Massachusetts Online Gambling

Latest Massachusetts online gambling news
The city of Springfield will receive $644,000 in grants to help revitalize the downtown area around MGM Springfield.

Welcome to PlayMA, your source for all the latest on legal Massachusetts online gambling, as well as all other legal gambling options in the Bay State.

Legal sports betting is coming to Massachusetts! Gov. Charlie Baker signed sports betting into law earlier this summer, and regulators are working on setting up the launch. As of November, state officials have a tentative launch timeline slated for early 2023. More specifically, Massachusetts sports gambling could launch at retail casinos in January and online apps could be live by late February if all goes smoothly with the state regulatory process.

Meanwhile, the Bay State is already home to multiple resort casinos, a state-run lottery, wagering on horse racing, and many other forms of legal gambling. Here at PlayMA, you’ll find information about all of the current Massachusetts gambling options and the latest news about what is to come.

Legal Gambling in Massachusetts

Online Casinos

Online casinos are not legal in Massachusetts at this time. The legislative focus with regard to gambling is currently on sports betting, in both online and live formats. To the best of our knowledge, the addition of Massachusetts online casino gambling as a legal activity is not on the horizon at this time.

Right now, the best options for Bay Staters who want to play online casino-style games are social casinos. These sites allow you to play slots and table games. Social sites like Pulsz Slots and Casino allow you to play a variety of different casino-style games for fun. Meanwhile sites like Chumba Casino, LuckyLand Slots and Funzpoints offer the chance to win cash prizes for your play.

Online Poker

Online poker is not legal in Massachusetts right now. In fact, because of the lower profits for gambling providers and taxing authorities, it is less likely that Bay Staters will see online poker options before online casinos debut, and online casinos aren’t even in the discussion right now.

In the meantime, you can avail yourself of some social casino options. These sites let you play poker with people across the country. A good option for this kind of action is Global Poker. Global is a sister site to Chumba Casino and LuckyLand Slots and has plenty of options. You can play No Limit Texas Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Crazy Pineapple and, Pot Limit Omaha High/Low (aka Eight or Better).

Sports Betting

Gov. Charlie Baker signed the Massachusetts sports betting bill into law on Aug. 10, 2022. The market is expected to be busy when MA sports gambling launches, as the state will feature both retail and mobile sports betting. While an official launch date has not been announced, we expect Massachusetts sports betting to launch in the coming months. Retail betting could launch as soon as January 2023, while MA online gambling could launch in late February or early March. This would mean that MA sports fans could be able to bet on both the Super Bowl and March Madness in some capacity.

The state’s three casinos and three simulcast wagering facilities could each have retail sportsbooks. Those locations will be allowed to partner with operators to launch Massachusetts mobile sports betting apps as well, with the state ultimately able to have as many as 15 online sports betting sites.

At full capacity, the Massachusetts sports betting market will present users with plenty of options and flexibility.

 

Lottery

The Massachusetts Lottery is one of the older options for legal gambling in the state, selling its first ticket in 1972. Players have multiple options, as there are several draw games that you can play, including Powerball, Mega Millions and Megabucks. All of these regularly feature jackpots in excess of $1 million.

In addition, you can play the Numbers Game and Mass Cash if you want some options a bit closer to home. The Massachusetts Lottery also sells dozens of instant win games. Keep in mind that you cannot play any of these games online. Although the commission does offer a lottery app, it’s only an informational tool rather than a method to purchase tickets online.

Horse Betting

One of the most common types of online gambling in any state is horse betting. Federal legislation from 2000 and an exemption in 2006’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act rendered betting on horse racing legal at the federal level and up to each state to decide. Like the majority of states, horse betting in Massachusetts is legal.

There are a host of horse betting sites available to Bay State residents, but one of the best options is TVG. TVG is one of the most flexible places to handicap horses, but its other features are what set the site apart. TVG is actually a broadcast network with an attached horse betting site, and the broadcasts are dedicated to horse racing around the clock.

Daily Fantasy Sports

Daily fantasy sports contests have a particularly deep connection in Massachusetts. One of the major DFS companies, DraftKings, launched in Boston and retains its corporate headquarters in the Back Bay area. The only shock about Massachusetts’ legalization of DFS in 2016 was that it wasn’t the first state to do so — in fact, by then seven others had beaten the Bay State to the punch.

It doesn’t really matter, though. DFS is alive and well as a legitimate activity in Massachusetts, and is a standard activity for many of its residents. You can play on DraftKings, FanDuel or any of the other legitimate providers. Both DraftKings and FanDuel are expected to be among the first sportsbooks to launch in Massachusetts when sports betting goes live.

Safe And Legal Massachusetts Gambling Options

As of this time, MA sports gambling has not yet launched, but the industry is expected to go live in the coming months. In fact, retail sports betting in Massachusetts could be live by January 2023. MA mobile sports betting apps could launch in late February or early March. Keep in mind this is just a tentative timeline and is subject to change.

While Bay Staters have to wait a little longer for legal sports betting, there are some other gaming options out there in the meantime. A few specific avenues for placing a bet, such as daily fantasy sports (DFS) and online horse betting, are already clarified as legal under the law.

In terms of Massachusetts online gambling, activities such as online slots and table games are unregulated and not permitted at this time. Any online casino, poker site, or sportsbook that accepts Bay Staters right now is operating illegally in the state and is actually based offshore. These sites come with many risks, and you should be sure to avoid them for multiple reasons:

  • Transparency: With these sites, you cannot be sure about the motivations and impartiality of the site you choose. Remember — you will have to surrender your personal ID and banking data in order to play.
  • Protection: If you go offshore to gamble, a site might run a crooked game or refuse to honor your withdrawal requests, and there would be little you can do about it. These sites are not beholden to the US legal system or a US regulator and are not bound, necessarily, to the same level of ethical standards. This makes them especially risky to use.
  • Security: You are putting your personal information in transit to servers thousands of miles away, and there are plenty of opportunities for hackers and other criminals to attempt an interception along the way.

Finding A Legitimate Massachusetts Betting Site

When it comes to Massachusetts online gambling, there are many ways in which you can tell the difference between a legal gambling site and an illegal offshore gambling site. For the time being, it’s pretty easy. In Massachusetts, if a site is offering online casino games, online poker, or sports betting, then it’s offshore. Those three activities are not legal in Massachusetts at this time. Sports betting is technically legal, but licensed sportsbooks have yet to launch. Licensed and registered sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuel have much more security and are regulated by multiple governing bodies to ensure they are safe to use.

For now, you’ll need to be able to differentiate the legitimate sites from the illegitimate ones. There are four things you can do to confirm a site’s legitimacy.

  1. Look for some sort of mention of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). Any legitimate site will have to answer to Mass Gaming — there’s no two ways about it. You can also look for the commission logo, which you can see an example of on the right. Illegal and offshore gaming sites do not have to answer to any sort of regulating body, which makes them extremely risky.
  2. There should be a US-based address in the site’s contact details. Preferably, the address is inside Massachusetts, but anywhere in the US is fine. This requirement is evidence of a company’s adherence to US laws, as well as its obligations under the appropriate regulatory bodies.
  3. Check the Massachusetts Gaming Commission website. Regulation is a two-way street, and while legitimate sites are going to mention the MGC, you can be sure that the MGC is going to mention the sites that it monitors.
  4. Contact Mass Gaming directly. You can either use a response form or scroll down to the bottom of the page for the phone number and email address. Either way, the commission is going to know who can offer online gambling in the state and who cannot. You may not need to take this particular step, but if you want to be absolutely sure, reach out to the regulators to find out if a site’s for real and truly legit.

Latest Massachusetts Sports Betting Updates

Like many states, Massachusetts has a history with legal gambling that stretches back for decades. Massachusetts sports betting legislation has been in the works only in recent years, but MA sports betting is closer to becoming a reality than ever before. Here are some of the more recent relevant dates for the history of gambling in Massachusetts:

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Senate passes an amended H3993 and sets up negotiations with the state House to reach an agreed upon bill. On Aug. 1, both the House and Senate pass a compromise sports betting bill that now awaits Gov. Baker’s signature. 

Later in August, Gov. Baker signed the Massachusetts sports betting bill into law. A tentative time frame for the MA sports betting launch was announced in the fall. If all goes to plan, MA retail sports betting could start as soon as January 2023, with MA mobile betting apps following in late February or early March.

FAQ

For the most part, no. Online casinos, poker and sports betting remain illegal activities in Massachusetts. The gambling activity closest to launching is MA sports betting. However, it is still several months away from launching. The only options that you have at the moment are horse betting and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS).

Not yet. Sports betting is not legal in Massachusetts at this time. For now, Bay Staters will have to wait for licensed and regulated sportsbooks to launch in their state. That could still be a couple months away. States in close proximity to Massachusetts, such as New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have all implemented sports betting.

Gov. Baker signed the Massachusetts sports betting bill into law in the summer of 2022. State legislators are in the process of establishing the rules and regulations for the industry in the state. Earlier this fall, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) released a tentative timeline for the MA sports betting launch that would see retail betting start in January 2023. Mobile betting would follow in February or March. Keep in mind that this timeline is unofficial and subject to change.

Yes. As of October, six retail facilities are in the market for retail sports betting licenses in Maryland. The six facilities looking to gain retail licensure are the state’s three retail casinos (MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, Plainridge Park Casino) and three simulcast/racing facilities. All six retail facilities are eligible to apply for in-person and mobile licenses under the Massachusetts sports betting law.

You will need to be 21 years of age or older in order to participate in most gambling activities. You must be 21 to play at Massachusetts casinos, and sports betting will require players to be this age or older as well. The only exceptions are the lottery and horse betting, which require players to be 18 or older.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) oversees all gambling activity in the state. Mass Gaming regulates every bit of gambling in the state and will do so for any future gambling expansions.

Resources

If gambling is a problem for you, there are multiple resources available in Massachusetts around the clock, and every minute you spend in recovery is a minute you didn’t lose gambling.

Responsible gambling services in Massachusetts begins with the Office of Problem Gambling Services (OPG), a division of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The OPG provides crisis services to problem gamblers and training assistance for those who care for problem gamblers. If you want to explore options for problem gambling treatment, you can contact the OPG at the Massachusetts Problem Gambling Helpline at (800) 327-5050, or reach out through the live chat function on the helpline website. Alternatively, you can also reach out to the Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health, which maintains its own helpline at (800) 426-1234 and a live chat function on its website.

Massachusetts also maintains a voluntary self-exclusion list. The state-run program bars you from patronizing any gambling locations inside Massachusetts. Placing yourself on the list will render you unable to play at these venues and subject to various forfeitures if you are caught doing so. Your time on the list can range from six months to the rest of your life.

Another great resource is the MGM GameSense page, which offers state-specific information. The site aims to “keep gambling fun with tips and information for casino guests.” MGM Springfield in Massachusetts promotes responsible gambling as well, offering problem gambling help both in-house and on their official website.

Massachusetts is home to two Native American tribes that qualify as federally recognized entities:

  • Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
  • Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)

So far, only the Mashpees have moved to secure a compact with the folks in Boston. Although the tribe only received federal recognition in 2007, it has moved quickly to declare some 300 acres near Taunton as its reservation lands. This declaration has come under considerable fire from the government, including a 2020 effort by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to remove the reservation designation from the lands. However, now that those challenges appear to be over, the Mashpees are moving forward with their plans for the First Light Casino & Resort, a full-scale casino that will serve as the Region C property under the Expanded Gaming Act.

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), meanwhile, has not been as dogged in its pursuit of an agreement with the state. Instead, it has moved to create a bingo facility on tribal lands. Of course, the government sued this tribe, too — this time, it was the city government of Aquinnah — claiming that a 1983 land agreement nullified the tribe’s ability to offer gambling. After some arguing in court, the tribe prevailed in 2018 and began moving forward with its plans. However, the town remained undeterred and has kept the project tied up in court ever since with any issues that it could find. It now appears that the tribe will be able to build the venue, albeit with some approvals from the powers that be.

If you want or need more information about online gambling in Massachusetts, there are plenty of resources available. For additional information, you can visit any of the links below to find out more:

The state’s legal gambling locations are the following:

  • Encore Boston Harbor (Class III)
  • MGM Springfield (Class III)
  • Plainridge Park Casino (Class II)
  • Raynham Park (Off-track betting)
  • Suffolk Downs (Off-track betting)
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