The legalisation of online gambling in Massachusetts should be put on hold until the state’s land casino licensing process has been completed, the chair of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Stephen Crosby, suggested at a meeting of the body Tuesday to discuss the impact of internet gambling on other gambling activities being considered.
Despite practical experiences in New Jersey and other states where online gambling has been legalised, there are concerns in Massachusetts that introducing internet gambling may impact the state lottery and plans for land casino licensing.
Commissioners awarded the state’s first expanded gambling licence last month to Penn National Gaming, which plans to build a slots parlour at the Plainridge racetrack in Plainville, the Associated Press news agency reports.
Licensees for resort casinos in greater Boston and western Massachusetts are expected to be named later this year.
Crosby noted that land casino companies will be investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Massachusetts, ‘‘…and it’s only appropriate that they be at the table when we figure out what do with Internet gaming,’’ he said.
New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, currently allow some form of online gambling, and at least 10 other states are considering bills.
Referring to the Massachusetts’s present and potential income from the state lottery and land gambling developments, State Senate Majority Leader Stanley Rosenberg, said lawmakers must be careful not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg by introducing internet gambling.
Tuesday’s agenda for the Commission included a demonstration of Internet games and the association with social gaming; technology to prevent under-age and problem gambling and money laundering; ID verification and geolocation; and the experiences of legalised internet gambling states.
State officials and lawmakers appear divided on the issue of online gambling legalisation, but seem prepared to listen to arguments for and against the subject (see previous reports).