Massachusetts Bows To PPA Lobby

Published on: February 11, 2009 

The Poker Players Alliance scored a win in Massachusetts this past week and was able to cause enough of a stir to get the authors of the states expanded state gambling bill to strike out a clause that would make playing poker online a prison offense.  This is definitely a win for the lobbying group, as many lobby groups have been working towards injuring the case for legalization and regulation of online casinos and poker rooms.  This time the lobbyists for online gambling came out on top.

According to the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association forums that host numerous threads on the industry, the buzz on the forums is that the PPA’s Massachusetts’s chapter made such a fuss over the felony clause that the Massachusetts State Representative that originally added the clause and was proposing the bill dropped the section that made playing at online gambling sites illegal all together.  Brian Wallace and Martin Walsh responded to many of the HR 3954 criminal provisions complaints from the constituents.

A similar casino bill was attempted last spring by Governor Duval Patrick, who wanted to make patronizing online casinos a jail time offense while trying to create three legal land licenses. A bit of a contradiction.  The states seem to have conflicting ideas on gambling in general with some things being legalized with serious enforcement or being excluded because it is a state taxed gambling activity.

However, groups like the PPA are attempting to make the political will of the regular people be heard even if it means going up against government greed.  For example, Governor Rendell in Pennsylvania had his SWAT teams bust poker games at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars halls around the state yet was pushing for state video gaming terminals to be put into every house.  Voters are raising their voices and demanding to be heard, stating that they have the right to gamble when they want, where they want, and whatever game they want to play.

Legalized casinos in Massachusetts will appear in the states future, but so far the gambling community as a whole received a windfall with the striking of the criminal offense clause.  The citizens refused to let the precedence be set and by preventing the prosecution of customers who enjoy online casinos and poker rooms in one state could set a positive precedence about state legislation in others, hopefully legislation that will see players from across the United States once again enjoying themselves online.

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