By Bob Katzen
The House 33-126, rejected an amendment to a section of an economic development bill that legalizes sports betting. The amendment would strike a provision that would give 1 percent of all the money bet on games played in Massachusetts to the owners of the Boston sports teams and stadiums, with the funds to be used “only for the purpose of sports wagering security and integrity.”
This is just a money grab/payoff to billionaires and I felt that this money should be going to the people of the commonwealth,” said Rep. Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk), the sponsor of the amendment. “Especially now when cities and towns are scrambling for every cent they can get. No other state does this. The reality is Kraft, Jacobs, Henry et al have powerful lobbyists and their greed knows no bounds. Funny, a few months ago the Jacobs family was going to strand their employees without payments during this crisis until Attorney General Healey called them out and shamed them into it. The reality is they are not adding anything to this enterprise and the money would be much better spent on hiring additional teachers than for buying another mega yacht for the ultra-rich.”
“[The] 1 percent charge has a particular purpose,” said Rep. Ken Gordon (D-New Bedford). “It’s used for security at the venue … and this is solely to address those expenses. He noted that the bill requires each recipient to file a report detailing how the money is spent to make sure that the money went to the proper place.
Rep. Margaret-Ann Ferrante (D-Gloucester), the House chair of the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, did not respond to repeated requests from Beacon Hill Roll Call for a comment on why she advocated against and voted against this amendment and the next two amendments on allowing a local tax on buyers of real estate and allowing rent control.
(Read carefully what a Yes and No vote mean. The vote was on the amendment eliminating the 1 percent. A “Yes” vote is for the amendment and therefore against giving the 1 percent to owners. A “No” vote is against the amendment and therefore in favor of giving the 1 percent).