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MA Introduces Online Gambling Amendment

12 September 2011 by admin

massachusetts-location-mapAs lawmakers continue to negotiate for a bill that would expand the land-based gambling in the state of Massachusetts, a new wrinkle has been added to the debate. On Friday, Representative Daniel Winslow introduced an amendment to the casino bill that would allow online poker in the state. Prior to the amendment by the Norfolk Republican, little thought had been given to the possibility of Massachusetts joining the states pushing for intrastate regulation.

Representative Winslow’s amendment would create five new gambling licenses, each of which would be awarded to Internet poker firms to operate in the state. To keep the games safe and secure, a new regulatory framework would have to be implemented to oversee online poker as well. According to Winslow, regulating online poker and bringing five Internet poker companies to the state would create a new high tech job industry in Massachusetts as well as bring in additional gambling revenue.

Winslow’s online poker amendment will be one of several amendments debated next week in the Massachusetts House. The House is scheduled to debate the gambling bill that would create licenses for up to three casinos and one slot parlor. The current bill, without the amendments, was reached due to lengthy negotiations between House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray and Governor Deval Patrick.

Last year the Massachusetts legislature sent a bill to Patrick calling for three casinos and two slot parlors. Patrick rejected the bill, saying he opposed the slot parlors and called them no-bid contracts. This year he has compromised and will allow one slot parlor if there is competitive bidding for the contract.

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