The Magnificent World of Massachusetts Casinos

One can easily tell if a person is a native from Massachusetts from the telltale accent. With Boston as the capital, the state of Massachusetts is considered small in land area, but large in terms of population, business, commerce and of course amusement. There are about 6.3 million people living in the state. This means a large market for any industry including the ever dynamic industry of casinos.

Clearly, of the numerous ways to entertain yourself in the state, Massachusetts casinos are always on the top of the list. There are many casinos all throughout the state. Most casinos tend to specialise on horse racing, although slot machines are always a big hit.

History of Gambling in Massachusetts

The commonwealth of Massachusetts approved casino operations in the state with the argument that gambling was intertwined with its roots and casinos will not affect the character of the Bay State. Gambling, for so many years, has been part of the state with millions of dollars in revenue generated and used to fund public programs and welfare projects. As a matter of fact in 1762 John Hancock raised lottery fund to roll on the restoration project of the Faneuil Hall after it was damaged by fire. Some documents also reveal that gambling money was used to shoulder some expenses during the Revolution. In addition, some universities and colleges in Massachusetts owe a lot from lottery funds to pursue the restoration of some of their buildings.

Aside from this, there are numerous benefits from casinos. For example, in East Boston, the construction of the casino created about 3000 construction jobs for 3 to 5 years and about 8000 full-time jobs in the area when it was already completed. With numerous beneficial and enduring benefits, the commonwealth had pursued casino operations in the state.

Just recently, the Wamoaniag Tribe of Aquinnah is pacing up their efforts to operate Massachusetts casinos in the southeastern part. The tribe also asked the state governor about the possibility of a casino compact wherein the new state gambling law provides a state-recognized native tribe a casino license if the compact is signed in mid 2012. Meanwhile, another tribe – the Mashpee Wampanoags also stepped up their efforts to start a casino in Taunton City.

Casino Regulation in Massachusetts

Casinos in Massachusetts are regulated by state laws and regulations governing its operations to make sure they will provide the benefits to the state, to protect the rights of winners and players and many more. For example, House Bill 3807 – An Act Establishing Expanded Gaming in the Commonwealth allows three casinos and one slots-only casino in the state. There are also special laws to govern lottery winnings and other claims.

However, lobbyists had recommended that the commonwealth loosen up its tight regulations. For instance, Frank Fahrenkopf – a famous casino advocate in the US cautions about over regulation. He warns that the state must take some measures since Massachusetts is now part of the gaming industry of the whole nation.

Online Casinos in Massachusetts

The upsurge of the online casino industry exceeds all the prospects in comparison with tangible casinos and gambling houses in Massachusetts. From the moment the virtual casino was introduced in the mid-90s, until today, not only the impact of online betting on the tangible industry has risen, but the urgency to widen the laws and regulations as well.

Primarily, the land-based headquarters of these online companies are located outside the US to stay away from state prosecution since the federal appeals court has approved the federal wire law keeping out online sports betting beyond state borders. However, there is no certain law prohibiting any kind of casino games.  As a matter of fact, several states including Massachusetts rule in favor of tangible gambling but have certain laws against online casino games of any type.

While online casinos have no limits, land-based gambling is regulated by tangible boundaries. Gambling is allowed but controlled in many countries around the globe from where online casinos are now proliferating.

However, in the US, the federal gambling law states that owning an online casino or any kind of gambling related venture without necessary licenses could be a possible reason for prosecution. In fact, there are no states in the US that provides licenses and regulations in online casinos.

It is interesting to note that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, which allows online casinos on its realms, filed a complaint before the World Trade Organization (WTO) about the actions of the US prohibiting online gaming. They won the initial ruling but later on the WTO reversed the ruling in 2005.

The WTO panel decision allows prohibitive laws in Massachusetts but provided a ruling that the US could be violating a global trade as well. This is a result of the state laws standardizing the horse racing bets since online betting companies, both foreign and domestic, are still not allowed.

Poker in Massachusetts

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) offered testimony in the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Economic Development that poker is a game of skill and not a mere gambling activity. A house bill that proposes criminalizing online poker and web gambling was introduced in 2008, but was never passed thanks to poker lobbyists.

Massachusetts also allowed a modification obliging Massachusetts casinos to buy slot machines produced in the US. Fascinatingly, part of the amendments that were repelled is the mandate that casinos have clocks around the place, providing limits to the amount of money dispensed by ATMs inside the casinos and only allowing casinos in places with train services.

While Massachusetts is not overly popular for its casinos, compared to Nevada, it has enough gambling centers to amuse its residents and tourists alike. Aside from this, there are varied casino games you can enjoy. From horse-racing to slot machines to poker, Massachusetts casinos are all over the state and offer varied services strived towards gambling aficionados of any kind. Once you are inside a casino in Massachusetts, amid all the variety of games, amusement, racing, food, and more, there is truly that distinct local color and taste of the Bay State.

Mike Scofield

CEO & Casino Expert

Mike Scofield is a casino expert and the CEO of Before establishing the company, Mike worked in the marketing department of several land-based and online casinos.

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