Plans for casino expansion in the state of Massachusetts are well under way. Along with those plans, consideration is being given to legalizing online gambling. Bruce Tarr, the state Senate Minority Leader has been lobbying the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to grant internet gaming licenses to the states’ two planned new casinos, Wynn Everett and MGM Springfield. The option to offering online wagering with its additional revenue stream, is thought to be paramount in getting the new casinos off to a good financial start. Without it, it is feared that other states with legalized online gaming, especially the nearby states of Delaware and New Jersey, will undermine the new casinos potential success. This proposal does not allow for new casino licenses other than those that have already been approved. It was thought that this would be a great opportunity to provide sanctioning for fantasy sports, but such a provision has not been addressed in the new proposal.
The construction of three new regional casinos and a slot parlor will take place over the next four years. The new $1.7 billion Wynn Everett Casino will be 24 stories and located on the Everett waterfront. The price tag for the new MGM Resorts and Casino has already increased from $800 million to $950 million before construction gas even started. MGM Resorts is also currently involved in a campaign to challenge the legality of Connecticut legislation that could potentially the success of their new casino. The state has hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to assist. The Connecticut legislation has granted exclusive rights to two Indian tribes – the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan – to open a casino near the Massachusetts border. Meanwhile, Connecticut doesn’t think that there’s anything Massachusetts can do about it and are expected to award a construction contract by December 15 for the new casino. They are currently considering bids from East Windsor, East Hartford, Windsor Lock and Hartford.
Supports of Senator Bruce Tarrs’ proposal for online gambling feel it would be an excellent way to attract more players. But others feel that the option for internet gaming would diminish the new land based casinos chances for success by taking away potential players. The coming year of 2016 could see big changes for the online gambling marketplace in the United States –especially if Massachusetts and other states currently contemplating legalization do vote to legalize internet gambling.