Massachusetts could be one step closer to making online gambling legal.
The state has set up a special commission to look at the viability of online gambling and has until July to see how it should be regulated.
Some state officials say the move could change the industry in a positive light.
“As casinos are going into the ground, the landscape and technology has changed dramatically,” said Massachusetts Sen. Eileen Donoghue.
According to Donoghue, who is also the Committee Chair of Daily Fantasy Sports, the law should change even though it’s technically illegal. She says the state knows that people are still gambling online.
This is the reason why the state has launched the committee on companies like Daily Fantasy Sports, Draft Kings and Fan Duel to see how to best regulate them.
“What we're hoping to do is through the work of the commission is come up with some meaningful recommendations that will deal with some of the issues digital gaming,” Donoghue said.
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It’s unclear how much money the state stands to make from becoming one of the first in the nation to legalize online gambling.
Krystle Kelly with the Mass Council for Compulsive Gambling says one of their biggest concerns is how the state would prevent people from becoming addicted to online gambling.
“Who is there to help out when you may need a hand?” asked Kelly. “We would expect some alerts would pop up.”
Developers from brick and mortar casinos like the one being built in Everett are also against it.
A Wynn Casino spokesperson said in a statement, “We continued to believe that online gambling is unable to effectively identify and authenticate the end user, creating a risk of underage gambling.”
Donoghue says it remains a balancing act between ensuring the state stays ahead of times while also ensuring Massachusetts residents are protected.
“Right now, a young person can't walk into a casino if they're underage. We want to make sure that the same protections are in place,” Donoghue said. “We're very hopeful by July which is our due date that we will be coming back with some recommendations to the legislature.”
Any new online gambling laws would require a vote from the entire state legislature. It’s unclear if that will happen in 2017.