10 years ago you couldn’t even get a tattoo in Massachusetts (you had to cross our northern border into New Hampshire or our southern border into Rhode Island to get ink) and the idea of a casino or online gaming in the state was something of a pipe-dream.
Well, fast forward to 2013, and along with the tattoo parlors that now dot every Main Street in the commonwealth we are also gearing up for the licensing of three resort-style casinos thanks to a bill passed in 2012, and now there is serious talk of Massachusetts joining the handful of states as early adopters of online poker –we still have to go to New Hampshire to buy fireworks though.
With proposals for one of the three Brick & Mortar casino licenses already submitted to the state, lawmakers in Massachusetts are now turning their eye toward online poker –which did warrant a mention in the original bill from 2011 that expanded gaming in the state. Along with the lawmakers pushing for online poker on Beacon Hill the State Treasurer Steve Grossman (D) has long been an advocate of online gaming in Massachusetts.
Grossman has been an adamant proponent of federal online gaming, saying that it would take money from the states. Late last year Grossman penned a scathing letter to Congress saying he “objects in the strongest possible terms” the proposed Reid/Kyl bill which ultimately failed in the halls of the Senate.
The first bill to expand Massachusetts online gaming presence was introduced by State Senator Jennifer Flanagan (D-Worcester), and simply seeks to add Massachusetts to the growing list of states of states offering online lottery sales – the bill, SB101, would also allow Massachusetts to partner with other states to offer an inter-state online lottery.
The bill that everyone is talking about however is S197, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-First Essex and Middlesex), which would legalize and regulate online gaming in Massachusetts, with the exception of online slots machines.
Under the bill the newly formed Massachusetts Gaming Commission would be able to grant online gaming licenses to applicants who met a certain criteria –although no specifics have been addressed at this point. The bill would also allow Massachusetts to partner with other states and offer inter-state online poker.
Should Tarr’s bill pass Massachusetts could be among the very first states to offer online poker; a mind-boggling notion to most residents considering the state’s anti-gaming past.
For all the talk of Massachusetts liberalness many people forget the Puritan roots of Massachusetts, although with tattoo parlors and now casinos being built within its borders, maybe online poker is in the cards for Massachusetts.
Here is a look at Senate Bill 101 http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/188/Senate/S101
Here is a look at Senate Bill 197 http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/188/Senate/S197