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MGC Exec Change May Hint At Future Of Massachusetts Sports Betting

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MGC Executive Director Change Shows State Is Ready For Sports Betting

A change at the top for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission should be a sign for everyone in the Bay State. The MGC executive director leaving that post for a private-sector job is news because of what his new duties will entail.

There may not be any activity in the Legislature in Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening in Boston on the topic of gambling expansion. It’s all about reading the signs.

Why the MGC executive director recently stepped down

Earlier this month, the head man of the commission, Ed Bedrosian, vacated his post. He returned to the law firm he left to join the commission.

According to the Boston Globe, Bedrosian will work for Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP on matters related to sports betting. While there’s no guarantee that those clients will be exclusive to Massachusetts, having someone with Bedrosian’s connections sets the firm apart.

That may make the firm attractive to gambling companies on a variety of topics. Bedrosian’s familiarity with the politics in the state and respect that other key figures in Boston likely have for him could go a long way.

Clients looking to take advantage of Bedrosian’s presence could include future legal Massachusetts sportsbooks. There is momentum for legalization around the state.

The growing public outcry for legal wagering on sports

Among those who have publicly voiced support for Massachusetts to legalize sports betting is former MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis. Mathis was recently replaced, but he spoke on the behalf of his former employer to this issue in December.

Mathis isn’t alone. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has been perhaps the most vocal supporter of legalization in the state’s government, even filing his own bill to do so.

There is little debate that the state is a prime location for gambling expansion of this kind. Not only does Boston house the corporate headquarters of DraftKings, but it also is home to professional sports franchises in MLB, the NBA, the NHL and the NWHL.

Of course, the fact that the New England Patriots call Massachusetts home is important, as well. Add to that the existence of two other commercial casinos besides MGM Springfield, and the market is just begging for regulation.

Perhaps Bedrosian’s move is a sign the state is ready to catch up. It could be the famous “writing on the wall.”

Reading into Bedrosian’s move to the private sector

It stands to reason that if Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe made an offer to Bedrosian attractive enough to make him leave his government job, the firm believes it can get even more value out of him. Bedrosian was likely also convinced of the opportunity.

That may point toward the imminence of activity in Boston’s legislative chambers. Bedrosian and the firm may have felt the wave coming. This was their way of getting out ahead of it.

As previously mentioned, that could be relegated to out-of-state sportsbook clients. At least in the short term, there is no breaking, official news.

A reading of this situation could point to legal wagering in Massachusetts, however. If that’s the case, more people than Bedrosian are about to get busy.

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About

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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