Massachusetts Considering Omnibus Approach to iGambling

by Jim Hall

Online gambling is being discussed in the state of Massachusetts with an omnibus approach, something that many do not understand.

Many states across the US are considering online gambling legislation. Each state has looked at New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware to see what they might could do to be successful in creating legislation as well as regulations. On estate that is looking at online gambling is Massachusetts. In this state, the subject of an omnibus approach has been discussed but many individuals are not sure what this means exactly.

Omnibus Approach to Online Gambling

Stephen Crosby, Director - Massachusetts Gaming CommissionStephen Crosby is the Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission who is a strong supporter of online gambling, with the omnibus approach. The way this would work would be for the state to legalize most forms of gambling and create a set of comprehensive regulations that would cover all products that are included in the industry.

This type of approach has even been applauded by regulators in other states. David Rebuck is the Director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement in New Jersey who stated that the approach is a good step for regulators to look at.

Understanding this Approach

The approach is not as simple as it may seem. It does not just mean legalizing several forms of online gambling in the same go. Crosby’s model would create a fundamental change in how the state deals with new products that come about in a legislative and regulatory way. The goal is to be able to create a broader definition of what gambling actually is. Then, framework is created for regulations that can be adapted as products are created now and in the future. Wiggle room would be needed to ensure that regulations can be tailored for each product need.

With this type of approach, the number of contests and games that would be able to fit under the gambling category would be increased. Regulators would be able to quickly deal with new products that fit into this category in a timely manner. According to Crosby, there are three main principles to this approach.

Crosby explained his theory during the recent Global Gaming Expo 2016. The main principles include not prohibit something that people want to do, the need for gaming regulations to be flexible as the industry changes at a rapid pace and creating a clearer definition of gambling.

Benefits of this Approach

There seem to be many benefits to this approach to online gaming. First, regulators would have the option to deal with new products as they are created. This would eliminate the need for the product to be discussed in legislature and a long drawn out process before implementation. Basically, the only need would be to have the game determined if it is legal or not.

The regulatory base model for the approach would be to know the customer and have geolocation checks, have financial regulations in place with player funds in a separate account, plus procedures in place for anti-money laundering. Policies for game integrity would also be included. This approach will also end the age-old debate involving what is and is not gambling. Crosby stated in the past that lets just call it all gambling and be done with it.

For now, this is all discussion. The state has not made any move to pass legislation though Crosby is trying hard to see online gambling come to fruition. We shall continue to watch the state and see if this approach is taken and how well it does in the US. It would be interesting to see the omnibus approach in action and how it works to see if this might be the way that online gambling needs to be handled in the future on a state by state basis.