Massachusetts to Focus on Several Gaming Areas in 2017

by Jim Hall

MassachusettsThe state of Massachusetts to focus on several areas of gaming in regards to legislation beginning in 2017, including the lottery, casino and poker.

Several states in the US showed interest in online gaming this year, in regards to several areas such as casino and poker gaming. The year is about to come to a close and no state has passed legislation as of yet. It seems it may take until next year for any movement to be made in the industry as far as passing legislation is concerned. One state that seems to be at the forefront is Massachusetts, a state that is preparing to look at the lottery, daily fantasy sports gaming, casino and poker options next year.

Covering it All

The state of Massachusetts already legalized daily fantasy sports in 2016 but the regulation that were put in place are not permanent. The legislation will last for a two year time frame until permanent regulations can be created. Deb Goldberg already created an online lottery bill that was introduced this year within state legislature and a similar bill was able to move through the Senate during the summer months but was unable to progress any further.

A special panel also met this year to discuss online gaming and the gaming industry as a whole. The group met just a few weeks ago for the very first time to begin a study of daily fantasy sports as well as online gambling including casino and poker gaming. With all of this progression, it seems the state will be ready to move forward when 2017 begins.

Lottery Leads the Way

The online lottery push is leading the way in regards to online gambling for the state. Jennifer Flanagan, a State Senator, introduced a bill earlier this year that would allow online lottery ticket sales. The bill was passed by the Senate but the House did not decide to move the bill forward. The 2016 session has now ended and the lottery will not be able to sell tickets online, at least not yet. However, a bill for 2017 has already been drafted and filed, ready to be discussed.

Online Poker and Casino Gaming

The subject of poker and casino gaming should be on the table for 2017 as daily fantasy sports has progressed this year. The legislation that passed in the summer on DFS included a study of this industry along with other areas of online gambling. The panel has been created to complete the study and have already met for their first hearing. The legislation included the creation of the panel to help create positive legislation for DFS and possibly consider casino and poker gaming.

The panel has until the 31st of July to provide their recommendations for legislation which could see a bill passed by next year. It is a narrow window but it can be done if legislators listen to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and the regulations are left up to them.

Daily Fantasy Sports Industry

As far as daily fantasy sports are concerned, we know that legislation will be created as soon as possible. Talk has been discussed of pushing for omnibus legislation in the state to allow for all online gambling options to be regulated in one place. This would include casino, poker, daily fantasy sports and lottery, all in one bill.

For now, the state of Massachusetts is setting themselves up to be the next to legalize some form of online gaming. It will be interesting to watch as 2017 begins and how the state plans on integrating legislation and which options are allowed, will it be all or just select gaming provided for those in the state?