Massachusetts Lawmakers Seek Economy Boost via Online Gambling
Once more, the legislative council of a US state is looking to online gambling to solve its current budget crisis. We’ve already seen Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey pass statutes to legalize online gambling in some form or another, while other states like California and even Illinois continue to struggle through the literature to get similar laws passed. Now it seems that lawmakers in Massachusetts are training their vision in that same direction.
Massachusetts officials have devised several new proposals in an effort to boost the state’s economy. An amendment to these proposals has been conceived by a four-member group of the Senate GOP. It is clear that online gambling would create an enormous increase in the state’s revenue, based upon the guidelines of the amendment, but getting it passed into law will be much easier said than done.
According to the proposal, which wouldn’t be enacted until next year at the earliest, any fully licensed gambling facility located in Massachusetts would be permitted to apply for an online gaming license. All approved facilities would be required to post a start-up fee of $300,000 for their first year of internet operation, with an annual renewal fee of at least $150,000 for each subsequent year of licensing. The taxation of online gambling would be set at 20%. The state could easily generate millions in tax dollars in the first year alone, with exponential growth in the coming years.
The problem is that Massachusetts has long been opposed to the expansion all forms of gambling operations, not just online, just even the brick-and-mortar variety. State officials have expressed time and again their fear that casino gambling of any type would only serve to disrupt its immensely lucrative State Lottery. With that in mind, the new amendment incorporated terms that would disallow gambling licensees from offering any amusements that may adversely affect lottery sales.
Other guidelines of the online gambling amendment in Massachusetts mirror those of former states that already legalized the activity. Like Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, the proposed statutes would allow only residents within the state of Massachusetts to participate in the games. Eligible residents would have to be at least 21 years of age.
At present, there are a lot more opponents to the activation of an online gambling regime in The Bay State than there are proponents. Advocates of the new legislation will have a difficult time convincing their adversaries that a legal framework for internet gambling would be more of a benefit to the state than a hindrance. One way or another, the economy is going to need a strong boost, and the introduction of online gaming revenue would indubitably get the job done.
The only active internet gaming site to be launched in the United States at present is Ultimate Poker, based in Nevada and operated by the Station Casinos group in association with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). After just two weeks of operation, Ultimate Poker had already dealt its one-millionth hand. Both Delaware and New Jersey are looking to launch their first online gambling sites in the very near future.