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Massachusetts Gambling Bill Added To Budget Bill
Wednesday May 22,2013 : ONLINE GAMBLING LEGALISATION MOVE IN MASSACHUSETTS
Amendment to be attached to budget bill
Massachusetts Senate Republicans plan to introduce an amendment to the current 2014 fiscal budget debate today (Wednesday) that proposes the regulation of online gambling operated by the state's existing land casino licensees.
The Massachusetts initiative mirrors a tactic earlier this year in Illinois, where a similar amendment was attempted but failed, and is now being presented as a stand-alone bill .
The Taunton Gazette reports that under the amendment, online gaming revenue would be taxed at 20 percent and licensees would pay an initial fee of not less than $300,000, along with an annual renewal fee of not less than $150,000.
The proposal also specifies that licensees can not offer any online game in conflict with the state Lottery; that players are 21 or older to place wagers or collect winnings; and that players be physically located in Massachusetts to place wagers or collect winnings, with certain exceptions.
The amendment is among a series of proposals sponsored by the four-member Senate GOP caucus to boost the economy and revenue and save money, according to Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, who told the Gazette that the $33.9 billion spending plan recommended by Senate Democrats fails to reform public subsidy and welfare programs - the subject of several GOP amendments.
The schedule for the budget debate is crammed with many other amendments, and debate is expected to go on for some time.
In related news, the Illinois stand-alone internet gambling legalisation bill will have to wait in line with other legislation subservient to the state governor's priority of pension reform.
Governor Pat Quinn is well-known for his anti-gambling views, and he is using the gambling expansion and online gambling bills, along with other legislation, as leverage to pass pension reform legislation.
This week the governor made it clear that pension reform comes first, and that he will not entertain the prospect of signing off on other legislation taking precedence over this priority bill.
Speaking to the Chicago Tribune this week, Quinn said that he would "...never, ever sign a gaming expansion absent comprehensive pension reform."
The state has a potential pension deficit of $100 billion, and this thorny issue has been the subject of repeated deferrals by successive state governments.
The stand-alone online gambling bill is being driven by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and is currently being circulated in draft form.
With the current legislative session ending later this (May) month, the pressure is on.
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Phil Ivey Loses Borgata Casino -
Phil Ivey has lost in his four-year legal tussle with the Borgata over baccarat winnings; on Friday a US federal judge ruled that he and a companion violated New Jersey state gambling regulations in the manner in which they won nearly $10 million playing at the Atlantic City casino.
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The Cambridge News reports that a 28-year-old manager of a Marks and Spencer store, Martin Trenor, has been jailed for three years for stealing GBP 254,538.11 in shop takings over the course of a year and spending it almost immediately at online gambling websites.
Chinese Gambling crackdown could damage high roller revenue -
Fast-moving events this week have seen Australian media reports quoting hundreds of millions of dollars wagered by Chinese high rollers in Aussie land casinos, offset to some extent by Crown claims that this whale gambler" demographic generates only 12 percent of turnover.
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2016 EPT Malta -
The European Poker Tour is off to a good start in Malta, with German pro Dietrich Fast claiming a well-earned Euro 174,000 main prize in the Euro 10,000 buy-in Single-Entry Rebuy event.
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