New Online Gambling Pilot in MA


08/03/2011
By Debra SaundersGoogle

Massachusetts is currently working on the introduction of a regulated online gambling pilot for the state.  Proposed by state senator Michael Rush this past January, the bill was more recently brought into the chambers of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.  The Massachusetts state lottery is expected to receive authorization to conduct a two year pilot of the online gambling project.

 

Supporters of the proposal say that yearly profit from the project for the state of Massachusetts could provide approximately $1 billion for the state coffers.  The state senator went on to say that he’d rather see Massachusetts residents gambling via the state lottery and not shipping off money to offshore operators.  The prepaid account system proposed in the bill could go a long way for proper supervision, age verification, and problem gambling prevention – three major concerns for anti-gambling activists.  The lottery commission is expected to provide an interim report after eighteen months of the pilot, as well as a full report upon its completion. 

 

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

 

Massachusetts’ state treasurer, Steve Grossman, did not hide his reservations regarding the collection of payments from U.S. bank accounts and credit cards in light of the UIGEA.  However, Massachusetts state lottery officials pointed out that there are already five U.S. states that employ such a practice with online lottery sales.  With Washington leaning towards gambling legalization, Grossman expects Massachusetts to push the bill through in spite of his misgivings.

 


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