Massachusetts to Green-Light Online Gambling

08/15/2011
By Pamela PattersonGoogle

 

The state of Massachusetts is currently contemplating the introduction of limited regulated online gambling within state limits.  State senator Michael Rush proposed the bill in January.  Recently, the bill was brought before the state Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.  As a result of the bill, the Massachusetts Lottery Commission will be authorized to conduct a 2-year pilot of the online gambling program.

 

Proponents of the bill claim that the annual revenue of the program for the state of Massachusetts could reach one billion dollars annually.  Senator Rush further stated that it is preferable to have Bay Staters gambling through the local lottery system than via offshore casinos.  A prepaid account system is suggested in the bill; it would allow supervision, age verification, and help prevent problem gambling.  During the pilot program, the state lottery is expected to research various avenues for providing the gambling service.  After 18 months of the two-year pilot, an interim report is supposed to be handed over to the state government.

 

Rush’s chief of staff, John Regan, said, “Massachusetts has always been at the forefront of innovation in state lottery gaming […] this is a new, interactive way of playing the lottery through new online games of chance.”

 

Steve Grossman, the Massachusetts state treasurer, had expresses reservations about the ability to collect payment from U.S. banks via credit card in light of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.  Massachusetts state lottery officials disputed the claim claiming that five states already employ online sale of lottery tickets.  Grossman further stated that despite his concerns, since he sees Washington moving towards gambling legalization, he is sure that Massachusetts will push the bill forward in order to stay ahead of the game.

 

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