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Online Poker Criminalized by Massachusetts Gambling Bill

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When it comes to the legalization and regulation of online gambling in the
, just as supporters of the popular, but banned internet activity think
progress is being made, another state pushes to pass a bill, piece of
legislation or law designed to set the cause back even more, Massachusetts being
the latest.

According to the latest version of a Massachusetts Gambling Bill, online
gambling – which includes online casino and online poker – will be criminalized.
This means that if the bill is passed, any citizen of Massachusetts found to be
gambling online could face up to 2 years in jail as well as a $25,000 fine.

Page 123 of the bill reads, ‘Any person who knowingly transmits or receives a
wager of any type by any telecommunication device, including telephone, cellular
phone, internet, [or] local area network… or knowingly installs or maintains
said device or equipment for the transmission or receipt of wagering information
shall be punished.’

Robert DeLeo, Massachusetts Speaker of the House is calling for a vote on the
bill in two weeks. Luckily, however, for supporters of online gambling in the
state, there seems to be a lot of opposition to the bill including from the
Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, who issued a statement to the Boston

It read: ‘I know people have thought about these issues before, but it’s a very
important decision for the Commonwealth. There are people who have strong
feelings on all sides of it [online gambling] and we should do our work here out
in the open. We should have a hearing and let people make their case.’

But DeLeo countered by saying that hearings had already been held on the subject
which has been ‘studied thoroughly.’ And while DeLeo is just one of a multitude
of U.S. politicians avidly against the legalization and regulation of online
gambling, he is in support of issuing new land casino and slot gaming licenses.

As part of the new bill, he would like to see the issuing of two new land casino
licenses at a cost of $100 million each as well as four slot gaming licenses at
a cost of $15 million each. With each of the slot gaming licenses, operators
would be permitted to own and operate slots machines at racecourses.

DeLeo claims that under the bill, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would be
entitled to 25 percent of all land casino revenues and 40 percent of all slot
machine revenues.

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