When the clock strikes 10 a.m. on the East Coast on Friday, online sports betting is officially legal in Massachusetts.
Six apps will launch Friday in Massachusetts. They are:
- Caesars Sportsbook
- Barstool Sportsbook
Betr plans to launch in late March or April. Two more apps — Bally Bet and Fanatics Sportsbook — will launch in May. A 10th sportsbook, Betway, will launch in January 2024.
As long as they’re 21 or older and physically located within Massachusetts state boundaries, anyone in the Commonwealth will be 100% allowed to place sports wagers online via their computers or mobile devices.
How popular will online sports betting be in MA?
According to PlayMA projections, 87% of the total Massachusetts sports betting handle will take place online.
That means 13% will still happen at the three Massachusetts casinos — Encore Boston Harbor (WynnBET), MGM Springfield (BetMGM) and Plainridge Park Casino (Barstool Sportsbook). But those retail sportsbooks, which opened Jan. 31, will drive handles that pale in comparison to what their online counterparts generate.
In all, Massachusetts law allows for 15 online sportsbooks. So far, only 10 have claimed licenses.
Of the five remaining, three must be tethered to a retail gambling location (MGM Springfield, Raynham Park, Suffolk Downs) and two are untethered. Caesars Sportsbook will open a retail sportsbook at Raynham Park later in 2023, but it’s already using one of Encore Boston Harbor’s tethered online licenses.
Important things to remember as MA sportsbook apps go live
- You cannot use credit cards to make deposits. Preferred methods include debit cards and online banking.
- You cannot bet on in-state colleges, unless those colleges compete in a tournament with at least four teams.
- You can bet on sports up to 3 miles off the Massachusetts shore. March Madness on the Atlantic Ocean, anyone?
- You cannot bet on esports, cornhole, jai alai, chess or certain Olympic sports.
- You can bet on the Oscars (March 12).
- You can find all the welcome offers available on our Massachusetts sports betting promos page.
- You do not have to register for MA sportsbook apps in-person at a retail casino.
- You can download and use as many sports betting apps as you’d like, and you can claim as many sportsbook bonuses as you’d like. However, you can only claim the welcome offer at each sportsbook once.
- You have to be 21 or older to place bets using any MA sports betting app.
How much revenue will MA sports betting generate?
According to PlayMA‘s projections, a fully mature Massachusetts sports betting market could drive as much as $5.7 billion in total bets. It could take a couple years for Massachusetts to become a fully mature market.
Depending on how state regulators decide regarding whether sportsbooks can write off promotional credits for their taxes, that $5.7 billion in handle could lead to $56-87 million in sports betting tax revenue.
In 2023, PlayMA projects Massachusetts will generate $4.2 billion in sports betting handle.
What comes next?
After Bally Bet and Fanatics Sportsbook launch in May, the next domino to fall in the MA sports betting saga is to find out when Caesars Sportsbook at Raynham Park will open.
Then, will Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs give their tethered online licenses to a sportsbook? Who? Bet365 was originally slated to use Raynham Park’s online license, but it pulled out of that deal. BetRivers was expected to use Suffolk Downs’ online license, but it never even applied.
Will MGM Springfield give its second tethered online license to a sportsbook? Who?
From 2016 to launch day: How we got here
The long road to legalizing Massachusetts online sportsbooks began back in 2016. That’s when the state government took the steps to officially legalize daily fantasy sports in the Commonwealth, making it a regulated activity.
Then, in 2018, a huge domino fell. Congress repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, better known as PASPA. This ended the US federal ban on sports betting and opened the door for legalization on a state-by-state level. (Of course, retail sports betting had been legal in Nevada since 1949.)
Massachusetts lawmakers tried to be among the first to legalize sports betting. In 2019, Senator Brendan Crighton introduced S201 to do just that, but the bill failed to make it out of committee. Meanwhile, Delaware launched sports betting in June 2018 and New Jersey followed suit a week later.
In 2021, state lawmakers again tried to get sports betting on the table with two separate bills. Both, however failed to gain any traction, and legislators were forced to retreat back to the drawing board.
Finally, some progress in 2022
The Massachusetts House and Senate each passed their own respective sports betting bills in 2022. But they struggled to compromise on many of the key issues. Most notably, the House wanted no limitations on college sports betting, and the Senate wanted an outright ban.
Then, in literally the final moments of the 2022 legislative session, the House and Senate reached an agreement and sent a unified bill to Gov. Charlie Baker to sign in the summer. The main compromise? Massachusetts residents can’t bet on in-state college teams, unless they’re in a tournament with at least four teams.
Baker signed the bill on Aug. 10, 2022, officially legalizing sports betting.
From there, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission sifted its way through regulation after regulation, making sure MA sports betting would launch without a hitch. Retail sportsbooks opened on Jan. 31. And after weeks of discussion, the MGC approved 10 online operators to launch their mobile sportsbooks in Massachusetts.
Now, here we are, one day from March 10.If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 1-800-327-5050 or visit www.mahelpline.org/problemgambling to speak with a trained specialist for free, 24/7