SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)-- The Massachusetts House is preparing to debate legislation tomorrow that would legalize sports betting across the state. Some local representatives are stepping up to make sure local businesses don't miss out on the new industry.

The current bill would restrict sports betting to casinos race tracks and mobile apps. State representative Orlando Ramos said he wants to make sure Black and Brown-owned businesses are going to profit, like allowing betting in locally-owned restaurants.

"Diversity equity and inclusion I have filed an amendment to make sure that language is included in the final bill," State Representative Orlando Ramos said.

House lawmakers on Thursday are set to debate a bill that would legalize sports betting in Massachusetts. The current bill would restrict betting to casinos race tracks and mobile apps.

Neighboring states Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York have all authorized sports betting in some fashion.

Sports betting generic MGN 072221

Image Courtesy: MGN Online

State Representative Orlando Ramos told Western Mass News in Thursday's hearing he is proposing an adjustment to make sure additional groups of people can also profit.

"We want to make sure we’re giving an opportunity for black and brown-owned businesses to be able to benefit from this new industry," Ramos said.

Not only was Ramos fighting for a seat at the table for local restaurants who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure betting would be allowed inside businesses, he also wants black and brown representation in what would be a new large industry across the state.

"There’s very little diversity when it comes to ownership of these businesses there are no black or brown on casinos in the commonwealth and there are very few black and brown owned marijuana businesses in the commonwealth," Ramos said.

The hearing is planned for Thursday.

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