Massachusetts To Consider Online Gambling In 2017
Many Forms Of Internet Betting To Be Studied This Year
In an effort to keep its gambling industry competitive, the state of Massachusetts will consider legalizing online lottery gaming in 2017. Currently about a fourth of the more than 40 states with the lottery have online services.
According to a report from the Sun Chronicle, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has indicated that she will soon introduce legislation to help shore up the state’s nearly $1 billion lottery market.
Her efforts would be separate from the state’s active study of online casinos. The Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming and Daily Fantasy Sports has until August to make a recommendation to the legislature on what to do about web slots and table games.
Some of those games have an impact on the lottery, according to Goldberg.
“Between the impending arrival of [Massachusetts] casinos, increasing competition from daily fantasy sports, the overall shift to online versus point-of-sale transactions, and our aging lottery demographic, we have no choice but to pursue new solutions,” she said in testimony at a legislative hearing last month, according to the Sun Chronicle.
According to Goldberg, the state leads the nation in Keno sales, but the market for those games is “virtually saturated” and the state is “preparing for a period of stagnation.”
State’s only casino puts breaks on idea
With two Las Vegas-style casinos currently under construction, the Bay State’s only gambling facility open right now is Plainridge Park Casino, which only has slots.
The casino, which opened in June 2015, reportedly doesn’t think the state should be that aggressive with proposals for online betting, including lottery services, because the Massachusetts brick-and-mortar casino industry is still in its infancy.
“It’s very important for the legislature to be rigorous in its evaluation of any policy change that affects job and revenue creation in industries that operate brick-and-mortar facilities and even more so when those industries are new to the commonwealth,” said Lance George, the casino’s General Manager.
Plainridge Park scored a victory in November when state voters rejected a plan for a second slots casino. That referendum was just five years after the state legalized Las Vegas-style gambling.
Status of Wynn and MGM projects
In early August, full construction of the $2.1 billion Wynn Boston Harbor resort officially started in Everett, Massachusetts, just 5 miles from Downtown Boston. The structure of the casino reportedly is starting to take shape. The property will have a 90-table poker room, which will be one of the largest in the country.
The $1 billion MGM Springfield project, which experienced delays like the Wynn project did, reportedly is now ahead of schedule and should open by fall 2018.
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