Massachusetts State Treasurer and gubernatorial hopeful Steve Grossman has been one of the biggest cheerleaders for online gambling expansion in the commonwealth, and even with the legislature’s decision to take a more watchful approach, Grossman recently restated his desire to see Massachusetts among the early adopters of iGaming in the US.
Grossman’s latest online gambling comments come on the heels of the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) decision to bow out of the online gambling fight, returning to their previously held position which is essentially “no position.”
When asked about the AGA’s shift Grossman told the Boston Herald, “They can have their squabbles out there all they want,” adding, “We’ll continue to move forward … to study this issue and how it can potentially affect us, one way or another.”
Grossman echoed the state legislature’s intention to take a slow and measured approach to online gambling, saying, “We’ll simply study and be very careful with any approach to online gaming that doesn’t protect the people of this commonwealth appropriately.”
The Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Stephen Crosby followed Grossman’s lead, using very restrained language regarding possible expansion into iGaming in his comments to the Herald: “The commission believes that a slow and deliberate approach to this issue is the most responsible way to move forward given the significant varying opinions on this matter.”
Reading between the lines: Expect Massachusetts to continue to talk and potentially commission studies into online expansion, but don’t expect very much action in the short-term.
Grossman’s iGaming vision in MA
Under Grossman’s proposal Massachusetts version of online gambling would be about as moderate as you’ll find, as he has expressed his intent to keep online gambling transactions limited to brick & mortar retailers, and to continue Massachusetts current forbiddance of credit cards for gambling transactions.
Whether this is Grossman’s genuine vision of iGaming in the Bay State, or whether this is his attempt at forming a coalition before he invokes a more progressive form of online gambling is unclear at this time, but most industry experts would consider the idea of launching online gambling sans credit cards a less than ideal prospect.
Grossman’s claim as the online gambling candidate
How has Grossman been able to stake his claim as the most progressive iGaming candidate despite this seeming restraint? It helps that his chief rival for the Democratic nominee is Martha Coakley, the failed Senate Candidate in the special runoff for longtime Senator Ted Kennedy’s seat.
Coakley has been vehement in her opposition to online gambling, perhaps seeing this as a wedge issue to use against the popular state treasurer in the gubernatorial primary.
Because of this Grossman is able to take a very moderate line towards iGaming, knowing that nobody running against him for the governor’s seat will outflank him on this issue.
In effect, Grossman has the best of both worlds; he can be for online gambling, but also against many of the necessary policies that people fear when it comes to online gambling without losing the support of online gambling advocates.
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