The Massachusetts State Senate is close to finalising its gambling bill as it resumes debate today, according to reports, and a final vote could take place by the end of the week. If passed, the legislation would establish a slots-only parlor and three resort casinos.
The bill also includes an amendment (one of the 154 that wasn’t rejected) that establishes a committee “to analyze and develop recommendations and model legislation” for online poker.
Massachusetts Republican Dan Winslow, who filed the amendment on September 8, said the move will maximise total revenue under the bill, while also creating much-needed jobs in the state’s tech-sector.
“This one, I think, is a great opportunity for Massachusetts to take the lead. No state in the country has yet enacted legislation to authorize and regulate internet poker,” Winslow told the Milford Daily News.
Winslow’s amendment has its doubters, though. State Treasurer Steven Grossman calls the plan “reckless and irresponsible.” Grossman, who does not recognise poker as a game of skill, contends the amendment is in violation of federal gambling laws.
The anti-casino group Citizens for a Stronger Massachusetts, led by former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, said estimates for job creation were “wildly optimistic.”
The bill is expected to generate $300 million in annual tax revenues and create an estimated 15,000 jobs, including 6,000 construction jobs.