The Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park are looking to capitalize on sports betting, which could happen soon in Massachusetts.
“We’re focused with the leagues and the other pro teams on a different concept which is what some states like Illinois, Arizona, Washington DC, Virginia, and Ohio have done, which is to say when you have licenses for sports betting, give the pro teams or venues a licensing opportunity whether you’re the license holder or whether with a partnership with an operator,” Red Sox Executive VP of Legal and Government Affairs Dave Friedman said during a panel last weekend at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States.
Friedman expanded when asked about the potential of the Red Sox opening their own sportsbook. He spoke about how it will depend on what the state legislature allows but mentioned there are several properties near the park that could be good locations for a sportsbook.
The reason that the Red Sox are not looking to build a sportsbook inside Fenway park is that the MLB does not allow sportsbooks to operate inside ticketed areas of stadiums. Yet, a property adjacent to the park could still be a valuable asset for the Red Sox.
Likelihood of the Legalization of Massachusetts Sports Betting Legislation
Massachusetts sports betting is in a precarious position and in danger of having to wait until at least 2023 before it is legal.
The House and the Senate passed different versions of a sports betting bill, and the branches are far enough apart that a conference committee had to be appointed to find a compromise. As of July 15, that conference committee is still at the negotiating table.
The legislative session ends on July 31, so there is not much time for a compromise to be reached and for the two branches to pass a bill.
Massachusetts did make one move that could help sports betting launch sooner than later if it does become legal. At its June meeting, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission presented proposed rules and topics for the prewriting of sports betting guidelines.
This step would allow the operators to launch quickly after any legislation is passed.
Sports Betting Legislation Hurdles
One major sticking point in Massachusetts sports betting legislation is whether to allow wagering on college sports. Several states that have passed their own sports betting legislation have not allowed wagering on all college sports, and some have not allowed wagering on in-state colleges.
Massachusetts legislators are trying to work out whether to partially allow, fully allow, or not to allow it all. The hope has to be that something like college sports betting is not enough to keep the state from passing at least some legislation. There have been other states that have done that and then went on to pass college sports betting legislation in later sessions.
AP Photo/Steven Senne