A bill filed by a Republican leader in the Senate would allow casinos in Massachusetts, including Plainridge Park Casino, to expand into online gambling.

Only casinos licensed in the state would be allowed to take part in internet gambling per the bill filed by Senator Bruce Tarr, a Republican from Gloucester. The state Gaming Commission would determine the form of gambling that would be allowed. There are concerns that Massachusetts casino may be missing out and left at a competitive disadvantage due to the fact that some other states already allow Internet gambling.

Tarr said that Massachusetts has chosen to pursue casino gambling by licensing operators that are entering a fiercely competitive national market, and other states’ markets are more fully developed.  He said, “Allowing those we are counting on to produce revenue for Massachusetts and our cities and towns to conduct online gaming will give them a competitive advantage, and increase their chances of success,” he added, “That success, in turn, can deliver substantial benefits through funding for our spending priorities and our budgets,” according to The Sun Chronical.

At the present time the state’s only operating gambling facility is Plainridge Park, off Route 1 in Plain iew. It opened in June of this year and has 1,250 slots machines as well as harness horse racing. Two other licenses for resort-style casinos have been issued by the state, one for the MGM Springfield, which isn’t scheduled to open until June 2018, and the Wynn Casino in Everett slated to open its doors January 1, 2017.  Also in the works is a Taunton casino planned by the Mashpee Wampanoag, Project First Light Resort & Casino, as well as the pending application for Mass Gaming and Entertainment’s $677 million Brockton Fair Casino Resort.

There might be some interest in online gambling, according to the owners of Plainridge, Penn National Gaming. Penn National spokesman Eric Schippers said, “We support the authorization of Internet gaming to the extent it protects the economic investment the brick-and-mortar casinos have made in the state and the jobs we’ve created.” Schippers added, “Other states have addressed this through legislation that would restrict Internet gaming to only those existing licensed casino operators in the state.”

To date Tarr’s bill has received little attention and it is unknown whether or not it will advance in the Senate.

Massachusetts casinos could expand into online gambling