Massachusetts Could be Next to Regulate Online Gambling

MassachusettsThe Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has said that a discussion paper is being prepared to address regulated online gambling.

The list of states that could regulate online gambling in the near future seems to be growing every week; but whereas it may take years for states such as [geolink href=””]Pennsylvania[/geolink] and [geolink href=””]New York[/geolink] to actually do anything about it – and decades before the parties in [geolink href=””]California[/geolink] sort out their differences – the state of Massachusetts appears to be moving relatively swiftly towards regulation.

The recent expansion of brick & mortar casinos in the state has got politicians talking about online gambling – a discussion that has been accelerated by proposals to regulate Daily Fantasy Sports. Proposals to allow the Bay State´s new casinos to offer online gambling have [geolink href=””]also been introduced[/geolink] by State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr.

Although Tarr´s proposals – and a bill introduced last April by Senator Michael Rush – appeared to be going nowhere, the Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Stephen Crosby, told reporters last week that a discussion paper on the issue of regulated online gambling is being prepared by his office, and will be ready to present to the Legislature by mid-January.

“A Really Interesting Project”

Describing the discussion paper as a really interesting project, Crosby said it was being prepared not only in preparation for the regulation of Daily Fantasy Sports, but for all online, Internet-based electronic gaming technologies. The discussion paper is going to cover every type of online gambling, and the final draft should be ready just after Christmas.

Possibly tongue-in-cheek, Crosby added that neighboring states were likely watching closely at the progress made towards the [geolink href=””]regulation of online gambling in Massachusetts[/geolink]. Other jurisdictions that are wrestling with this issue are hoping to see if we can come up with something interesting and useful he said, and possibly extrapolatable to other venues.

Although the discussion paper does not have any particular goals attached to it, Crosby said that it could lead to legislators introducing an omnibus regulatory bill that would cover everything from Daily Fantasy Sports to online poker to online casino games.

If they could craft a bill which incorporated regulatory priorities [and] fundamental values … … … then they could give it to some agency to implement.

Support for Regulated Online Gambling in Massachusetts Growing

It has long been acknowledged that online gambling in Massachusetts is alive and well. When discussions first started to move the Massachusetts lottery online, the Senate was told the issue was not whether online lottery ticket sales should be allowed, but how it was going to be allowed to protect state revenues from the competition of other online gambling avenues.

The proposals to expand of brick and mortar casinos in Massachusetts were passed because of fears that casinos in neighboring states would dominate the market, and supporters of regulated online gambling are using pretty much the same argument to push for legislation – if Pennsylvania, New York Delaware and New Jersey are all going to benefit financially from regulated online gambling, why shouldn´t we?

Senator Bruce Tarr also believes that the regulation of online gambling in Massachusetts would also help the state´s new casinos get on their feet. We don´t want them to be undermined by other state´s that allow it he said. Hopefully the discussion paper being prepared by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will further accelerate the discussion, and Massachusetts could leap-frog its neighbors to become the next state to regulate online gambling.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett