Wednesday January 23, 2013 : MASSACHUSETTS MOVES FORWARD WITH ONLINE GAMBLING PLAN
State government files bill seeking to expand lottery activities to the online environment
Massachusetts state senator Jennifer L. Flanagan has moved forward the state's plans to expand lottery gambling activities online by filing legalization seeking the state Legislature's approval for the initiative, announced some months ago by state treasurer Steven Grossman.
Grossman said this week that if the legalization is approved, the state Lottery Commission, which he oversees as treasurer, would be ready to put a suite of initial games online on a pilot basis in 2013.
The treasurer has repeatedly emphasised that no initiative will be commenced without the approval of state politicians, and only once a regime had been put together which includes a role for the 7,400 retail lottery agents at convenience stores and other outlets, who are worried about the impact online sales might have on their businesses.
Speaking to local media Tuesday, Treasurer Grossman anticipated explosive growth in online gambling in the coming years and stressed how important it was for the state lottery to be proactive in the new environment in order to continue generating revenues for use on state aid to cities and towns.
“The threat from the Internet is imminent," Grossman said. "Doing nothing is not an option. We need to move forward and test appropriately."
He added that there was no specific timetable, but that he hoped to see some evaluation and testing before the end of 2013.
“I don’t want to spend a dime of taxpayers’ money until we are certain we have a new product line that we have tested,” he said
Senator Flanagan, who filed the legalization, served on a state commission which recommended last year that the state become involved in internet gambling. In the past she has sponsored casino and slots license bills in the Senate that has led to an expansion in land gambling activity.
The Senator said Tuesday: “This isn’t a debate over whether you like gaming or not, this is a debate over the fact that we have to move to online gaming to protect state revenues.”
Lottery officials have in the past said a state lottery gaming site could also eventually feature Keno, and other games of chance, along with social gaming.