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Legalizing Online Gambling in Massachusetts May Save State LotteryPublished April 6, 2017 by Elana K
The steady decrease in Massachusetts State Lottery sales has prompted some state officials to become more vocal in their support for online gambling. Legalizing iGaming in the state, they reason, can breathe new life into the industry.
The steady decrease in Massachusetts State Lottery sales has prompted some state officials to become more vocal in their support for online gambling. Legalizing iGaming in the state, they reason, can breathe new life into the industry and help the state lottery reach a new audience.
But it’s not just decreasing lottery sales that's got lawmakers exploring this relatively new industry in the US; when Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) was legalized in Massachusetts last year, it sparked the creation of a specialized commission to study the different facets of online gambling, including consumer protection, taxes, and effects on the economy.
Not Just Yet
While supporters certainly believe that online gambling can be the solution to the state lottery, among other things, there is plenty of opposition as well, mainly two types.There are those who are fundamentally concerned, and who cite worries of underage gambling and fraud; then there are others who have a vested interest in keeping online gambling out of the state - land-based casinos.
Eric Schippers, senior vice president for public affairs for Penn National, owner of Plainridge Park Casino, stated, “We paid dearly [for our licenses]. And the limitation on the number of casinos was supposed to make us comfortable investing huge amounts of money. The state can’t now make a fundamental change in the deal we made.”
The facts, however, paint a different picture than Schippers' fears. In New Jersey and Nevada, two out of the three states that have legalized online gambling, online gambling has not cannibalized business from land-based casinos.
And as for those who fear that online gambling leaves consumers unprotected, the opposite is actually true. Regulated online casinos tend to have more rigorous anti-money laundering features than land-based casinos, and require thorough documentation before allowing anyone to withdraw funds.
Answers Will Come in the Summer
The commission that is looking into online gambling is supposed to make its recommendation, either for or against, by July 31, 2017. We will have to wait until then to find out whether Massachusetts will forge ahead, or sit back idly with the majority of the states.