Metro

If it’s legalized in Massachusetts, sports betting could take many forms

Men watch horse racing on an array of screen at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2018. The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go-ahead for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press
Onlookers watched horse racing on an array of screens at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., on Monday.

The Patriots giving six points against the Jets? Sure, you say, you’ll take that bet.

But how would you place it, should Massachusetts legalize sports gambling? Swing by one of the state’s casinos and place a wager at the sportsbook? Maybe at a neighborhood sports bar? Or even straight from your smartphone?

The Supreme Court threw open all of these possibilities with a major decision on Monday, ruling that individual states could decide whether to legalize sports betting.

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With vast sums of money at stake, Massachusetts lawmakers seem poised to debate the issue quickly, opening the door to a wide range of potential gambling scenarios, gambling specialists said Tuesday.

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“I think Massachusetts needs to be thoughtful about its approach to the issue, but I think a consensus is emerging that the time has come to do something,” said state Senator Eric P. Lesser, a Longmeadow Democrat who is the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.

Other states are already jumping in.

In New Jersey, the Monmouth Park racetrack has announced that it will be ready to begin taking sports bets by Memorial Day — three days before the start of the NBA Finals.

West Virginia and Pennsylvania are not far behind, specialists say.

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Closer to home, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has included $23.5 million in revenue from sports betting at casinos in her next state budget, according to news reports.

And Connecticut officials, including Governor Dannel P. Malloy, have voiced support for a special legislative session to consider the topic.

The lucrative potential of legalized sports betting is likely to touch off a scrum for a share of the new market, from casinos to racetracks to daily fantasy sports sites.

“It’s going to be a free-for-all,” said Clyde Barrow, a University of Texas professor who closely follows the New England casino industry.

“Consultants are going to make a lot of money doing studies,” he said.

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As the debate over sports gambling moves forward, here and in other states, a variety of players could be vying for a piece of the action.

Here are some of them:

Professional sports leagues

Collegiate and professional sports leagues have struggled over the issue of sports-related gambling. In the case the Supreme Court decided on Monday, all four major professional leagues joined the NCAA’s effort to prevent the expansion of gambling, though Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association have said they’re open to a system if they get a share of the proceeds.

Boston’s professional teams have had little to say since the ruling, but Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs has said that “I think there is a place for it.”

“There is a lot of money in gambling, clearly,” Jacobs told the Globe in September.

“If you have been in some of these stadiums in England, a soccer game . . . someone comes in and says, ‘OK, who’s going to score the first goal? Who is going to do this, that?’ And they are gambling on this sort of thing. The engagement is unbelievable.”

“There are rights fees that are paid by the bookmakers in this case,” Jacobs said. “And there should be . . . if they are going to gamble on your sport, I think you should be compensated for it.

“They are gambling on your game, you should be compensated for it.”

Casino license holders

In Massachusetts, that means MGM, Penn National Gaming, and Wynn Resorts.

Eric Schippers, a Penn National senior vice president, said Tuesday that Massachusetts casinos are best equipped to handle sports wagers.

“We’ve invested hundreds of millions — if not billions of dollars — in partnership with the state to build these facilities, and sports betting will be an added amenity that will help drive increased visitation.

“If you were to allow somebody to come in who’s not a brick-and-mortar casino operator, and allow the lottery or [fantasy sports sites] or even bars and taverns to run this opportunity, you’re cannibalizing the state’s casino partners who have invested collectively billions of dollars.”

Penn National runs the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, the only facility already open under the 2011 state casino law. MGM intends to open a resort casino in Springfield on Aug. 24, and Wynn Resorts plans to open its Everett resort in June 2019.

Schippers cautioned against “irrational exuberance” about the amount of revenue sports gambling would generate.

“It’s an added nice amenity to have at your facility,” he said, but the profit margins in sports betting are low, around 5 percent, and a sports book can lose money on games on any given night. He favors permitting casinos to run sports betting in Massachusetts in their physical properties and online, under a tax rate in the 8 to 10 percent range.

Racetracks and simulcast parlors

Another horse in the race for the spoils of legal gambling? The state’s racing industry.

“We’re in the legal betting business, and we understand the attraction,” said Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer at Suffolk Downs. “People clearly enjoy the activity.”

The Suffolk Downs racetrack is slated for redevelopment, but the facility still runs a solid trade in offtrack bets, he said. Last year, Tuttle said, the track handled $100 million in remote bets, including online wagers.

If the state decides to allow mobile betting through partnerships with licensed facilities, Suffolk Downs would be “ready to go as soon as, if not ahead of, a lot of the other wagering businesses in the state,” he said.

Such an arrangement could be a huge opportunity for an industry that has long been in decline.

“For us, it’s also potentially an ability to reach that modern consumer and market horse racing to them in a way that hasn’t been marketed to them in the past,” Tuttle said.

Daily fantasy league companies

Jason Robins, the chief executive of Massachusetts-based DraftKings, has said his company is preparing to offer sports betting where it may legally do so, online and in person, probably through partnerships with brick-and-mortar casinos.

Robins said the goal is to give sports fans “experiences that make their sports viewing more entertaining, that makes following the games, following the stats — every aspect of the sports experience — more entertaining. That’s our goal, and what we’re hoping for is a regulatory and legislative approach that allows for as much innovation as possible, and I think if you see that, you’re going to see some very interesting things, many of which I couldn’t tell you or predict today.”

Such a scenario, however, alarms gambling opponents. Les Bernal, national director of the anti-gambling group Stop Predatory Gambling, said that innovations in online sports gambling permit fans to bet every few seconds on what might happen next in a game, “turning a sports event into a slot machine.”

Mark Arsenault can be reached at mark.arsenault@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark.