Massachusetts’ Treasurer Claims Casinos Won’t Harm State Lottery
MGM Springfield will open its doors on Friday, earlier then expected and the Massachusetts Lottery does not view the new $960 million casino resort as a threat but rather as a good thing.
State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg claimed that she sees the new resort casino as a layer of protection from online sports betting. Goldberg’s office keeps watch over the state’s $5 billion lottery and once considered casinos as enemies of the lottery as they could eat into 10% of the lottery’s bottom line.
Goldberg explained that Massachusetts’ gambling regulations include a provision that force casinos to allot parking space that is reserved for lottery sales. She said that this requirement has led to better-than-expected returns at the Plainridge Park Casino.
She told The Boston Herald that MGM Springfield and future casino developments will not do any harm to the lottery. Plainridge Park Casino brought in $2.4 million in lottery sales during 2016 which was an increase of 25% over the previous year.
Goldberg may have a rosy outlook for the state’s lottery but it is currently facing a lot more competition but not from the casino industry. Daily fantasy sports and legalized sports betting which is expected to soon be legalized in the state are both expected to have an impact. Goldberg will refile a proposal that will make the lottery become more modern and allow it to offer online games. She tried to pass the same proposal through the legislature near the end of last month’s session but it failed to pass.
Goldberg believes that modernizing is necessary if the lottery is to remain successful in the modern era. A lot of programs in the state rely on money that is generated through the lottery.
Anxiety Over Lottery Funding
Mark Hawke is both the mayor of Gardner and president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association and he asserts that cities and towns in the state feel a degree of anxiety over the amount of financial support they will receive from the Massachusetts Lottery. He said that casinos and online gambling cut into lottery revenues and that the Legislature has to consider those cities and towns when they are mulling over new legislation.
Hawke claims that these cities and towns receive less local aid than what they got before the recession. He points to the fact that his town of Gardner is receiving $800,000 less per year than it did in 2008. He lamented that Gardner has very limited options when it comes to raising money and the lottery is very important.