Online sports betting in Massachusetts has finally begun. Now that the floodgates are open, bettors in the state should make sure they’re using a legal licensed sportsbook instead of an offshore one.
Offshore companies are unregulated, and they won’t provide the same safe experience as legal sportsbooks in Massachusetts. Regulators have worked hard to ensure that everyone has access to plenty of approved Massachusetts sports betting options.
Legal vs. offshore Massachusetts sportsbooks
Massachusetts bettors now have access to six legal online sportsbooks. These businesses could take in over $4 billion worth of bets during the industry’s first year.
Even more companies will be opening for business shortly. Massachusetts has approved 11 sports betting licenses, so more sportsbooks options are already on the way.
All of these betting apps have gone through the approval process with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). That means they’re following rigorous guidelines to help keep their customers safe.
That runs in stark contrast to offshore sportsbooks, which play by their rules. “Offshore” is essentially slang for “unregulated” in the sportsbook world.
These companies operate in a sort of internet gambling gray market, where they don’t have to follow Massachusetts laws.
Approved Massachusetts sportsbooks offer protection
So when it comes down to it, what’s the difference between using a legal sportsbook instead of an offshore one? A lot of it boils down to player protection.
Let’s say you use an offshore sportsbook to place a longshot bet on the Boston Celtics, and your bet hits! You’re due for a big payday.
You log on to the sportsbook you placed your bet at, but wait, there’s no money in your account. The company never paid you your winnings, and the money you used to place your bet is gone too.
Unfortunately, this is a possibility when you’re using offshore sportsbooks. Since these companies don’t operate under US laws and regulations, they’re under no obligation to actually play by the rules.
You’re putting yourself at risk when you pick an offshore sportsbook over a regulated one in Massachusetts.
Sports betting tax money for Massachusetts
The money from betting at offshore companies doesn’t flow into the state’s economy.
When you place a losing bet, legal betting apps won’t get to pocket every penny of your money. Massachusetts will collect some of it as taxes and then use that money to improve the state.
That’s different from unregulated sportsbooks that don’t send anything back to the community.
Considering that Massachusetts sports betting could eventually handle $5.7 billion of annual sports bets, there’s a lot of money at stake here.
How to tell the difference between legal and offshore sportsbooks
Using a legal approved sportsbook over an offshore one is important, but it’s not always easy to tell which one is which.
Unregulated sportsbooks often market themselves as if they’re approved in states like Massachusetts, when in fact, this is just a deception.
A quick way to spot an illegal gambling company is if the website’s URL includes “.ag” in its name. This is a common reality for many offshore sportsbooks.
However, the easiest way to know for sure if the sportsbook you’re looking at is legal is to check this page. PlayMA has a complete list of every legal sportsbook in Massachusetts, which is constantly updated.
Sports betting is supposed to be fun, but it’s important to stay safe while placing your bets. Approved sportsbooks are the way to go to make that happen, so be sure to avoid offshore companies now that legal online sports betting in Massachusetts has begun.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