Monday May 26,2014 : A.G.A. PULL-BACK NOT A DETERRENT FOR MASSACHUSETTS INTERNET GAMBLING
State regulator and state treasurer both dismiss trade association’s reversal of policy.
The decision by the American Gaming Association to pull-back from its support for regulated and licensed online gambling in the United States will have little impact on the course that Massachusetts might take on the issue, according to statements by two senior state officials over the weekend.
It interviews with the Boston Herald, state treasurer and governor candidate Steven Grossman and Massachusetts Gaming Commission chairman Stephen Crosby both discounted the AGA decision that the internet gambling issue was too divisive among its members to support, saying that the state would make its own decisions on which route it would follow.
“They can have their squabbles out there all they want,” Grossman said. “We’ll continue to move forward … to study this issue and how it can potentially affect us, one way or another. Any smart business of any kind, public or private, would study that. You have to change to survive and flourish.”
Grossman said the near $5 billion state Lottery still wants to explore online gaming possibilities to shore up declining market share on the land gambling side…so long as credit cards can’t be used to play and if it doesn’t increase gambling addiction or hurt Lottery retailers.
“I hear the differences of opinion out there,” Grossman said in a clear reference to the pro and against campaigns being waged by opposing bodies backed by different land gambling interests.
“We’re not going to get dragged one way or another into that debate. We’ll simply study and be very careful with any approach to online gaming that doesn’t protect the people of this commonwealth appropriately.”
A bill is pending in the state Legislature that would clear the path for the Lottery to experiment with online gaming.
State Gaming Commission chairman, Stephen Crosby, said the AGA decision does not change the regulator’s posture.
“The AGA’s decision to withdraw from discussions regarding online gaming reinforces the commission’s position on this topic,” he said in a Commission statement.
“The commission believes that a slow and deliberate approach to this issue is the most responsible way to move forward given the significant varying opinions on this matter.”