Chairman Crosby reflects on recent Internet Gaming Forum: Panel experts reinforce Commission strategy to take slow and methodical approach to iGaming
On March 11, 2014, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission hosted an educational forum on internet gaming at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The Commission convened a diverse group of industry experts to participate in a series of panel discussions to explore the topic of internet gaming and its related considerations. The commission was very pleased to host a variety of individuals with extensive experience in internet gaming technology, state gaming regulation, lottery operations and expanded gaming expertise. The forum was extraordinarily engaging, informative and enlightening. Some of the topics discussed included:
- What are internet gaming and social gaming?
- Status of internet gaming nationally and globally including the legal status of internet gaming in Massachusetts
- Risks to internet gaming: money laundering, problem gambling and verification
- Challenges and successes of internet gaming in Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey and Canadian Provinces
- Lottery, Internet Gaming and Casinos- Peaceful Coexistence?
Based on the information presented, several important themes and ‘take-aways’ emerged from the day-long event. They include: 1.) Go slow 2.) Protect the Lottery 3.) Allow for Massachusetts licensees to first establish their ‘brick & mortar’ operations.
It was clear that although internet gaming is a topic that gaming regulators must begin vetting, it is important to proceed slowly and methodically. Internet gaming remains relatively new territory and its effects on the industry and the three states where iGaming is legalized are not yet fully known. It is best to allow time for the early adopter jurisdictions (Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey) to test this out and study the results of early returns.
The importance of protecting the Lottery and its revenues is a second theme that emerged from the panel discussions. We have a very successful lottery in Massachusetts and protecting that success must be a priority.
Also it is best to allow for our new expanded gaming licensees to get their facilities built, establish their brands and get their operations underway.
Lastly, taking a slow and deliberate approach in Massachusetts would allow for a legislative process similar to that of the expanded gaming process so that we can produce legislation that is built on established best practices from other jurisdictions.