Massachusetts Takes a Closer Look at Intrastate Gambling

September 22, 2011

Earlier this month, Rep. Dan Winslow from Massachusetts introduced an amendment to the online gambling bill. He has been advocating that other senators consider making an exception for legal online poker. Other lawmakers seem to be considering his arguments.

The federal government has advised states to refrain from considering regulating online poker. Despite their objections, Massachusetts lawmakers have their own opinions. The Massachusetts House has approved Winslow’s bill. Under this agreement, a state gambling commission will have until the end of July to issue five licenses.

When Winslow first introduced his bill, there was some skepticism that it would make it through the House. Many people didn’t believe it would get this far. However, the legalization of online poker will still be a long time coming. That is, assuming it happens at all.

The bill is headed to the Senate next. The Senate intends to vote on the bill on September 26. Even though the bill made it through the House in a vote of 123-32, there is no guarantee it will survive in the Senate.

In order for poker to be legalized, the bill would have to have the same provisions in both houses in Congress. At the moment, it is a half-page footnote in the online gambling bill. This leads many to speculate that the state isn’t in any rush to regulate the industry.

The fact the bill made it through the House is a big deal. However, it is a long way from ensuring the bill will be made into law.

Meanwhile, Winslow and his comrades continue to push to get the bill through. They hope the Senate will concur with their position. They feel introducing online poker into the state will be good for Massachusetts, as it will bring additional revenue into the state.

Charles Nesson is a professor of law at Harvard. He can’t understand why the United States Department of Justice won’t legalize online poker, but hopes it is passed in Massachusetts. He says it would create a multibillion dollar high tech industry.

Nesson takes his argument a little further than Winslow. He says poker is educational and teaches strategic thinking. He feels Massachusetts is a state that honors education and would benefit from regulating poker in many different ways.

Massachusetts is still a ways away from legalizing online poker. The house vote at least brings them one step closer to a decision that may have a profound effect on the future of online poker in Massachusetts and the rest of the country.

Privacy Policy