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Massachusetts sports betting may do more harm than good

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Harry Levant is well aware of the dire consequences of gambling addiction.

A Juris Doctorate and Northeastern University policy candidate, Levant is a recovering gambling addict who has seen the effects of unregulated gambling firsthand.

“The model that the gambling industry, sports leagues, and state governments themselves have adopted is, ‘We have this new toy. ’” says Levant. “This is not good or bad. It is known as an addictive commodity. So there must be harm. There can be no other consequences.”

Massachusetts legislators recently concluded a marathon legislative session that resulted in the legalization of sports betting in the state, among many changes. State politicians and betting sites such as Massachusetts-based DraftKings welcomed the change, but Northeastern University’s Levant and other experts have serious concerns about the public health implications of the new law.

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Massachusetts legislation allows anyone over the age of 21 to legally bet on professional and college sports, except in schools in the state (with the exception of teams playing in “college tournaments” such as March Madness). can do). Bets can be made online and in person. The bill is now sent to Gov. Charlie Baker and has 10 days to sign or reject.

Massachusetts lawmakers hope the move to legalized sports betting will bring both dollars and jobs to the state.

“Once signed by the governor, this new law will open new industries to the Commonwealth, creating jobs and economic growth,” State Senator Eric Lesser said in a statement. “It also protects consumers and athletes with some of the strongest protections in the country while preserving the integrity of the sport.”

In-person betting is subject to 15% tax and mobile betting is subject to 20% tax. There is also a $5 million application fee for casinos, racetracks and slot he parlors to obtain a sports betting license. On mobile he has 7 licenses available. A betting platform, too. Lesser previously told CBS Boston that legalized sports betting could bring in $60 million to $65 million a year to the state.

However, some members of the public health community, including the Levant, say the move to legalized sports betting ignores the threat posed by gambling and gambling addiction.

“They are simply exchanging money from people to big corporations, and the government is taking their share,” said Levant, a substance abuse counselor at Milmont Treatment Center. “People get hurt. Addicts get hurt, people at risk of addiction get hurt, families get hurt, communities get hurt.”