by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
casinos, gambling, massachusetts, online casinos

New Massachusetts Law Would Open New Casinos While Throwing Online Gamblers In Jail

from the place-yer-bets dept

Sometimes it's impossible not to be cynical about the political process and what's really going on behind the scenes. Sure, people will often ascribe the worst motives to various politicians when other reasons may be more accurate, but it's difficult to see how Massachusett's governor Deval Patrick can put forth this new bill on gambling with a straight face. It pushes for the opening of three new casinos in the state, while simultaneously banning online gambling (which the federal government is already working on). Federal attempts at banning online gambling, however, have focused on stopping credit card processing and stopping the casinos themselves. Patrick's bill actually goes against the gamblers -- threatening them with up to two years in jail and $25,000 in fines. It's difficult to see how this bill can be seen as anything but a plan to try to squeeze more money out of the new casinos by making licenses a lot more valuable by totally banning the competition.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. Another politician that doesn't get it

    Does this guy have any idea how many Americans gamble online? It's funny he would even utter such nonsense. It would be impossible to enforce such a law.

    I'm a long time online poker player and the U.S. still can't stop us even with the "make the financial institutions stop us" law.

    It is very easy to bypass this law. I buy phone cards with my credit card that my casino accepts for deposits of money. I could go on forever about this including the WTO ruling but I would bore the non-gamblers.

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  2. identicon
    Tamara, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 4:12am

    Like the US, Australia bans online gambling(except sports betting, and with that there are some restrictions). But it can still be easily done with all of the overseas casinos - the only online casino that prohibits Australians from betting is an Australian owned one(the company also offers online sports betting) - but to operate they need to have their servers in another country. The only problem with online gambling is, that because it's illegal if the casino doesn't pay you your winnings you're out of luck, but I don't see why any reputable company wouldn't pay. But it shows what a joke the law is. I don't use them myself, I can't afford it, but people should be allowed to and all it does is to force the public to use overseas companies.

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  3. identicon
    brwyatt, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 4:52am

    I really don't get wtf the problem is...

    Honestly, what is wrong with online gambling? What does the US government care if people want to spend money on something? yes gambling can be a money pit. so? so can alcoholism! but you don't see them banning alcohol! probably because they can regulate and get tax money from alcohol. not only that, but (logically speaking) how is non-online gambling any better than online gambling? Also, this could definitely be turned into a states rights issue.... if they choose whether it is legal to gamble in RL, shouldnt they control if people living in their state can do it online? honestly, lately the government seems to be taking our freedoms, not protecting them. do they even listen to what the people really want? jeesh...

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  4. identicon
    * Miss Universe, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 5:04am

    Drive to Any of the 5 State Borders

    Small Massachusetts has the distinction of being surrounded by 5 states.

    Yes 5 states!

    Anyone who wanted to indulge and still obey the law could simply drive to any of 5 borders and using wireless, gamble their hearts away. Perhaps cruising out of the 12 mile limit, since it is a coastline state.

    These options really aren't so out of the question - remember we are talking about gamblers.

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  5. identicon
    Angry Rivethead, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 5:29am


    Is just stupid.

    Texas gets all the publicity for its sodomy laws, MA still raids peoples houses and arrests them for otherwise legal sexual activity(The "Paddleboro incident").

    Massechusettes is a state that takes good ideas and totally F's them up.
    The Excise tax: You are charged an excise tax based on the value of your car. All well and good for revenue until they tax you on cars you no longer own. You ave to jump through hoops to get them to stop taxing you the car you traded. Usually by the time you trade the vehicle, your excise tax is $25. With overhead figured, it costs the state about $125 to unf**k your tax, that shouldn't been assessed after you swapped the title.
    Gun laws are draconian. Clintonian "assault weapon" ban still in effect. Registration is up to the local police chief regardless of criminal background. Racism and discrimination is rampant. Impossible for Asians and Hispanics in Lowell to get a registration regardless of criminal background and employment (I have afreind that is a CAPTAIN in the National Guard that was declined a permit because he was Vietnamese).
    Contractors they hire for roadwork are so substandard, they don't even know what kind of epoxy to use. I'm no engineer, but stretchy epoxy seems like a bad adhesive to use on a load bearing anchor.
    Supposedly a "Liberal" state, but alcohol can only be bought in a liquor store. Bars close at 1am Sunday morning because it is sunday. Public transportation shuts down at 11pm. Cambridge wouldn't alow an established (25 years)Alternative dance club(Man Ray) to reopen after renovations because they didn't want a fetish club in their town.

    I can only imagine that when they finally allow Casinos , they'll probably have $30 parking, open 9-5 and closed weekends. More than likely they'll probably have $5 max tables and penny slots only. No smoking and no free alcohol.

    If it wasn't for the obnoxiously high paying jobs here, I wouldn't be a resident. I leave the state for all social activity.

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  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 5:33am

    Missing Point

    The Govt wants to try to protect us from ourselves. Online gambling is too easy and people spend way to much on it. So in order to try to get people to spend their money on what they should (mortgages) they want to stop online gambling.

    Now the various states, like Massachusetts, will try to make it harder for online gambling so, like Mike pointed out, can get money off the licenses. They will also do it to try and get people to have to go to a real business in the state, so they can watch the money flow and get the tax money. If you gamble online with a site that is either in another state or country, your state doesn't get to reap the benefit of the taxes on the money you spend.

    Follow the money and you will usually find your reason.

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  7. identicon
    Mush, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 5:40am

    Big Business

    This bill is the result of the big casino companies having more politicians in their pocket. What a blatant attempt at pandering.




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  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 7:58am

    Simple, but Stupid...

    It has nothing to do with protecting us from ourselves. Government (regardless of the country) is in business to collect taxes for itself and use to better itself for its people. That is the simple part. The stupid part falls on the politicians who think that the people they represent are stupid. The brick and mortar casinos lobby for the bill, so that they have no competition. The politician listens because he needs the money to get re-elected and the casinos have deep pockets. If the governments could tax the online casinos, do you think they would outlaw them...no.

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  9. identicon
    Jack Sombra, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 8:08am

    "What does the US government care if people want to spend money on something? yes gambling can be a money pit. so?"

    Reasons are simple, in ascending order of importance:

    *Tax revenue
    *Licensing revenue (while they can still charge for local casino/gambling licences they are worth a lot less in a market that allows online gambling)
    *Lobbyist funding (read "bribes") to individual politicians and political parties by the local/national casinos (the casinos give them fortunes)

    (Reason licensing is rated higher than tax is because the opportunities for politicians and Gov. Officials to get direct and indirect kickbacks are greater during the initial licensing application period and renewal time)

    But these are never the stated reasons as they would be a hard sell to the voters, so normally the politicians say things like (again in ascending order)

    *Online Offshore casinos fund Criminal Orgs (Yeah sure they do, especially the ones that are listed on leading stock exchanges around the world)
    *Online Offshore casinos fund Terrorists Orgs (See above)
    *Online Offshore casinos lead to irresponsible gambling (As if Vegas and co really stop you if they think you are losing to much)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    I Barely Care, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 8:13am

    Gamblers are losers - LITERALLY! If a state wants to take the money from their own loser gamblers instead of letting an online off shore corporation do it: GREAT!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    I Barely Care, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 8:14am

    Gamblers are losers - LITERALLY! If a state wants to take the money from their own loser gamblers instead of letting an online off shore corporation do it: GREAT!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Mikhail, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 8:30am

    Re: Missing Point

    If they want to protect us from ourselves then regulate the industry. They have already lost to Antigua over this issue at the UN rulings. And our now facing many Countries that have joined the UN ruling that want over $100 billion from the USA for violating fair trade etc, policies.

    Of course its fine to have lotteries, horse racing, dog racing, slot machines in 32 or more States. And let's not forget Vegas home of gambling here in the USA.

    It's all about the potential money that the Government is losing its that simple. Regulate the industry and have companies that want to do business with USA customers pay a yearly licensing fee.

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  13. identicon
    Wolfger, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 8:41am

    it's all about the money

    Bribes (I mean, "payoffs"... I mean, "campaign contributions") from casino owners and tax revenue from casinos. That is why they want to ban online gambling. Don't let anybody snow you with tall tales about "protecting people". If they wanted to protect people, all gambling would be illegal. Including state lotteries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Politicians First, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 8:50am

    Americans Last

    My pockets get fatter an you're not aloud to make money, say goodbye to the middle class. An welcome to communism!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Stacey Ross, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 9:26am

    Barney Frank

    What's sort of contradictory about all this, is that Mass representative Barney Frank has been one of the few federal legislators working on getting RID of the online gambling laws... So now you have the Mass governor going the other direction. SOMEBODY isn't listening to his constituency. And I'm betting it isn't Barney Frank.

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  16. identicon
    Pro, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 11:02am


    A lot of you don't get it. Massachusetts is one of the most corrupt entities in the world.

    The reason casinos haven't opened here yet is because all the Mc's can't figure out how to divy up the money in a way that they're happy with yet.

    My dad owned a business, let's say an arcade, in a MA city... The local paper gave him bad press until he hired a police officer for $45/hour 'duty' every friday and saturday night. Then the bad press stopped. The cop just sat there in a chair all night and drank free soda. You can't do business in this state without some sort of shakedown from the public sector.

    Ever wonder why sports betting, of all things, you can only do in Las Vegas? u can do anything else in Atlantic City, any of the Indian casinos, but not bet on a football game. Why is that? Because the people who were making money on it refused to ever give up control over it.

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  17. identicon
    Lucretious, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 1:55pm

    I think it more likely that he is probably attempting to attract more casinos by passing the law as a perk. Not that it would be effective.....

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  18. identicon
    Pro, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 2:21pm


    Wow, for your sake I really hope you're just tired or something. Do you think that anyone needs a perk to open a casino in Mass? Any idiot would open one if they had the go-ahead, but there's a lot of greedy entities that need to get a piece of that action. Unless they can all come to some happy agreement, it'll never happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Nov 13th, 2007 @ 11:13pm


    I live in Rhode Island and hate Massachusetts. I think the whole state smells like ham.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    matty D, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 3:10am


    This whole subject and the points , views and theories are completely mute , because it is totally impossible for the state to police online gaming. Even if they had a plan to trace URL's , they don't even come close to having the resources to enforce the law. The law would just be another silly waste of time. It only took the online casinos less than a year to get around the credit card laws and now it is easier to deposit than it was 5 years ago before the law went into action. It is just bait for big name casinos and not one person will ever pay a fine , much less be arrested , so everyone can chill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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