Sports Betting Rules in Massachusetts
Betting on sports in Massachusetts is currently illegal. Unlike other states that have legislation heading through their House of Representatives, there are currently no such bills in the Bay State. The Governor, Charlie Baker, indicated in 2019 that he wanted to see the legalization of sports betting by mid-2020 in MA. Other key figures such as Senator Eric Lesser have said that the state government would not commit to that timeline. Many people think that the next major push will occur before the current Legislature adjourns in July 2020.
One of the biggest arguments in favor of legalizing sports betting is the revenue MA stands to gain from players placing bets online. Any players currently wishing to wager need to hop across state borders to New Hampshire or Rhode Island. Both these states have legalized sports betting and they are taking much of the revenue that could instead go to Massachusetts.
Another key reason to legalize gambling in Massachusetts is due to the prolific sports teams based here. Some of the most famous sports teams in the United States call Massachusetts their home. They include the Boston Celtics in the NBA, the New England Patriots in the NFL, and the Boston Red Sox in the MLB. While any legislation does not include college sports, there are also major collegiate teams here such as the 42 varsity sports of Harvard University. By legalizing sports betting in MA, sports books will then be able to offer odds to those who want to support their home teams.
If lawmakers introduce any bills soon with the hopes of changing online gambling laws in MA, you will be able to find updates here on this page.
Which Casinos to Gamble at in Massachusetts
Though Massachusetts has legalized commercial casinos, online ones remain illegal. The 2011 Expanded Gaming Act allowed the Plainridge Park Casino to open a slots parlor in 2015. Two other casinos also opened: the MGM Springfield in 2018 and the Encore Boston Harbor in 2019. The state’s two federally recognized tribes are also working to gain approval for opening casinos under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Anyone hoping to try online gambling in Massachusetts is going to find themselves out of luck. Some sites claim to offer play for all American players, however the state does not advise signing up to or using them. Since the state does not regulate them, there is no guarantee that these sites protect your financial data or that they are safe.
One clause that lawmakers could include in any bills would be unique online licenses that are separate from brick-and-mortar casinos. This would allow online-only casinos to offer their products in the state; giving residents of Massachusetts the chance to play their favorite casino games from the comfort of their own homes. However, this will require changes to an existing law.
Currently, using a telephone for “gaming purposes” is illegal under state laws. If law enforcement officers catch a player placing bets using their telephone, they could face fines of up to $2000 or up to a year in prison. Lawmakers will have to amend this if they want to offer online casino play in Massachusetts, as many people prefer to play on their cell phones.
If a bill to legalize online gambling in Massachusetts gains any traction, you will be able to follow its progress here.
Where to Play Poker in Massachusetts
Just like slots and casino games, the Bay State also bans online poker. Though you might be able to find live poker at brick-and-mortar casinos in Massachusetts, you won’t find it online.
Many online poker sites claim to offer games for American players, however just like with online casinos, the state does not regulate them. The games are not strictly legal and there is always a chance that the site could be a scam. Players also need to remember the law restricting mobile play for “gaming purposes” as it could have some serious ramifications if police catch them playing poker on their smartphones.
If lawmakers include online poker in any bills amending the online gambling laws in MA, you will be able to find updates here.
The Top Daily Fantasy Sports Sites in Massachusetts
Massachusetts was one of the first states to introduce legislation covering daily fantasy sports. DFS are a popular pastime, so it is great to see the Bay State’s residents get access to them. Sign up to one of our top recommended sites to enjoy daily fantasy sports today.
The Journey of Daily Fantasy Sports in Massachusetts
With popular daily fantasy sports provider DraftKings based in Boston, it is unsurprising that players in Massachusetts take advantage of the opportunities offered by these games. In 2016, the attorney general, Maura Healey, created some of the first regulations surrounding fantasy sports in the US. Players can take part in many different sports, but not events including college games. You must be 21+ to take part in daily fantasy sports in Massachusetts.
Many of the DFS providers also offer sportsbooks. If Massachusetts legalizes online sports betting, these fantasy providers might be some of the first locations to offer sports wagers to the public. Since players will already be loyal to certain providers, this is likely to be an easy transition for them as they begin to place sports bets.
How to Play the Lottery in Massachusetts
The state introduced the Massachusetts Lottery in 1971. Unlike other states that set up a separate governing body for their lotteries, a commission in the Bay State manages it. There are several daily and instant games, as well as the multi-jurisdictional games Lucky for Life, Mega Millions, and Powerball. You must be 18+ to buy tickets for the lottery in MA.
Participants can choose to play the Massachusetts Lottery online or they can head to one of the many stores around the state that sell tickets. In addition to tickets for individual draws, players can also purchase season tickets. These allow them to get a set number of draws over a certain period. Players can buy them for both in-state and multi-jurisdictional games. The free VIP clip allows players to participate in second chance draws and receive exclusive news about the lottery.
Other Important Information About Gambling in Massachusetts
Unlike other states that only withhold on lottery prizes over $5000, the Massachusetts Lottery withholds 5% of prizes worth more than $600. The net profit from the lottery goes back to the Commonwealth and they give it directly to local cities for them to use. They have put these profits into parks and recreational projects, school services, and many more programs. In 2019, the lottery in MA returned over $1 billion in net profit to the Commonwealth.
If lawmakers introduce a bill to change sports gambling in Massachusetts, there might also be some changes to the restrictions around DFS. Firstly, control of the regulations would shift from the office of the attorney general to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The state would then require fantasy sports operators to pay $100,000 or 1.5% of their gross revenue in tax. What’s more, players would also take a hit with winners receiving a tax of 15% on their prizes.
The Future of Gambling in Massachusetts
Currently, there is little movement in relation to legalizing online gambling in Massachusetts, but we can expect to see some changes in the next few years. Pressure from neighboring states like New Hampshire and Rhode Island is causing lawmakers in the Bay State to look closely at introducing new laws. The legalization of sportsbooks and online casinos is on the way and you will be able to find coverage of any new bills tackling the matter here.