The state of Massachusetts may be on its way to adopting an online gambling amendment. State Representative Dan Winslow just filed an amendment to the bill on Friday, which would be limited specifically to legalizing online poker.

Winslow’s rationale for limiting the terms of the amendment to poker is clear. He says that poker is a game of skill. Other online casino games depend on chance.

Winslow feels developing online poker could create major benefits to the state:

1. New jobs. Like most of the rest of the country, Massachusetts is struggling with high unemployment. Creating more online casinos would create a large number of jobs, particularly in the technology sector.

2. Cater to demand for online gambling. People in Massachusetts are already eager to participate in online gambling. Wilson says legalizing poker may satisfy their thirst for more risky online gambling pastimes.

3. Helps advance technology. Legalizing online poker would require extensive research and development in software and IT infrastructure. This research may be useful in other fields as well. For example, advancing online poker sites would require developing new research in algorithms, which could be used in other industries.

Specifics of the proposal

Dan Winslow is clear on the terms of his proposal, saying that they fit within the scope of what’s allowed under the current bill.

Winslow suggests allowing five licenses awarded. Each license would have a life of 5 years. He also proposes that each would come with a rake of 10%. He feels it would be appropriate for 70% of the money brought in from each rake to go to the state of Massachusetts.

Many other states have proposed licenses be applied to intrastate gambling. Winslow says he wants to do things differently. He feels that these licenses should be available to operators anywhere in the world.

Opposition to Wilson’s bill.

Although Winslow believes legalizing online poker can be a great idea, not everyone shares his views. Steven Grossman is the treasurer of the state of Massachusetts. He says that Winslow’s bill is dangerous and irresponsible. First of all, the bill is in violation of federal law. It’s not hard to see why this could be an issue. We still aren’t sure when the federal government will legalize poker. Also, Grossman feels the bill would take away from the value of the land casino licenses.

Grossman’s sentiments may be echoed by others in Congress as well. Winslow didn’t ask for feedback from anyone else in the legislature before filing the amendment.

Moving forward.

Dan Winslow offered a number of great ideas for the online gaming bill. Massachusetts will need to develop the model by July 1 if it is to become law. If other senators decide to go on board with Winslow’s proposal, they will be racing against the clock to meet this deadline.

Do you think Winslow’s gambling amendment will go through? What challenges do you think it will face? Share your thoughts here or in the forums!

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