Lawmaker aims to legalize online gambling in Massachusetts

TAGs: alan feldman, American Gaming Association, Bruce Tarr, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Gaming Commission, MGM Resorts

Massachusetts just can’t get enough of gambling expansion in the state. What’s next—online gambling, perhaps?

Lawmaker aims to legalize online gambling in MassachusettsState Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr is lobbying to authorize the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to grant online gambling licenses to the state’s two forthcoming major casinos, MGM Springfield and Wynn Everett.

Supporters of the bill believe an additional revenue stream from online gambling could help the new casinos get on their feet. “We don’t want them to be undermined by other states that allow it,” Tarr told the Gloucester Times.

Spokesman for the American Gaming Association, Chris Moyer, said that there’s varying interest in online gambling from the industry, as some view it as a way to attract more customers but others express concerns on how it could decrease visitation at land-based casinos.

Last week, MGM Resorts said it would be raising the price tag for its casino from $800 million to $950 million. The company has also hired former US attorney general Eric Holder to assist its “all-out campaign” to challenge the legality of Connecticut legislation granting two Indian tribes an exclusive right to open a casino near the Massachusetts border.

“All of sudden, up pops this bill,” said Alan Feldman, an MGM executive vice president. “It was astonishing and outrageous that only these tribes would be allowed by the state to operate a new casino.”

Leaders of Connecticut’s federally recognized Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes have urged communities interested in hosting a casino to push along with their local approval processes while they review the proposals.

MMCT Venture—the joint company of Pequot and Mohegan tribe—has received bids from East Hartford, East Windsor, Hartford and Windsor Lock and is expected to make a decision by December 15.

Wynn Resorts is awaiting final approval for its $1.7 billion casino resort in Everett, while the state commission is torn between issuing the state’s final casino license to Mass Gaming & Entertainment’s Brockton project or the Mashpee Wampanoag’s $500 million casino plan.


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