Saturday, October 15, 2011 : ND OF THE ROAD FOR ONLINE GAMBLING IN MASSACHUSETTS?
House approves but Senate rejects online gambling amendment in new gambling bill
After some serious political wrangling and numerous amendments, both the House and Senate in Massachusetts appear to have refined a bill aimed mainly at bringing land casinos to the state, but carrying an interesting clause on internet gambling.
Whilst Rep. Dan Winslow’s amendment seeking to legalise intrastate online poker passed in the House version, it appears to have been removed from the Senate version, which passed 24 to 14 this week.
Standard procedures usually require that if there are still differences in the amended bills, they be rationalised by a conference committee representing both legislative bodies in order to cover the requirements of both and smooth out any remaining anomalies.
The intrastate online poker amendment was included in the bill at the House stage by Representative Winslow, a Republican from Norfolk, who said that regulated and licensed internet poker could provide a significant revenue source, create high tech jobs in the software and regulatory arenas and cater to a definite demand for online gambling in Massachusetts.
The amendment survived the House debate albeit in somewhat diluted form.
The original amendment was replaced with language that tasks the state, probably through the newly created Massachusetts Gaming Commission, to conduct further studies on internet poker, "establishing a committee to analyze and develop recommendations and model legalization” and also “include an analysis of applicable federal and state law” by July 1 2012.