One of the most talked about casino gambling issues in the U.S. is taking place in Massachusetts. And while the main topic of interest has primarily revolved around the outspoken Governor Deval Patrick and his aggressive pursuit to bring brick 'n mortar casinos to Massachusetts, the tides have now turned to wash up issues of online gambling.
Apparently, the bill that would bring casinos to Massachusetts also seeks to keep out online casinos and ban internet betting within State borders. And now that Governor Patrick's proposal is on the floor for debate, the little, tucked away clause about online gambling has caught the attention of those interested parties keeping up with Massachusetts unfolding gambling story.
One such interested party has been the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS), who upon hearing about the clause to ban online gambling, teamed up with the powerful Poker Players Alliance and the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA). When debate regarding Governor Patrick's proposal began this last week, the triumvirate of online gambling groups resulted in a protest rally staged outside the doors of Massachusetts legislature's offices.
Founder of GPSTS and Harvard Law Professor, Charles Nesson, was the primary force behind the rally and openly addressed the crowd gathering outside the steps of Massachusetts State House. Nesson proclaimed that the bill seeks to make online poker a crime in light of bringing land-based casino gambling interests into Massachusetts. Shockingly, the provisions in the bill call for jail sentences up to two years and large fines for anyone caught playing online poker.
But when asked who is responsible for inserting this little 'ol clause in the bill, nobody seems to know. Representatives for Governor Patrick say it wasn't he who drafted the clause, while Las Vegas casino interests say they had nothing to do with it either. But after digging a little bit deeper, Nesson was able to find that the Las Vegas Sands Corporation has had a hand in creating the bill. That's interesting to say the least. It seems that even in the Bay State, corporate interests and the same old "politics as usual" has a grip on the governing elect.