You Can Bet on Sports Up to 3 Miles Off the Shore in Massachusetts

Written By Matthew Bain on February 14, 2023
You can bet on sports in Massachusetts 3 miles off the shore, from

Want to bet on sports while boating off the Massachusetts shore? Well, it’s 100% legal.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission made that clear during its open meeting Tuesday. Based on the 1975 US Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Maine, the Massachusetts border actually extends 3 miles into the Atlantic Ocean beyond its shore.

That means that geo-tracking software will still allow you to use Massachusetts sports betting apps in your boat as long as you’re within 3 miles of the shore. That means within 3 miles of the shore for any part of the state — including Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard.

“Yes, people in their boats can bet on their phones if they’re in the water,” said Karen Wells, MGC Executive Director.

Wells discussed nautical betting as part of her presentation on defining the boundaries of Massachusetts. She said geo-location vendors and future MA sportsbooks had been asking for clarification on the what constitutes betting inside Massachusetts. Other than the 3-mile ocean boundary, Wells said the state border dictates land boundaries.

Establishing Massachusetts Tribal Land Boundaries

The MGC also consulted with a tribal law expert to determine the boundaries for the land of the Mashpee Wampanoag and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes. Their land will be marked as separate, sovereign territory for geo-location purposes.

“Out of respect for the tribes, the chair has reached out to both of them so that the lines of communication are open on this process and we honor the sovereignty of the tribe in this respect,” Wells said.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and its ancestors have called southeastern Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island home for more than 12,000 years. The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe is based in the town of Aquinnah, on the southwest tip of Martha’s Vineyard.

Both tribes are in the middle of legal battles to build casinos. If those casinos are ever built, they’d likely house retail sportsbooks.

MORE FROM MGC: Massachusetts Won’t Allow Futures Bets on Individual College Awards

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Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain is the News Content Manager at Catena Media, overseeing news content for the network's highest-priority regional sites. Massachusetts is a young, promising gambling market, so PlayMA is one of his focuses. Prior to joining Catena Media in 2022, Matthew won 10 statewide and national journalism awards during six years as a reporter and editor for the USA TODAY Network. Matthew's work primarily appeared in the Des Moines Register, but he was also featured in the Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star, Arizona Republic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and USA TODAY. Throughout his career, Matthew's bylines have also appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seattle Times, and Orange County Register.

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