massachusetts colleges and universities that have Division I sports programs, who have urged lawmakers to leave college betting out of any legalization bill.
These colleges and universities are Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, The College of the Holy Cross, Merrimack College, and the University of Massachusetts (Amherst and Lowell).
The officials have argued that legal college sports wagering will cause “unnecessary and unacceptable risks to student athletes, their campus peers, and the integrity and culture of colleges and universities in the Commonwealth.”
The Senate Ways and Means Committee estimates that sports wagering legislation, with college sports excluded, would yield $35m in annual state revenue.