- An amendment was attached to the fiscal year 2014 budget that would legalize online poker in the state.
- All operators, payment processors, and software providers would have to be located in Massachusetts.
- The bill contains a bad actor clause that would prohibit any company that accepted money from U.S. players in violation of federal or state law after October 13, 2006, from obtaining a license.
- The Massachusetts Gaming Commission could allow for interstate online gaming compacts.
Last week, an amendment sponsored by eighteen members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives was attached to the fiscal year 2014 budget that would legalize online poker in the state.
The bill would authorize only online poker in the state; no casino games would be authorized. Players would be required to be at least 21 years old and licensees would be required to verify both the age and location of the player.
All operators, payment processors, and software providers would have to be located in Massachusetts. Companies would be required to pay a $10 million licensing fee, which would be credited toward the taxes the company must pay over the first two years of operation. No more than three online poker operator licenses would be issued.
In February, a bill was introduced in the Massachusetts Senate that would allow for online casino games to be offered. Massachusetts legalized brick and mortar casinos in 2011 and the regulations for licensing casinos are scheduled to be finalized in June. The brick and mortar casinos are not expected to be in operation until 2016, leaving open the possibility that online poker rooms could be operational before the casinos open.
The bill contains a bad actor clause that would prohibit any company that accepted money from U.S. players in violation of federal or state law after October 13, 2006, would be prohibited from obtaining a license.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission could allow for operations outside the state if it chooses to, which could allow for the possibility of Massachusetts participating in interstate online gaming compacts.
Massachusetts is among eleven states currently considering online gaming legislation. In February, New Jersey became the third state to legalize online gaming and regulations are expected to be released shortly. Delaware and Nevada have already legalized online gaming.
We are happy to see Massachusetts consider online gaming. This bill has the potential to provide an enormous boost to the state economy and creating a significant number of jobs in the state, as well as provide gamers a place to play online again.