Online gambling legislation seems to be highly unlikely to be passed in the state of Massachusetts in 2017. Over the current legislative session, Massachusetts was one of the states that were most eager add iGaming to the legal gambling operations allowed there.
Unfortunately, according to Stan Rosenberg, President of the Massachusetts Senate, at this stage it is highly unlikely for the state to make online gambling legal. As Casino Guardian has already reported, it looks like that online lottery will face the same fate and wait until the next legislative session.
In a recent interview, Rosenberg shared that both online lottery and online gaming were issues that were approached very carefully in order for the lottery not to get hurt. He also explained that the state was not ready to regulate online gambling yet, as the online legislation should have been carefully passed in order not to hurt the casino industry.
So, it seems that 2017 will not be the year when the state of Massachusetts will finally see iGaming legal. According to Rosenberg, the main reason for the delay of online gambling legislation implementation was the fact that Massachusetts lawmakers were not sure how to do that without causing some harm to the land-based operators within the state. However, he encouraged the supporters of online gambling in Massachusetts, saying that the state could potentially act in 2018 and finally make iGaming legal in the state.
At the beginning of 2017, the Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr once again brought live a piece of legislation that would make online gambling legal in Massachusetts. He made his most recent attempt over the 2015/2016 session of the Senate with the S241 bill, which was also turned down.
The newest online gambling bill SD.618 seeks to make iGaming legal in the state, but it does not provide any details related to operators’ licensing procedures, taxation and online gambling regulations.
The fact that online gambling would probably be rejected for another year, made the supporters of the legislation unhappy. The State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who was one of the main proponents of the legislation called the eventual failure of the online gambling legislation simply a lost opportunity, as another year or two of revenue would be missed.
It is important to say, that online gambling legislation supporters do not take online gambling as a replacement for retail casino venues, but for a new source of revenue for the state. Still, not all is lost yet. Despite the fact that the comments made by Massachusetts Senate President Rosenberg do not leave much hope on the matter, the Commission on Online Gambling, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports is set to present its official position and recommendations on the online gambling legislation by July 31st, which would be a bit too late for the local legislature to act on the matter in 2017.