Seeks Tough Online Gambling Penalties
by Mira Patel, News Staff Writer
November 14, 2007
you imagine going to jail for two years for the “crime”
of enjoying a bit of internet casino play? Apparently,
legislators in the American state of Massachusetts can.
Major national newspaper The Boston Globe reported a few
days ago that lawmakers in The Bay State are so
disturbed by the concept of online casinos and online
gambling that they have put forth an effort to punish
“offenders” severely – and the state Governor, Deval
Patrick, supports the measure. Licensed land-based
gambling is legal in Massachusetts, and, ironically
enough, the same bill that would make online casino
gambling a jailable offense also contains approval for
the construction of three new land casinos in the state.
Obviously, the owners and operators of some of the
biggest online casinos around are up in arms about
Massachusetts’ hypocrisy. Gambling expert David G.
Schwartz, who holds the title of director of the Center
for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las
Vegas, told a Globe reporter that it was fairly obvious
that lawmakers were trying to arrange a monopoly for
“their” casinos, off which the government draws sizeable
tax revenues. Online gambling at internet casinos yield
the state nothing, so it’s not exactly “cynical” (as
Schwartz sarcastically termed it) to get to the
conclusion that money was really at the root of the
legislators’ move against online casinos.
Of course, legislators –and online gambling foes in
general- will say that online casinos jeopardize
players’ finances and personal lives with their
unchecked access to gaming and potential for losing
money. No-one seems to have an answer for the quandary
of how internet casino play makes this problem any worse
than land-casino play, however.