What Boston’s Recent Legal Trouble Means for Sports Betting in MA
This week, officials stopped all betting on NCAA women’s basketball at Encore Boston Harbor. This sudden halt was due to patrons allegedly being able to place bets in-state collegiate women’s basketball. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has outlawed betting on in-state collegiate sports events, which the alleged bets on women’s college basketball violated.
This is the second time this has happened in the month of February. It’s a rough start for Massachusetts, a state which legalized sports betting last year and officially put it into practice on January 31, 2023. There are always moral questions around gambling, but there is sure to be far more than that going forward for the practice in Massachusetts. First, let’s take a look at the history regarding this issue in the state.
With Massachusetts having just put sports betting into practice, bettors and regulators wanted a clean start. Controversy is the last thing any major casinos want to see because it usually comes with tighter laws and regulations regarding their practice.
In recent years, there’s been a massive push to make betting a major source of revenue for the state of Massachusetts. Though many are opposed due to the ethical problems that are typically associated with casinos and betting, casino gambling has now been legal in MA since 2011 with the passing of the Expanded Gaming Act.
Encore has been very successful in establishing a Boston Harbor location. The casino has seen much profit and contributed greatly to the state’s plan of implementing casino gambling as a legitimate source of revenue. The legalization of sports betting was further solidification of the popularity and success of gambling in Mass.
With this new controversy right at the dawn of sports betting in Massachusetts, it doesn’t spell well for the near future. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is sure to keep a close eye on the activity of sports bettors and casinos for a while now, which is only going to limit the newly legalized practice from establishing itself as a popular activity in the state.
The question of how this could happen twice in the same month, right after sports betting was finally put into practice is a pressing one. The implications of it are concerning: the activity within these casinos are loosely scrutinized. Knowing the history and the reputation surrounding gambling, this will only give more credence to those in Massachusetts who have been opposed to the legalization and legitimizing of the practice in the state.
This controversy further fuels the question surrounding gambling itself: should it be legal? The question is understandable considering the culture and ethical issues that have plagued the practice for as long as we’ve known. While it’s unlikely that gambling and sports betting is made illegal in Massachusetts now that it’s provided a reliable source of income for the state, it’s almost certain the practice will see far more scrutiny going forth.