New Senate Bill Will Permit Massachusetts Casinos to Get into Online Gambling

December 7, 2015 •

Very soon, Massachusetts casinos, which means currently, it’s sole operating casino, Plainridge Park Casino, could be able to expand their business into online gambling. This could only become possible under a new bill, that was filed by the Republican leader in the Senate.

The bill, filed by Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, would allow for only casinos licensed in the state to launch and engage in online gambling and gaming. The exact format has not been clarified, and if the bill passes, the form of the gambling that will be allowed shall be determined by the state’s offcial Gaming Comission.

So far in the United States, fourteen states already allow gambling online. This has caused much consternation among casino business operators, quickly contributing to feeling that Massachusetts casinos may get left behind in the legalization of online gambling in the region, and therefore will be at a competitive disadvantage.

“Our state has chosen to pursue casino gaming, and is licensing operators to enter a fiercely competitive national market that is much more fully developed in other states,” Tarr said in a statement to media.

“Allowing those we are counting on to produce revenue for Massachusetts and our cities and towns to conduct online gaming will give them a competitive advantage, and increase their chances of success,” he said. “That success, in turn, can deliver substantial benefits through funding for our spending priorities and our budgets.”

Plainridge Casino, is off Route 1 in Plainville Mass, and is the state’s only operating gambling facility at the present moment. It’s quite a venture, since it has 1,250 slot machines and harness horse racing. It’s a widely visited and popular facility that is a favourite among locals and tourists alike.

The local Gaming Commission has in the recent past, issued licenses for other resort-style casinos such as Springfield and Everett, but since these facilities are huge undertakings and require large capital investments, they could be years in the making. As in fact, construction has not yet begun yet at either site.

The Wampanoag Native American tribe is also planning to construct and set up a casino in Taunton, and there is also another application pending for a new casino in Brockton. Penn National Gaming, the owners of Plainridge, said it would be interested in online gambling. Since it’s an untapped local market, that could mean a lot more revenue for the casinos than originally anticiapted. With no competition as of yet, they might just want to corner the market very soon.

“We support the authorization of Internet gaming to the extent it protects the economic investment the brick-and-mortar casinos have made in the state and the jobs we’ve created,” Penn National spokesman Eric Schippers said. “Other states have addressed this through legislation that would restrict Internet gaming to only those existing licensed casino operators in the state.”

It is still yet unknown whether Tarr’s bill will move ahead in the Senate. So far, it has not garnered much attention. So far, State Sen. Richard Ross, R-Wrentham, whose district includes Plainville and Plainridge, has not made any official comments. But than can all change once an assessment of potential intake of revenue is done of online gambling in the district, which grows more popular, day by day.