Some industry experts believe that the online casino industry could be on the horizon in Massachusetts.
But when will it be legalized? When will it launch?
To find out more, we reached out to an expert. Boston-based attorney Kevin C. Conroy provided PlayMA with some insights on the potential of online casinos coming to Massachusetts.
He says that while it is possible, it may be a while before Massachusetts online casinos become a reality.
Legislature prefers to move slowly
Conroy is a partner at the Boston-based Foley Hoag law firm. He has expertise in state regulatory matters, and helped guide several companies through the sports betting application process.
For now, Massachusetts allows in-person gambling at three retail casinos. When asked about the possibility of bringing online casinos to Massachusetts, Conroy emphasized that the state legislature could prefer to move at a slow pace.
“I think the legislature likes to move slowly with gaming. They passed the initial gaming law in 2011. It took them 11 years to then authorize sports betting,” Conroy said.
Could online sports betting pave the way?
Sports betting in Massachusetts launched earlier this year, both online and in-person. With that development, it’s logical to think that gambling on casino games online could be legalized in the future.
Many of the mobile sportsbooks that have launched in Massachusetts also offer online casinos. More specifically, platforms such as DraftKings, FanDuel, WynnBET, BetMGM and Caesars all feature online casinos.
So, since those platforms are already licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to offer sports betting in MA, it would not be surprising to see licenses for online casinos added to the mix.
But for now, the activity remains illegal in the Commonwealth.
Rhode Island legalizes online casinos
Earlier this summer, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee signed legislation making online casinos legal in Rhode Island. Could that put pressure on Massachusetts lawmakers to legalize online casinos in the Commonwealth?
Conroy says not quite yet. He again mentioned that as something far off into the future.
“I think the legislature likes to move slower,” Conroy reiterated. “I don’t think we will see online gaming in this legislative session.”
Rhode Island joins a handful of nearby states that have legalized online casinos, including Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey.