After six hours of debate, the Massachusetts House voted 106-48 against the Massachusetts Casino Expansion Act, which would have allowed Massachusetts to license three large casinos. Contained within the bill was a provision that would have outlawed online gambling, slapping online poker players with penalties of up to a $25,000 fine and two years in jail. The bill had been proposed by Governor Deval Patrick
The bill had also been disapproved of by the House Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, the committee voting 10-8 against recommending the bill. The bill was sent to the House after the committee’s vote, and the House members took notice of the committee’s disapproval. The Massachusetts Speaker of the House, Salvatore F. DiMasi was also a strong opponent of the bill, which could not overcome all of the negative pressure it was facing.
The committee vote included one abstention, Representative Robert L. Rice Jr. Rice was in favor of the portion of the bill that would grant casino licenses, but disagreed with the provision that would ban online gambling. When he could not amend the bill to remove the provision, Rice decided that his best course of action was to abstain.
With the House vote, the bill is being sent back to a study committee and cannot be voted upon again until next year.