Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has proposed a bill to allow resort-style casinos into the state and he had expected some opposition. He just didnâ€™t think the opposition would come from gamblers. The problem they have with the â€œAct Establishing and Regulating Resort Casinos in the Commonwealthâ€ is that there is a clause that is buried deep within the bill that would make online gambling illegal.
If readers navigate their way through the bill to page 28 of the governorâ€™s proposed legislation, they will find the following paragraph that reads:
“Any person who knowingly transmits or receives a wager of any type by any telecommunication device, including telephone, cellular phone, Internet, local area network, including wireless local networks, or any other similar device or equipment or other medium of communication, or knowingly installs or maintains said device or equipment for the transmission or receipt of wagering information shall be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 2 years, or a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.”
The good thing for online poker players is the secrecy -like inclusion of anti-online gaming legislation did not escape the Poker Players Allianceâ€™s attention. When the PPA found out about this buried clause they immediately issued an action alert to all of their Massachusetts members. They said that PPA is committed to helping Massachusetts poker players by bringing attention to this attack on their rights but they said they canâ€™t do it alone. They went on to say that they need the help of their Massachusetts members and asked them to send letters to Governor Deval Patrick, who is their local State Representative and their State Senator. The PPA also decided to include a link on their site that would help people contact their elected leaders.
The PPA has pointed out the irony there is when you include an anti-online gambling legislation in a pro-casino gambling bill. Maybe it isnâ€™t so ironic since the Massachusetts governor is proposing an anti-online gambling state legislation at the same time that Massachusetts US Congressman Barney Frank has proposed a bill in Congress that would license and regulate online gambling at the national level.
There is some good news for poker players though. They are not alone to their opposition in the bill. The proposal is getting criticism on many fronts and has yet to gain meaningful endorsement from Massachusetts legislators. One of the biggest obstacles that Governor Patrick has to face relates to the validity to the planâ€™s financial assumptions. Patrick has predicted that the three proposed resort casinos would provide 20,000 jobs and $2 billion in economic activity for the Bay State but he seems to be the only one that believes this estimation. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Association has come forward to say that the proposalâ€™s financial assumptions donâ€™t stand up. They say that the revenues are overestimated and proceeds are overcommitted and will never come true.
Massachusetts Representative Dan Bosely, who is the Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, has said that Governor Patrick is short on all their accounts. He said there is not near enough, accounting for the lost revenues, for the lottery. He went on to say that there wasnâ€™t enough for public infrastructure, mitigation, or all sorts of social ills. He said that the only thing that is not included in this bill is that the casinos give away a puppy when people leave. He said that it is pie in the sky and they are not going to do it.
Right now there are eleven states have enacted some form of anti-online gambling legislation. Those eleven states are: Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. Poker players everywhere are rallying to prevent Massachusetts from becoming the twelfth state.