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Legal Sports Betting Arrives In New England

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A casino in Rhode Island Monday became the first location in New England to legally accept bets on professional sports, putting more pressure on Massachusetts to legalize sports betting.

The Massachusetts legislature will carefully look at the pros and cons of legalizing sports betting during the course of the two-year legislative session that starts in January, according to Democratic State Senator Eric Lesser, who chairs the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.

"It is something we are going to work on this session, but I do think it is important that Massachusetts not rush," said Lesser. " It is complicated, it is relatively new, and there is no reason to rush."

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission estimates sports betting could bring tens of millions of dollars of additional revenue to the state.

MGM, which operates a casino in Springfield, has formed a sports betting partnership with the National Hockey League.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.