Anyone with hopes that Massachusetts would be a dark horse for iGaming in 2017 can cancel their bets.
It now appears that online gambling legislation, much like in California, will not be considered during 2017.
However, there may be some hope for online gambling in 2018 with the state currently researching the matter. Also, there is pressure to take the lottery online, a move that could bode will for iGaming.
Dead Issue in 2017
In a recent interview with Boston Herald Radio, Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg revealed that online gambling is a dead issue for the remainder of 2017. His reasoning was two-fold.
The first involves online lottery. He feels that lawmakers need to approach the bill in such a way that it doesn't harm the lottery industry in the state.
Next, he feels the same approach is necessary to protect the budding casino gambling industry in Massachusetts.
If this argument sounds familiar, it is. Lawmakers love to play the "cannibalization" card when discussing issues of gambling expansion and this is no different.
However, Sen. Rosenberg did offer a glimmer of hope for 2018. He expects that research on iGaming will be conducted by the end of the year and that the issue will be revisited in 2018.
Pressure from Online Lottery Supporters
Online lottery is one of the topics being overlooked by lawmakers taking a pass on gambling expansion this year. State Treasurer Deb Goldberg is one who is championing online lottery and insists that lawmakers are missing the bigger picture with regards to iLotto.
Goldberg feels that the state is dragging their heels and could miss an opportunity through inaction. Supporters of online lottery point to iLotto supplementing traditional lottery. It helps the industry modernize and take advantage of millennial preferences in regards to online gambling.
Could Massachusetts Go Delaware Route?
Another possibility for online poker and general iGaming in 2018 is that the state lottery conduct the gaming similar to what is done in Delaware. The Delaware Lottery runs iGaming in the state in partnership with the Racinos in the state.
Should Massachusetts go this route then it would be more of a matter of legalizing lotto and giving the state lottery the power to offer iPoker.
The size of the market coupled with the lack of a robust casino industry could make the state lottery the best vehicle to legalize and regulate online poker in the state.