Positive Outcome with MA Gaming Commission Meeting

by Jim Hall

The Massachusetts Special Commission on Online Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports met last week and continued discussions on DFS and iGaming.

Several states in the US are focusing their efforts on not only online gambling legislation but also daily fantasy sports. One such state includes Massachusetts, a state the rose up last year as a contender to be the next to legalize and regulate online gambling in the states. While other states like California and Pennsylvania seemed to lag behind in their efforts, Massachusetts was busy creating committees and working towards a common goal of legalization and regulation.

Meeting Last Week

Massachusetts Gaming CommissionTo learn more about the gambling industry as well as daily fantasy sports, the Massachusetts Special Commission on Online Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports was formed. The commission came together last week to continue discussions on how online gambling and daily fantasy sports should be regulated in the state. The group is set to meet again on the 28th of this month.

During the meeting, Chairman Stephen Crosby spoke about what path the state needs to take in order to be successful. Crosby feels that an omnibus approach will be best, to legalize as well as regulate all forms of iGaming. The Chairman feels that with legal clarity, investments would be made in the state and new companies would be attracted to do business in the area.

Speaking to the panelists, Crosby stated that if a stable legal environment is in place, where the law is clear and the parameters are clear as well as the rules of the road, people will come to the state to develop new games, creating a modest but real economic engine.

Casinos Coming Around

When it comes to online gaming, many times the opponents will be the land based casinos of the state. Land based operators feel that online gaming will take away from their earnings and harm the already evolved industry. In Massachusetts, operators of casinos in the state were present during the meeting and seem to be on board with online gaming plans.

Representatives attended the meeting from MGM, Wynn and Penn National, with comments made to show support or at least being open to the idea of legalizing online gaming, if it were done via the licensed casinos. As is done in other states such as New Jersey and Nevada, the land based casinos obtain licensing to operate online and work with platform providers to create a website and offer gaming options.

Reportedly, Penn National told the panel that they feel online gaming would create an incremental benefit to their company as well as the commonwealth and help them to compete with neighboring jurisdictions. MGM Springfield was also on board with general counsel and Vice President of the casino, Seth Stratton, stating that MGM already operates successful sites in New Jersey as well as Nevada.

Wynn seemed to be a little bit more reserved but still willing to discuss the matter. A representative for the company, Jacqui Krum, stated that Wynn will continue to follow the development and implementation of online gaming to be able to determine if it will adapt to the point at which they can participate.

With the casinos seemingly in alignment with the gaming option, another group has showed support. The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling has been critical of online gaming for the state but has had a change of heart. Marlene Warner is the Executive Director for the group, who stated that the council is in favor of the Omnibus approach that Crosby has been pushing as it would allow lawmakers as well as advocates to keep track of the industry guidelines as a whole.

For now, discussions continue and it will be interesting to see what happens next as discussions continue.