Massachusetts legislators introduce bill to allow sports betting at small businesses

Several Western Massachusetts legislators seek to make it easier to place a bet among friends.

Newly-elected state Sen. Adam Gomez and Rep. Orlando Ramos, both of Springfield, introduced legislation to support small businesses within the push for legalized sports betting in Massachusetts.

In addition to licensing casinos and online platforms to accept bets, it would allow bars and restaurants to offer sports betting as well.

"For me, it became a no-brainer – why shouldn’t an adult who is patronizing a local sports restaurant have the opportunity to bet $25 legally and safely on the Celtics,” Gomez said. "We want to ensure that sports wagering can occur fairly and legally where every business interested can have a seat at the table. This legislation will increase our state’s competitiveness and will capture revenues that are currently being enjoyed by our neighboring states where sports betting has been legalized.”

Identical versions of An Act authorizing and regulating sports wagering were filed in the state Senate and House of Representatives. State Sen. John Velis, of Westfield, co-sponsored the Senate bill and helped draft the language of the bill.

"Considering all of the challenges that bars and restaurants and other small businesses have been going through with this pandemic, it was important to me that they were included in this bill,” Ramos said. "I think we also have to make sure that minority-owned businesses have an opportunity to succeed in this new industry which is why we included explicit language for diversity, equity and inclusion.”