Massachusetts Says No to Online Gambling

By Maria McCoyGoogle

Last year, Representative Dan Winslow added an online gambling amendment to a bill originally drafted to license new “brick & mortar” casinos.  The bill actually was passed in the State House in September of 2010.  Though the online gambling part of the bill had been somewhat diluted during the preliminary discussions prior to the bill’s passing, it nonetheless gave hope to those Massachusetts residents interested in online gambling.  However, when the bill reached the State Senate, the entire online gambling addition was removed before the bill was passed.

This was not the end of the saga.  Due to the discrepancy between the two versions of the bill, a special six-person committee composed of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle was appointed to reconcile the difference.  Theoretically, at this stage of the process, either of the two versions could have become the final version, i.e. the House version including the online gambling articles could have been confirmed.  In a quick decision made right before the state assembly adjourned for the winter, the six-member committee chose the version without the online gambling section, thereby burying the online gambling articles.  The final version, that of the Senate lacking the online gambling licenses was then ratified by both the House and Senate.  All that remains is for Patrick Deval, the Massachusetts State Governor, to sign the bill into law.

The new land-based casinos are expected to bring about approximately 15,000 new jobs and create at least $300,000,000 in state tax revenue annually.  A unique clause in the bill forbids any official involved in the bill’s legislation from working at the casino until one year has passed from the time their term in office.

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