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Massachusets Congressman Seeks to Criminalize Gambling at Online Casinos

5 April 2010 by Devon Chappell

Just when you thought there couldn’t be more drama and underhanded politics in the U.S. online gambling scene, Massachusetts steps up to the plate once again. Reminiscent of the betrayal of Senator Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, Massachusetts citizens could soon find themselves in a position of making another doe-doe brain political decision.

Actually, the decision would be more in the hands of Massachusetts elected officials. Unlike the election of Ted Kennedy’s replacement, the latest issue at hand involves the passing of a newly released bill calling for the illegalization of online casino gambling. What makes the issue even “hotter”, so to speak, is the fact that Speaker Robert DeLeo is attempting to fast track the bill, in effect, glossing over more controversial terms related to online gambling.

The bill primarily seeks to license two brick ‘n mortar casinos and give horseracing tracks the right to offer casino-style slot machines. However, on page 123 of the bill, there is a small, little provision calling for the imprisonment (up to two years) and/or a $25,000 fine for anyone who “knowingly transmits or receives a wager of any type by any telecommunication device, including cellular phone, internet….”.

So yes, Congressman Robert DeLeo is attempting to not only make it illegal to gamble at online casinos, he is attempting to make it possible to punish those that choose to gamble online rather than wager at the land-based casinos he is working on behalf of. Really folks, this is hypocrisy and protectionism at its finest.

The good news is that the bill doesn’t necessarily stand a great chance at being passed. Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick, unsuccessfully attempted to create three new brick ‘n mortar casinos while outlawing online gambling just a couple of years ago. Now, Patrick thinks that DeLeo’s bill should receive a proper public hearing and debate, while DeLeo is of the mindset that the bill should go forward without a vote.

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