MASSACHUSETTS GAMING COMMISSION TASK FORCE MEETS
Commissioners closely monitoring online gambling developments and discuss priorities.
Thursday's inaugural meeting of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission committee tasked with reviewing online gambling developments and possibilities met Thursday and briefed local media on their mandate.
The Massachusetts Lottery Commission has already lobbied for permission to offer more online options in order to attract the younger millennial demographic so important to the future viability of the institution.
Members of the Commission gave their perspectives on the issues facing the committee, with Commission chair Stephen Crosby opining:
"We need to make sure the online gaming environment is as safe and secure as the bricks and mortar environment," and assuring that the Commission will keep a close eye on any developments.
Referring to online gambling, Crosby said:
"It's coming into existence, so it's a question of regulating it properly; you're not going to be able to stop it."
Proponents of intrastate online gaming legalization agreed, saying that it is now time to "open a new gambling frontier," with lottery games offered around the clock on mobile devices and computers.
Commissioner Bruce Stebbings said that it is important to make sure that the playing field between land and online is level, and Crosby responded:
"We want to hear from licensees to see how it affects them, but trying to find a way for millennials to engage is trending online so we'll have to see how it develops."
He referred to the heavy investments land casino operators have made in the state, and assured all concerned that the Commission does not want to undermine the local economy, and will therefore be attentive to make sure the land operators are treated fairly with the advent of the new genres of gaming technology.
The chairman additionally observed that online gaming must be properly regulated to make sure all games are fair, that players are the proper age, and that no one is "cooking the books."
Springfield MGM president Mike Mathis said he is not overly concerned about online gaming and what it could mean for his land casino operation.
"Our view is that online and brick and mortar can co-exist; we are active in online gaming so with the power of the MGM brand we'll be in that conversation so we can bring our best practices forward," he said.
The Massachusetts state lottery is one of the most successful in the United States, contributing around a billion dollars a year to local services such as education. However, recent reviews have indicated that a sharp decline in revenue is likely unless online products are offered as well.