After the Boston Celtics win, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker urges Beacon Hill to legalize sports betting

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Governor Charlie Baker described the Boston Celtics’ win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday as his latest argument for legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts.

Bay Staters had to cross state lines — including to Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York — to place bets on Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Baker lamented to reporters Friday afternoon.

“There’s a lot of people who literally drive out of Massachusetts to bet on sports, and it’s happening all over the country,” Baker said. “And without a legal way to do it, it’s a bit like the marijuana issue. They just leave the black market there and not somehow bring it out of the shadows and make it a part of regular crime. I think we should do that.”

A much-anticipated bill authorizing sports betting in Massachusetts is tabled in the conference committee as members of the House of Representatives and Senate committees debate key differences in their legislation, including whether to allow college sports betting. House Speaker Ron Mariano said omitting the provision would be a deal breaker, even though the Senate version — crammed with consumer protections to curb problem gambling — didn’t include betting on collegiate sports.

Baker joked on Friday that not betting on the outcome of the NBA Finals was a mistake.

“I should have contacted Governor Newsom,” Baker said. “We’ll contact his office to see.”

Baker also praised the Celtics for their resilience in San Francisco on Thursday, but declined to predict if the team could beat the Warriors.

“They went out to play the Warriors on the Warriors’ home court where the Warriors had hundreds of games worth of NBA Finals experience and the Boston Celtics had no game and Finals experience and of course the Warriors don’t have a single one times have the playoffs lost since the beginning,” said Baker. “And they kind of broke too, and they beat her — and they beat her in the fourth quarter.”

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