The voters of states like Virginia and Massachusetts are ready to move forward with the decriminalization and legalization of gambling in America.
Unfortunately, their local and state governments have found a new way to obstruct and postpone development of legal casinos in either commonwealth.
What is the bureaucrats tactic? Red tape.
In Massachusetts, a state gaming commission has simply slow-walked the process since casino licenses were first approved for distribution in 2011. There is an open-for-business casino in Springfield, MA, and a 2nd on the way in Everett. But even the noble Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has been unable to acquire a 3rd license, which the commission is not bound by state law to give away.
On Thursday, the regulators actually voted to delay voting on taking up the proposal for a new casino license. In other words, the hopes of Beantown gambling tycoons and their clientele are now buried under 3 layers of paperwork. (At least they can still wager on their beloved Patriots in the Super Bowl.)
Massachusetts denied a 2016 bid from Mass Gaming & Entertainment to build a casino on the Brockton Fairgrounds. The case could be taken up again soon. MG&E, which is backed by Rush Street Gaming, has told its lawyers to promise at least an $85,000,000 gaming fee to the commission, to be paid immediately and in full.
Meanwhile, a group of Native American tribes based in Virginia have been seeking to build casinos in 5 counties. On Wednesday, a bill that could legalize casino gaming and localized sports gambling passed through a VA state senate committee. But the bill is under attack from lobbyists, regulators, and the news media. Any timeline for a green light on green tables has been pushed back to summer of 2020, still about 18 months away.
“(The gambling bill is) probably going to be amended by 3 or 4 committees and the governor by the time we get it,” says Virginia state senator Scott Surovell.
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