Currently, sports betting in Massachusetts is not legal, but that may change in 2022.
The previous legislative session ended in January 2022 with no real move to legalize sports betting by the Senate, which means that for now, Massachusetts sports bettors will need to cross state lines for legalized sports betting.
Massachusetts Sports Betting Right Now
- 12th January 2022: Ninety small business owners contacted 40 state senators in favor of legal online sports wagering. They argue that retail only sports betting would be harmful to business opportunities when customers head to nearby land-based casinos. They urge reconsideration of the S 264 bill for legalization in the next session.
- 19th January 2022: The State Senator assured voters that Massachusetts sports betting will be a priority when he runs for Lieutenant Governor. Senator Eric Lesser is a strong supporter of Massachusetts sports betting and backs both online and retail sports betting.
- 31st January 2022: DraftKings offers its support and commitment to responsible gambling in MA, pledging $1.5 million to assist Massachusetts gambling councils.
- 11th February 2022: Massachusetts bettors will have no access to Massachusetts sports betting in time for the Super Bowl. They had to travel state borders to New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York.
- 16th February 2022: DraftKings confirmed that 28% of Super Bowl bettors in New Hampshire registered under a Massachusetts address.
The Status of Legal Sports Betting in Massachusetts
Right now, Massachusetts sports betting is at a standstill. Despite lawmakers in the Massachusetts House of Representatives passing sports betting bill H3993 in July 2021, it came to a standstill when it reached the Senate. This was later followed by the other prominent sports betting bill in 2021, S269, which also fell at the same hurdle.
The Massachusetts Legislature meets for its formal session between 5th January and 31st July and although a number of lawmakers want to focus on whether they legalize sports betting, the Senate is resistant.
When Will Massachusetts Online Sports Betting Launch?
Given its current status, the earliest that sports betting legislation will allow online gambling will be late 2022. Given that both major pushes in 2021 died a death, it’s back to the drawing board.
It is unclear, right now, how the unexpected government windfall of 2021 will affect the 2022 state budget. If there is another year of budget surplus then this could reduce the urgency to legalize Massachusetts sports betting as there will be no rush to start bringing in sports betting revenue – from online sportsbooks or retail sports wagering.
Potential Massachusetts Sports Betting Apps…
If Massachusetts does eventually make online sports betting legal, then no doubt there will be some big names entering the market. Nearly all of the potential sports betting sites have a link to Massachusetts which will give them a head start when it comes to dishing out the licenses. Here are the top contenders for online sports betting in Massachusetts…
The BetMGM sportsbook is the online arm of the MGM Resorts International casino brand – with its local option being MGM Springfield. This connection is enough to conclude that when betting in Massachusetts is legal, BetMGM will be right there ready to go.
WynnBet is a reasonably new sports betting app from Wynn Resorts, which owns several casinos including the local casino option 0 Encore Boston Harbor. As such, this will be another odds on favorite to launch in the state when sports wagering is legalized.
A large portion of Barstool’s stock is owned by Penn National Gaming – and Barstool is its foot in the sports betting door. Given the fact that Penn also owns and operates Plainridge Park Casino, Massachusetts, it’s easy to assume that when they legalize sports betting in Massachusetts, Barstool Sportsbook will be a part of the gambling landscape.
This betting site is no stranger to sports betting, as it already operates a daily fantasy sports betting service in Massachusetts. The site was founded in Boston and it is headquartered there. DraftKings is now a hugely popular sports betting site in the US and it will undoubtedly open up in Massachusetts when it is legal to do so.
This sportsbook has had a presence in Massachusetts gaming for a number of years and is headquartered just down the road, In NY. As such, when it does become legal, there will certainly be a plan for FanDuel to open up a sports betting app.
Caesars Entertainment is the biggest US gaming business that currently has no presence of any kind in Massachusetts. It attempted to open a casino in 2013 in Suffolk Downs. However, sports betting is a huge business for the firm and it will certainly look to make Massachusetts sports betting a part of its revenue stream.
Massachusetts Legal Betting Options
Right now, there are no legal sports betting options in the Bay State. So, no matter what gambling venue you head out to – whether it be a racetrack, casino or lottery retailer, you will have no access to legal sports betting.
However, cross the border to New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut or Rhode Island and it’s a different story completely. These states all allow retail and online sports betting – which means that making a bet on sports is just a matter of crossing the border.
Unfortunately, there are some online sports betting sites that claim that they can legally accept sports wagering from all US residents, but as US legal sports betting is licensed at state level, there isn’t even a possibility for any sports betting site to be able to offer legal sports betting to everyone living in the country.
If you do choose to bet at one of these offshore and unregulated online sports betting sites, then you risk the website not paying out your winnings – or closing completely and keeping your money.
This would mean that US citizens would have no legal rights to get their money back.
Massachusetts Casino Gambling
Although sports betting isn’t yet legal in Massachusetts, there are other legal gambling options in the state. Indeed, there are two full-scale casino resorts in Massachusetts and a racino that offers slots. These can be found at…
- Encore Boston Harbor, Everett
- MGM Springfield, Springfield
- Plainridge Park Casino,Plainville
There is also a chance that there could be another location joining the above three in the future, as the Expanded Gaming Act of 2011 allows for three casino resorts. There have been several entities, including federally recognized state tribes, that have attempted to capitalize on this, but nothing has yet materialized.
Online Horse Racing Betting in MA
Horse racing and betting on horse racing is legal in Massachusetts. According to state law, citizens can wager on horses online, through special horse betting sites like TVG.
There is only one location in the state that offers live racing – and pari-mutuel betting and that is Plainridge Park Casino. Between April and November, it offers harness racing. However, it offers simulcast betting and slot games all year long.
There are two other locations that also offer simulcasting – Suffolk Downs and Raynham Park, which were both former tracks. Both of these venues are open every day of the week offering off-track horse race betting for events across the US.
Daily Fantasy Sports Betting Massachusetts
Some may claim that Massachusetts is the capital of Daily Fantasy Sports – and with good reason, as the pioneer of DFS, DraftKings was created in Boston and has its headquarters there. As such 650 of its key personnel are based in Boylston Street and Berkeley Street, in the heart of Boston.
Daily fantasy sports has been legal in the state since 2016 and is now very much a part of everyday life in the state.
Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Massachusetts
It could be argued that Massachusetts is one of the sportiest states in the US- and its residents are generally big sports fans – which is no surprise given the fact that it has teams in all of the four major US Leagues – and residents are passionate about each and every one of them.
NFL sports betting fans will follow the New England Patriots – and they have a huge fan base. There was a real buzz around the team as legendary quarterback Tom Brady led them to Super Bowl after Super Bowl, but whether they enjoy quite the same energy continues with Cam Newman remains to be seen.
Massachusetts MLB sports betting fans will keep up to date with the performance of the Boston Red Sox, retaining their loyal fan base, despite having to wait 86 years to shake off the Curse of the Bambino to win the World Series in 2004. Ever since, the Red Sox have often been strong contenders for a World Series win.
For NBA sports betting fans, they can follow the antics of the Boston Celtics – who are always interesting to follow, last winning the NBA Championship in 2018. NHL fans can keep updated with the form of the Boston Bruins, who last won the Stanley Cup in 2011.
In terms of college sports in Massachusetts, the state has eight DivisionI colleges, two of which play at FBS level… the Boston College Eagles and the UMass Minutemen.
Massachusetts Sports Betting Timeline
Despite numerous sports betting bills being submitted, there was no significant attention or movement on any.
There was an attempt by the House to work sports betting into an economic development bill with fewer than two weeks remaining in the formal session.
The bill received overwhelming support from the House, but unfortunately, the Senate did not share the enthusiasm. After the Senate amended the bill, it included no sports betting language at all.
State Senator Michael Brady, who submitted the sports betting language in the Senate amendment declared that they would be discussing the future of sports betting before 2020 ended. However, there was a lot of resistance in the Senate, which simply couldn’t be overcome. As such, the 2020 session ended with no Massachusetts sports betting bill being passed.
The first half of the year saw increased efforts to pass sports betting legislation. There was a point when 23 different sports betting bills were on file between the Senate and the House. The House finally distilled its movements into bill H 3977. This proposal was passed to the lower chamber after a vote resulted in 156-3-1. Unfortunately, an amendment process and passage in the Senate blocked the legislation in Massachusetts yet again.
The state enjoyed an unexpected budget surplus that year, which led to the disruption of the momentum of the sports betting bills. This was a part of the reason that the Senate President, Karen Spilka put sports betting on the back burner, giving five different issues a higher priority. As such, yet again sports betting legislation petered out and sent supporters back to the drawing board for 2022.
Massachusetts Sports Betting FAQ?
Who Will Be Able to Wager on Sports in Massachusetts?
If we look at the way it has gone in other states, when betting in Massachusetts is legalized it should be open to any over 21 years old that are located within state lines. Although there are some betting options for 18-year-olds including pari-mutuel betting, lottery and DFS, traditional sports betting is usually for those over 21 years of age.
What Can I Legally Bet on in Massachusetts?
At the moment, no traditional sports betting is possible apart from horse racing betting. However, when the bill legalizing sports betting is passed, based on the language, sports betting would be defined as ‘any professional sport or athletic event, collegiate sports or athletic event, motor race event, electronic sports event, competitive video game or any event authorized by the commission under this chapter’. As such, this would include professional sports, college sports and even eSports would be legalized.
Will There Be Any Prohibited Bet Types?
Naturally, yes. It would likely be the case, as with other states, that betting on high school sports in Massachusetts would be prohibited. Moreover, any bets on individual college players are also usually excluded – including in-game bets. Finally, it is usually not allowed to bet on penalties, injuries, player discipline or replay review’ at any sports level. Massachusetts proposed sports betting legislation also explicitly disallows a bettor to purchase or use an athlete’s personal biometric information (such as heart rate, blood pressure or sleep patterns) to help them make a wager.
Will I Be Able to Bet on my Phone when they Legalize Sports Betting Massachusetts?
To date, legalized sports betting is not available in Massachusetts – and so there is no legal way to place bets on your mobile right now. However, numerous offshore sports betting sites claim to legally offer sports betting to all residents of the US. However, sports betting is licensed at state level, not federal level, which means that there is no sports betting site that can accept wagers legally from all US citizens. Your only legal option to place bets on mobile in the state is simply waiting for the state to legalize online sports betting. Hopefully, this will come soon.