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Massachusetts opposes Reid/Kyl bill

TAGs: federal online poker, Harry Reid, Jon Kyl, Massachusetts

massachusettsThe Massachusetts State Lottery Commission (MSLC) has penned a letter to Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl to object to their federal online poker bill. The letter, from Chairman of the MSLC, Steven Grossman, states how the MSLC has written to “object in the strongest possible terms” to the “Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012”.

Grossman’s main bone of contentions is that the federal government has never had a role in what has always been an activity that is organized by the states. He called the Act “draconian” and cited the Wire Act decision last December to strengthen his argument.

In terms of future online gambling regulation in Massachusetts, the MSLC has made “no decision” as to whether they’ll offer any services but is “studying the potential of the Internet marketplace for the future”. Staying with online gambling, he also added: “We are particularly puzzled by the Act’s choice of Internet poker as the sole form of online gaming to be allowed other than Lottery games with no more than one drawing per day. It is well understood in the gaming industry that the profit margins on Internet poker are minimal. It is equally well understood in the Internet commerce world that attempts to wish the online gaming genie back into the bottle are doomed to fail.”

Massachusetts only recently decided to delay awarding casino licences until 2014 and Grossman is worried that Reid’s plam will “imperil” the process that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has already gone through regarding the three casinos and one slot parlor.

Grossman’s letter ended with the following statement:

“There is no business case for such a limitation. Accordingly, we can only assume that the Act is a blatant, unwarranted, and inappropriate attempt to secure first-mover advantage in the online gaming space for Nevada interests.

“We regard this as a grievous misuse of federal legislative authority, and we call upon you to withdraw the Act protect the interests of the people of Massachusetts and dozens of the states that would be adversely affected by your legislation.”

The letter has 21 co-cosignatories with Senators, Representatives, and various members of Massachusetts Gaming Commissions amongst those signing. The list includes the likes of Sen John Kerry, Rep. Barney Frank, Rep Stephen Lynch, and Governor Deval Patrick.

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