Massachusetts Senator Introduces iGaming Bill

by Jim Hall

MassachusettsMassachusetts joins growing list of states who are interested in online gaming in the US.

In the United States, there have been a growing movement in regards to individual states showing interest in the online gaming industry. Since 2013, states have been able to pass legislation to offer online gaming including casino and poker games. Delaware was the first to do so, with casino and poker options followed by Nevada who focused solely on poker. New Jersey would soon follow and while other states have shown interest since that time, none have been able to pass legislation.

Massachusetts Shows Up

One of the states to join the list of the interested is Massachusetts. Beginning last year, the state was looking in to many different areas of gaming including online as well as daily sports betting. Now one lawmaker has introduced new legislation that will allow for iGaming to take place legally in the state.

Senator Bruce Tarr recently introduced Bill SD 618. The measure is a shell proposal but one that would allow casinos in the state that have licensing to be able to conduct the same operations online. The only stipulation is that the state would be allowed to offer table games and poker instead of slot gaming.

There is currently only one gaming venue in operation in the state, that of Penn National Gaming. The slots parlor will be joined in the future by gaming venues currently under construction by Wynn and MGM. These gaming venues will have licensing in place which will help them to offer online options based on the law.

In the Works

The state has been working on several gaming expansions for some time now. Also on the table is the possibility that lottery games will be brought online. However this would be configured in a different bill. To try and figure out how to proceed in all areas of gambling, the state decided to create the Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports in 2016 to conduct a study.

The findings of the commission are not to be turned in until the summer months so progress this year for the state in regards to gaming may be slow or nonexistent. It may be that lawmakers continue to discuss the issues but never institute any laws on the matter.

Stephen Crosby is the Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission who is part of the online panel who stated that he is in support of an omnibus regulatory bill that will cover online poker as well as daily fantasy sports. An omnibus bill would take on all aspects of gaming and help to see several areas included and expanded upon.

If the state were able to move forward with legislation for online gaming it would possibly be the fastest track for any state. Massachusetts just passed legislation a few years ago to be able to provide casino gaming to those living or visiting the state.

Other States Making Moves

The list of states interested in online gaming continues to grow. 2017 is only in its first month and legislation has already been proposed in several states including Hawaii and Illinois. It seems more lawmakers are seeing the fact that casino gaming can help to boost budgets and bring about employment, both of which are needed.

As the year has only just begun, it will be fun to sit back and see which states progress and who joins the list as potential newcomers to the online gaming industry. This could be the year we see a big turnaround and several states move forward to join the industry.