Lawmakers are back from their holiday breaks, and statehouses across the country are returning to session. As the 2018 calendar begins, a number of states are poised to consider online gambling legislation early on. Here’s a look at some of the states that could move on iGaming within the next few months.
Massachusetts is well-informed when it comes to iGaming. Lawmakers have been considering legislation for a couple years now, and the momentum seems to be picking up.
In 2016, the Special Commission on Online Gaming, Fantasy Sports Gaming, and Daily Fantasy Sports was created to study the issue. The commission narrowly recommended an omnibus approach to regulation, and Gaming Commission officials concurred. Casino operators seem to be warming to the idea, too.
Sen. Bruce Tarr is the most recent legislator to introduce iGaming legislation in Massachusetts. His S 200 moved to allow the state’s three land-based casino licensees to operate online gaming. The bill advanced the conversation along in 2017, but it was insufficiently short and ultimately stalled out.
Although Tarr’s bill carries over to 2018, the expectation is that lawmakers will craft new legislation in line with the committee’s recommendations. Despite the support from some key stakeholders, though, there is still significant opposition to overcome in the statehouse.
The Massachusetts General Court is back in session this week.
New Hampshire has already dipped a toe into online gambling, but its plans for the future are unclear.
In January, Rep. Eric Schleien introduced H 562, simply titled “Allowing online gambling.” The bill was very short, and it didn’t attempt to establish the framework for iGaming. Instead, it simply moved to decriminalize the activity for residents, essentially opening the state up to national and international markets.
The bill initially stalled in committee, but it was brought back to life during an executive session in October. Although it advanced the conversation, the issue was deemed “inexpedient to legislate” and dismissed for the time being.
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