By Bob Katzen

The Senate 14-26, rejected an amendment to a section of the bill that would legalize sports betting in the Bay State. A section of the bill establishes the application process when applying for a license to operate sports betting.

The amendment would require that not less than 25 percent of an applicant’s score in the evaluation of their license shall be accounted for by the applicant’s diversity, equity and inclusion commitments and implementation plan; the applicant’s record of past performance on metrics related to diversity, equity and inclusion; and the applicant’s plan for inclusion of minority business enterprises and women business enterprises in development, financing, ownership, design, construction and operations.

Amendment supporters said the amendment is based on a successful licensing model which is currently used by Massport. They noted the model has opened doors to many contractors and business owners of color that previously did not get the same consideration their white counterparts did—all while preserving flexibility and competitiveness in the overall bidding process.

Amendment opponents said that the bill already requires that the application’s score be based on several things about the applicant in addition to diversity, equity and inclusion. They argued that elevating the diversity requirement to account for 25 percent of an applicant’s score is unfair to the very other important things that help develop the applicant’s score.

Sens. Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport) and Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), two opponents of the amendment, did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call for a comment.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment. A “No” vote is against it.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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