Casino Interested In Opening Massachusetts Sports Betting If Legalized

If the ban on sports betting in Massachusetts were to be struck down, the state’s first casino would be ready to capitalize.

Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Mass., can boast its status as the state’s only legal casino for at least a few more months until MGM Springfield opens, as expected, this year. But even after MGM and, later, the planned Wynn Resorts in Everett open, Plainridge may beat its competition in making another highly anticipated addition to its gaming experience.

Penn National, which operates Plainridge, is among those that “want to hit the ground running” if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a federal ban on professional sports gambling, Penn National senior vice president Eric Schippers told The Boston Globe. The company reportedly would be interested in opening a sports book and has begun working on legislation to be ready for the state, pending the court’s ruling.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has started putting the wheels in motion as well, preparing a briefing paper for the state legislature, which would still need to approve legalization should the federal ban be removed.

“There is a school of thought that there’s going to be a competitive situation,” gaming commission chairman Stephen Crosby told the Globe. “Which states are going to get going and try to get a piece of this action? If the legislature wants to move quickly, we’d like to tee it up for them and say, ‘Here’s what the issues are.’ ”

Sports betting has been illegal in every state except Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon since the passage of the Bradley Act in 1992. New Jersey is believed to be best positioned to legalize sports gambling quickly once the ban is removed, and has been the most active in challenging the law through the legal system.

Thumbnail photo via John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports Images

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