Massachusetts Online Gambling Legislation in 2017

by Kyle Miller

Massachusetts Online Gambling LegislationMassachusetts is moving to the forefront as the next state to legalize online gambling, possibly by 2017.

Across the United States, individual states are making the decision to consider online gambling legislation. Currently, only Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey offer some form of online casino and/or poker gaming. Other states are watching as these three are successful and proposing legislation of their own to offer gambling regulation for categories such as poker, casino and daily fantasy sports wagering.

There are many states that have been active in pursuing online gambling including Pennsylvania, New York and California. Each of these states have either had proposals introduced into legislation or are working on legislation. Massachusetts has also been considering online gambling legislation and is now becoming the state to watch in 2017. It seems that efforts by the state have been ramping up as of late as a new commission has met to discuss the industry and changes may be in play for next year.

What’s Going On?

Earlier this year, the state of Massachusetts was able to formally provide legalization of daily fantasy sports based on an economic development law. That same law created the Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports. The group will work together to study several areas of gaming and met just recently.

The goal of the commission is to focus on DFS as well as online gaming. However, daily fantasy sports is more of a concern and the main goal of the group. Representative Joseph Wagner recently spoke out on the matter with the State House News Service and stated the following:

Joseph Wagner Statement

Despite the focus on daily fantasy sports, online gaming will still be considered.

A Little History and What Will Happen Next

The state of Massachusetts has considered online gambling for some time. Back in 2013, the state saw lawmakers try to add online poker to the budget but were unsuccessful. The next year, an online gambling forum was hosted by lawmakers. Throughout this year, the Gaming Commission has studied the subject of gambling and suggested that the state move forward with an omnibus approach that would regulate all forms of online gaming which would include DFS.

Now, the lawmakers of the state must wait until the new commission is finished with their study and provide a report of their findings, along with suggestions as to what should be done in regards to online gaming. The commission will meet regularly and has until July to produce their findings. It seems that the commission is set on discussing all aspects of online gaming and based on the officials who are involved, the industry is being taken very seriously.

If the commission is able to come to an agreement in their findings and can make suggestions by July, there is a possibility that legislation could be proposed and passed next year. However, this is purely speculation and many steps would be involved before a bill legalizing online gaming or DFS could move forward and become law.

However, the DFS law that is in place will remain in effect until summer of 2018. This means that lawmakers are not hard-pressed to make a decision quickly on the aspect of DFS or even online gaming. However, if the state wants to stay in competition with their neighbors, they will consider passing legislation in favor of such activity.