12/12/2012 : MASSACHUSETTS TREASURER CONFIRMS STATE'S INTEREST IN ONLINE GAMBLING
 
State legislators to be asked for approval to test online games
 
Speaking in Boston Tuesday, Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman confirmed that the state lottery was interested in expanding its lottery into the online sector with more games
 
Grossman revealed that state lawmakers are to be asked for permission to create and test what he hopes will be the first wave of Internet lottery games in Massachusetts. Legislators will be asked to do away with existing barriers in state law that prevent the lottery from selling tickets and other games online or accepting credit cards as a form of payment.
 
Social gaming ventures like fantasy sports leagues are also being considered by the state lottery, and internet poker is a possibility, although perhaps not immediately, he said.
 
The state lottery needs to carry out tests in order to work out revenue returns, he said, adding that the competitive threat of internet gambling is real and imminent, and the state needs to be prepared to meet the challenge.
 
‘‘Internet gaming is going to be a fact of life and is going to have an impact on lotteries all over the country in the relatively near future,’’ he said. ‘‘We want to move as quickly as we can, as appropriately as we can.’’
 
Grossman told the Associated Press news agency that a special task force he set up to explore the issue is preparing to release its findings.
 
Among its recommendations is that any plan to expand the lottery online must also protect the 7,400 convenience stores, liquor stores and other stores that sell physical lottery tickets – a system that Grossman characterised as the backbone of the system.
 
The Massachusetts state lottery is expected to collect net profits of about $927 million in the current year, with the proceeds returned to cities and towns in the form of local aid.
 
The treasurer referenced the Department of Justice policy change a year ago in which Justice officials conceded that the Wire Act applied only to sports betting, opening the door for individual states to consider other forms of intrastate online gaming.
 
Grossman said the new ruling allows the Massachusetts Lottery to market online to in-state adults with credit cards.
 
Testing will not be initiated until the state legislators had given the green light, he said – that would take the issue into 2013.