Online Poker in Massachusetts could be legal soon
May 26, 2014
The US state of Massachusetts, one of the nation's founders, is now considering opening the state's doors to the online poker industry, but only, to those online poker rooms that can comply with Massachusetts new bill that is now being discussed by the state government. The new amendment came along Mass budget for 2014, introducing a new tool to improve the state economy. The amendment has been backed up by 18 of Massachusetts' House of Representatives but it will not become a reality until it all the votes that it needs. The bill would legalize online poker but online casinos and other type of online betting practices will still be banned. Among one of the requirements, poker rooms' operators will have to verify both, players' age and geo location in order to maintain a safe and secure frame for this industry. The bill will also bring some other strict measures to protect players: any software and e-commerce entities providing services to online poker room operators and, of course, over and above, poker room operators, all must be based in the state of Massachusetts. Among the state's requirements to belong to this yet to come market, online poker operators will find a $10 million licensing fee. State government would also collect taxes for the first two years and would issue only three online poker licenses.
Gambling legislation in Massachusetts started in 2011 with the removal of the ban against land-based casinos. Nonetheless, Massachusetts legislation will not be finished until 2016, what has the state's gambling market completely paralyzed. This year, in February, Massachusetts lawmakers introduced the online casino gambling bill but the new amendment online, only advocates for online poker. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission would be also considering operations outside the state's jurisdiction to create an interstate online poker network, an idea that has been brought to the table by the other US states that have already legalized online gambling. The bill does not forget the “bad actor” clause and state will not issue licenses to any of the operators that continued providing services in the US after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.