Right now, California, New York and Pennsylvania are all very serious about passing online poker bills in the near future. But what states can we expect to follow suit after these three? Well, there are quite a few US states that have discussed iGaming, but Connecticut and Massachusetts have suddenly jumped to the forefront. That said, let’s cover both of these states’ online gaming aspirations in depth along with what obstacles could be in their way.
Both States have laid Groundwork for iPoker
As we’ve seen from states that have regulated online gaming – Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada – getting legislation passed isn’t an overnight matter. Luckily, Connecticut and Massachusetts aren’t just now getting started on discussions.
The Bay State has already seen two iGaming bills introduced in 2013 and ’14, along with a day-long panel last year. Meanwhile, Connecticut has two tribes that offer free-play iGaming sites, and these same tribes have started a public discussion on the topic too.
What’s working in Favor of Connecticut, Massachusetts Online Poker?
For starters, there’s land-based gaming in both states, but not to a high degree. This is good when comparing both states to California, because the latter is having trouble passing an iPoker bill since there are so many different sides arguing over specific points.
Another good thing here is that both states’ governors, Charlie Baker (Mass) and Dan Malloy (Conn) see the value in using casino gaming to stimulate the economy. Add in the fact that Connecticut and Massachusetts also rank in the bottom 10 of valuing religion, and it seems that there will be no major opposition to iGaming legislation.
And let us not forget the financial side of things; Massachusetts and the Nutmeg State are both mired in relatively big deficits – est. $750m and $300m respectively. So charging $10 million licensing fees and bringing in $10-$15 million in annual tax revenue through online gaming will definitely help alleviate these problems.
What’s standing in the Way of Online Poker?
It doesn’t really seem like there’s much to stop iPoker from happening in either state, other than the length of time it will take to get something done. Of course, as seen with Sheldon Adelson and Las Vegas Sands, land-based casino operators stepping in and opposing iGaming is always a possibility. But this doesn’t look to be an issue either, with MGM (Springfield, MA) fighting for iPoker in New York and Penn National (Plainville, PA) supporting online gaming in Pennsylvania.
The future Wynn Casino (Everett), owned by online gaming opponent Steve Wynn, could possibly offer some opposition. However, Wynn hasn’t shown a tendency to actually fight iGaming, so much as make public statements that he thinks it’s bad for land-based business. Plus, Wynn has had so many fights just to get the Everett-based casino approved that it’s hard to see him jumping into yet another one. So all signs point to Connecticut and Massachusetts having online poker in 2-3 years if everything goes well.