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Massachusetts has a peculiar combination of associations with hardcore gambling and Poker throughout its history. And yet, now the state’s definitions for key terms like ‘gaming’, or its awareness of the Internet for gambling, may seem quirky.

Is it legal to gamble? Yes, because the land-based casino economy in Massachusetts is regulated and heavily taxed. So, if you want to gamble, just look up the nearest casino and go play your heart out (hopefully not your bank savings).

Is it legal to gamble online from within Massachusetts? There is a better question, since the state has legalized land-based casino establishments and has written laws for them:

Is there a state-run online casino, or licensed online casino providers yet?

The answer there is no. But a consensus seems to exist that such a state-run casino will join Massachusetts’s legal lottery. In fact, insiders believe that the state lottery will go online first of all, followed closely we think by online Poker, then probably full casino amenities.

New Referendum

If that does happen smoothly after the next November 2014 ballots are cast (since the state’s gambling has been put up for a vote), Massachusetts will join progressive states like New Jersey, New York, Nevada and California that are all engaged in their own internal negotiations.

You see, not everybody wants or is cool with adding online or even land-based casinos to the Massachusetts way of life. But historians of this region will be quick to point out that the state would not be what it is today without the history of gambling — which is true for most of the states in America.

Today, many talented Poker players have emerged from Massachusetts. It’s fairly obvious, then, that this classic casino game is being played and loved. Still there are opponents to the expansion of gambling citing ethical or sociological reasons.

In fact, a study costing over $20K has been ordered by the government of New Jersey to confirm whether introducing gambling is harmful to residents. That kind of money is a drop in the bucket for states courting a regulated gambling environment. The licensing fees and investment requirements alone in Massachusetts call for almost a billion to even be eligible for a license.

Quirky State Laws

In Massachusetts the word ‘gaming’ is used to mean gambling. And, the word ‘lottery’ is also understood by residents and lawmakers to mean a connection to gambling. All gambling not recognised by the state’s laws, and therefore regulated, is illegal.

The law books are not yet all that current regarding the Internet. Massachusetts law mentioned the use of telephones for gambling, which is totally illegal. These are days of fine lines and grey areas for online gambling in the US.

The bottom line for many readers, especially those in the state of Massachusetts, concerns whether it is practically possible to play online casino or bingo without fear of negative consequences, we shall say.

Playing Legally

The word on the street, the hard truth, is that all major US-based casinos or even worldwide casinos who embrace or tolerate American players do accept players from Massachusetts.

To make it around the lack of regulation (yet!) some players will need to set up some form of alterative payment and withdrawal, using alternatives to credit cards. Of course, after things get legit and casinos are operating with full transparency, some of the normal financial tools seen at international sites will be offered.

Each state typically has some alternative payment options built-in, such as deposits via a utilities bill or phone bill. We’re quite confident that the natural independence of the Massachusetts public will help decide the state is mature enough to handle real-cash ‘gaming’ like Poker — which is already hugely popular there even outside casinos.

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