While the Massachusetts (MA) Senate didn’t include sports betting in an economic development bill that passed Wednesday, the State’s House of Representatives did revive controversy over its suggested inclusion of “integrity provisions” in sports betting legislation.
The House’s version of a bill to drive economic recovery through the pandemic includes a proposal to legalise sports betting, where 1% of the gross revenue is given to the venue owner hosting any contests held in MA.
Following the annulment of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018, which allowed individual states to pass statutes to legalise sports gambling within their own territories, many sports leagues lobbied for a direct share of State revenue, arguing that legalised betting requires extra measures to preserve the integrity of game outcomes.
But at the time, most viewed it as a quick and easy money grab, putting the issue of integrity fees to rest.
The New England Patriots, who would benefit most from the proposal since their Gillette Stadium is privately owned, has denied any involvement in lobbying for the provision in the House bill, with a team spokesperson stating: “Neither the team nor the league asked for, as suggested, this integrity fee. We’re focused more on the fan engagement elements of the bill.”