AP NEWS

Baker Wants Vote on Sports Betting Before Summer Recess

March 26, 2019

BOSTON -- As daily fantasy sports company DraftKings celebrated the opening of its new Boston headquarters Tuesday, the company’s leader and Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated their hopes that the state will legalize sports betting in the coming months to allow additional job growth and bring in new tax revenue.

Baker filed a bill in January to allow online wagering on sporting events, and several lawmakers filed their own versions. After touring and cutting the ribbon on DraftKings’ new 105,000-square-foot facility on Berkeley Street Tuesday, Baker said he wants to see lawmakers support the measure soon to maximize opportunities.

“Our preferred option would be that this is something the Legislature takes up before they break for the summer, which will probably be somewhere around August,” Baker told reporters after the ribbon-cutting. “That would be the timeline we think makes sense, because that would land before the start of the next NFL season.”

If the bill passes, state regulators would still need some time to write and publish rules governing how the betting system would work. Eight other states have already legalized sports betting through online or mobile platforms rather than regulated in-person locations.

DraftKings currently offers such services in some locations where it is legal, and the company’s leaders hope to have the chance to do so in Massachusetts as well.

Jason Robins, DraftKings’ CEO, said legalizing sports gambling would regulate a practice already taking place illicitly and spark growth in an industry full of potential.

“People still do it,” he said. “There’s a $150 billion annual betting market that exists on the black market in the U.S. That just shows people want it, so why not create a safe, legal environment, bring in tax dollars for the state, and create great jobs and opportunities for employers like us?”