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New Online Gambling Laws for Massachusetts and New Hampshire?

April 7, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – As part of a plan to open more land-based casinos in Massachusetts, a new proposal might also criminalize online gambling and Internet poker in the state — widely believed to be one of the most liberal in the U.S.

“The latest version of a bill licensing gambling in Massachusetts once again includes a measure criminalizing internet gambling and online poker,” writes Tom Jenkins at Poker News Daily. The bill’s primary goal is to license two new Massachusetts casinos, “each with a price tag of $100 million”.

Also incorporating four new slot machine licenses worth $15 million each, the bill also contains the following verbiage indicating that online gambling is not part of its plan: “Any person who knowingly transmits or receives a wager of any type by any telecommunication device, including telephone, cellular phone, internet, [or] local area network … or knowingly installs or maintains said device or equipment for the transmission or receipt of wagering information shall be punished.” The punishment? As much as two years in jail bars and a of $25,000.

There is widespread opposition to the bill, which is expected to receive a vote within two weeks. Given the amount of debate it’s already inspired, it’s likely that, if it passes, it’ll be transformed considerably, giving online gaming advocates a chance to try to get the above language removed.

Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, Governor John Lynch is reportedly considering the opposite approach. Instead of bringing more casinos to the state, reports state that Lynch may legalize online gambling in order to bring in more tax revenue.

“Next week, Lynch will unveil his plan for gambling in New Hampshire, and the legalization of online gambling is one of the vehicles the governor is reviewing,” writes Albert McKeon in the Nashua Telegraph.

Governor Lynch recently opposed legislation to allow more land-based slot machines and casino-style gambling in the state, so this move could set an interesting precedent of favoring online gambling over traditional, land-based casinos, which are typically the preferred way for U.S. lawmakers to raise fast revenue. As it stands now, “New Hampshire has no law expressly prohibiting online betting,” the article adds.