While over 20 states in the US are gearing up for legalizing sports betting within their jurisdictions, Massachusetts is not ready to go along with the tide. Recently, nine people were charged with illegal sports betting and money laundering in the Greater Boston area. The charges were initiated by the state police and the Gaming Enforcement Division of the attorney general’s office, as reported by the local news outlets. The nine people have also been accused of attempted extortion as some of the losing bettors were threatened if they didn’t pay up.
One of the losing bettors, in this case, was an undercover officer. The indictment in the case comes after a bar manager pleaded guilty to running an illegal gambling ring. He was indicted for the same last year. This goes on to show that the Bay States want to engage in sports gambling, even if it means rubbing shoulders with the law. The local bookies are not shying away from threatening violence if they don’t get paid.
Experienced regulators have argued in the past that strict regulations and prohibition only leads to illegal underground gambling activities. These activities could be dangerous for the players as well as the operators. The best option is to look for the well-regulated environment for safe gambling that could prevent bookies from working underground.
The private sector is getting ready to fix the situation. MGM opened the MGM Springfield earlier in the year and wanted to add sports betting to its gambling options. However, the operators will have to convince the state authorities that the activity should be regulated. MGM’s Mike Matthis says that the casino intends to address the issue with the state authorities “right after the first of the year.” The governor is also open to the idea according to some local news reports which could help their cause.