How Massachusetts Sports Betting Will Work

After years on the sidelines, Massachusetts legal sports betting will soon be live. Lawmakers came to an 11th-hour agreement for legislation earlier this summer, soon allowing those in MA to place wagers either on their mobile devices or at the state’s casino and simulcast facility locations.

The question now is: When will Massachusetts sports betting launch? The answer is unclear. No launch date has yet been set for MA sports betting.

This page is your resource for everything happening with retail and online sports betting in Massachusetts, from the status of the rules to how sports betting will work in Massachusetts.

Check back for more updates, and PlayMA will pass them along when they are available.

Is Sports Betting Legal In Massachusetts?

Technically yes, but the industry has yet to launch in the state and bets are not currently being accepted. Sports betting is now legal in Massachusetts, but the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is still sorting out all of the rules and regulations.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed the Massachusetts sports betting bill into law on Aug. 10, nine days after lawmakers in the Senate and House compromised on a bill.

Multiple bills had previously been considered during recent years by the Massachusetts Legislature, but while most received support from the House, they always died in the MA Senate.

When Will Massachusetts Launch Sports Betting?

Hopefully soon! Sports betting in Massachusetts has been approved, but no official launch date has been announced. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is working on the rules and regulations for licensing. As of September, it is looking like Massachusetts could launch sports betting in late 2022 or early 2023. We should know further launch details about when the legal sports betting market will launch in the coming weeks.

Earlier this summer, regulators released a Notice of Intent document for prospective sports betting operators to join the market. In total, more than 40 sports betting platforms applied. The laws allow for 15 online sports betting operators: Two licensed by each of the three state gaming facilities, and one apiece from each of the state’s two horse racing simulcast facilities. The final seven will be licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

When the industry launches, we expect some of the top sportsbook apps in the country to make their way to Massachusetts. These include BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel, among others.

The wheels are definitely turning, but there are still all sorts of licensing and regulatory hoops to crawl through before operators go live.

Thus, don’t expect to see legal sports betting until later in 2022 at the earliest.

Can I Bet At Sports Betting Kiosks?

As of now, there’s no clear sign as to whether or not sports betting kiosks will be permitted within the framework of MA regulations.

Massachusetts law requires a study of sports betting kiosks be conducted by Dec. 31 of this year that addresses their potential impact on everything from the local economy to public health.

Sportsbook Apps Coming To Massachusetts

While we might not know when sports betting will be live in Massachusetts at this time, we do have a decent idea of which sportsbooks will be involved when the industry launches. We know these players because they either already have operations in Massachusetts of some sort, or they are common among the vanguard of sports betting apps that launch early in new states. In fact, some of them fit both descriptions.

Plans call for 15 Massachusetts sports betting apps. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the top names that we expect to go live in Massachusetts. Others will join them.

SportsbookPartnerLicense
Bally BetTBDOnline
BarstoolPlainridge Park CasinoRetail/online
Bet365TBDOnline
BetMGMMGM SpringfieldRetail/online
BetRiversTBDOnline
CaesarsTBDOnline
DraftKingsTBDOnline
FanaticsTBDOnline
FanDuelTBDOnline
PointsBetTBDOnline
WynnBetEncore Boston HarborRetail/online

DraftKings Sportsbook

Sports betting in Massachusetts is most certainly going to involve the DraftKings Sportsbook app. There’s no doubt about that. For starters, it was founded in and maintains its corporate headquarters in Boston. DraftKings has also served as one of the top daily fantasy sports providers in Massachusetts since its inception in 2012. Since then, it’s established itself as one of the top sportsbooks in the country through its combination of aggressive expansion and solid app design. The folks in green and black are not about to have sports betting proceed outside their office windows without their own involvement.

FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Online Sportsbook is certain to come to Massachusetts when the state begins sports betting. For one thing, like its perennial nemesis, DraftKings, FanDuel has offered daily fantasy sports contests in Massachusetts for many years now. It is headquartered just down the road from MA in New York City, too. FanDuel has been at the forefront of new launches since sports betting began spreading in 2018, and there’s no reason to assume that it would miss out on a debut in its own backyard.

BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM Sportsbook would be a good bet to launch in Massachusetts on its brand name alone. The sports betting wing of two of the world’s largest gambling companies (MGM Resorts and Entain) has enough brand recognition to be a success in most new areas. However, what pushes BetMGM over the top is the fact that MGM Resorts owns and operates one of the two full-service casino locations in Massachusetts. MGM Springfield has been open for just a few years, but its presence makes the addition of sports betting a natural fit for everyone involved. Folks in the state can look forward to a sleek app that offers the Edit My Bet function — a feature that allows more flexibility with open bets than almost any other app on the market.

WynnBet Sportsbook

WynnBet certainly has a recognizable name and pedigree, but its debut as a sportsbook is more recent than you might imagine. As such, it likely cannot enter new markets with as much abandon as some of the other companies on this list just yet. However, WynnBET is a surefire member of the Massachusetts sports betting fraternity because of the presence of Encore Boston Harbor. The casino resort, one of only two in Massachusetts, is an ideal hub for the fledgling sportsbook should the state finally decide to move forward with sports betting.

Barstool Sportsbook

Barstool Sportsbook may not immediately ring any bells if you haven’t kept up with gambling or sports betting in recent years. However, this company is the sports betting brand for Penn Entertainment, a large gambling company with many properties across the US. One of those properties is the slots parlor at Plainridge Park, which is the reason that we’re certain Barstool will debut in Massachusetts should sports betting come to pass. Barstool blends the solid technology platform that Penn National offers with the edginess of its namesake blog, so if you’re looking for a “cool” sportsbook app, this one might be the winner.

Caesars Sportsbook

Although there is nothing particularly flashy about the Caesars Sportsbook app, you are unlikely to find a bet that you cannot make because of the deep histories of both sources. The only thing working against an assured Caesars launch is the fact that the company does not have any properties in Massachusetts. However, there are Caesars locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, so it’s not like the company is a stranger to the Northeast. It just doesn’t have that toehold in the subject state that has proven vital in other sports betting locales.

BetRivers Sportsbook

BetRivers is the sportsbook division of Rush Street Interactive, the same company behind the Rivers brand of casinos. Although there are no Rivers casinos in Massachusetts, there are locations in nearby New York and Pennsylvania, so it’s quite possible that Massachusettsans have dealt with this company before. Rush Street’s decidedly Northeastern bent is the main reason why a launch in Massachusetts would make sense. The app is clean in its design, and BetRivers Sportsbook offers a dynamic loyalty program for sports bettors called iRush Rewards.

Bet365 Sportsbook

Bet365 Sportsbook is a leading European brand that is the go-to platform for many serious soccer fans in the United Kingdom. Massachusetts could be a chance for Bet365 to improve its standing in the US market.

BetFanatics Sportsbook

BetFanatics Sportsbook could be one of the New Kids on the Block (excuse our MA homage there) for the sports betting game in Massachusetts.  The apparel company is coming to sports betting in a major way, and Massachusetts is a chance for the company to get on the starting line.

PointsBet Sportsbook

The Australian PointsBet Sportsbook has gone to great lengths to have a strong local presence wherever it goes. How that manifests in MA remains to be seen, though you can imagine PointsBet will be looking to affordable partnership deals with entities you may be familiar with.

Bally Bet Sportsbook

Another relative newcomer to the scene, Bally Bet Sportsbook could look to expand on its well-known casino and sports network brand names with a foray into Massachusetts. However, since Boston teams play on NESN and NBC Sports Boston and not a Bally-branded regional sports network, Bally Bet doesn’t appear as natural a fit as some other states.

How To Get Started At A Massachusetts Sportsbook

Although sports betting isn’t active in Massachusetts just yet, we’re confident that the procedure for being able to bet will be the same as it is elsewhere. So, when Massachusetts finally allows online sports betting, these are the steps you’ll take to begin wagering. From start to finish, this should take no more than 15 minutes at the very most, and it will likely be much faster than that.

  1. Download and install using one of our affiliate links
  2. Register
  3. Deposit
  4. Place your bets

1. Download and install

The first step is to get the app onto your mobile device. If you’re using a laptop or desktop computer, then you’ll be able to access the site through your browser. In either case, your first step will be to navigate to the sportsbook of your choice. Note any sports betting bonus codes that the sportsbook offers. You’ll want to ensure that you enter such codes accurately and with the proper capitalization when prompted.

Once you are at the sportsbook site, you will see the logos for the two main formats of mobile devices. Whether you use an Apple product or an Android device, you will see a button for your format. Select the appropriate button, and follow the prompts from there to complete the download.

After you initiate the download, the app will install itself on your device. Don’t worry; the sports betting sites that we recommend are legal and highly regulated, so you don’t have to be concerned that you’re installing a virus or an otherwise compromised application.

2. Register

The next step is to create your account on the app itself. Open the app and look for a prominent button in the upper portion of the display. For the most part, there will be side-by-side buttons for logging into the app and registering for a new account. However, on occasion, you’ll find a site that only has a button for logging in. If that’s the case, then go ahead and press it, and look for language on the ensuing screen that says something like “First time here?” or “Sign up.” In either case, you will proceed to the app’s registration screen or screens.

Once you reach the registration area, you will find several blanks that ask you for your personal details and information. Typically, you’ll have to provide your legal name, email address, date of birth, phone number, mailing address, and either all or a portion of your Social Security number. Additionally, you will have to designate a username and password so that you can log in to your account in the future. Make sure to choose secure options for both of these elements, as your account will store some sensitive information and fund.

Lastly, if you copied down a sports betting bonus code from this site, look for a box that asks you to enter such a code. It is usually the only optional element on the page, so it should be fairly easy to find.

After you finish all of the blanks, hit the appropriate button to submit your information and create your Massachusetts sports betting account.

3. Deposit

Depending on which app you’ve chosen, you’ll end up in one of two places when you submit your information to register. You’ll either default into the main lobby, or you’ll automatically be deposited, no pun intended, at the app’s cashier. Either way, it’s hard to bet on sports without money, so the next step in the procedure is to fund your account.

The good news is that a sportsbook app cannot exist without deposits, either, so most sports betting apps go out of their way to offer as many ways to put money into your account as possible. Common methods include credit cards, debit cards, e-checks, electronic wallets like PayPal or Skrill, prepaid cards, wire transfers, and online banking. Some of them might even offer in-person ways to deposit, particularly if your chosen app is part of a company with a land-based casino in the state.

Because you are likely to have choices for the apps that you use, selecting an app because (in part) it has deposit and withdrawal options that work for you is perfectly legitimate. After all, an app is useless to you if you cannot move money around on it. As you deposit, you may find a blank for a promo code once again. If you know that a welcome bonus or bonuses affect your deposit, make sure to enter the code in the box here, too.

Use the deposit method that works best for you. However, for many people, the preferred method is their credit card. Credit cards do work, but be aware that many issuing banks — including some of the largest ones, such as Bank of America and Chase — do not permit deposits onto gambling websites. On top of that, even if your bank does allow a deposit to a gambling site, it might (correctly) charge you a cash advance fee — and those can be quite steep, depending on the bank. So make sure to check with your financial institution if you are planning to use your credit card for your gambling.

4. Place your bets!

Once you’ve made your first deposit, it’s time to place that first bet. Head back to the app’s main lobby to see your options and betting odds. For the most part, sportsbook apps will list popular sports, then all of the sports that you can bet on, in the left column of the lobby. In the center, you will see betting options for games that are live, the book’s featured games, and/or the day’s boosted odds. In order to wager, simply select the button corresponding to your desired wager. The right side of the display contains the bet slip, which will automatically populate with your selections. If you want to make your wagers a parlay or exercise a cash-out option (when available), you’ll do so here.

Massachusetts Sportsbook Bonuses and Promos

One of the key differences between betting on sports at a traditional sportsbook and betting on an app is the presence of bonuses and promotions. Some land-based sportsbooks will have a promo from time to time, but they are an everyday must-have for the online apps you’ll see in Massachusetts. The reason for these promos is simple — the competition is only a click away.

Online books are always offering deals for new and existing players. Some of the best sportsbook bonuses include daily odds boosts, weekly bonus offers, or special events, to name a few. Here are the various types of bonuses and promos that you might encounter once legal Massachusetts online sports betting arrives:

  • No deposit: No deposit bonuses mean the sportsbook will put money right into your account. Usually, the only thing you have to give in return is to register on the site. After you submit your information, you’ll see the money already waiting in your account to play. These bonuses are most common for new players and are sometimes called welcome bonuses. Although “welcome bonus” can also be an umbrella term for the package of bonuses that new players get.
  • Deposit: Deposit bonuses commit the sportsbook to match all or a portion of your next deposit. The percentage and the total dollars you can receive varies from promotion to promotion, but it’s a good way to double your money without betting — some of it, anyway. Some apps also call these bonuses “match” or “reload” bonuses, but they all work in similar ways.
  • Risk-free: Up to a certain percentage and a certain point, the book will issue a refund for any losses you suffer from the specified bet(s) or timeframe. Books will sometimes call these bonuses “cash back,” “insurance” or “refund” bonuses, so be aware if you see one of these terms. Some operators, like FanDuel, are phasing out “risk-free” language as it’s not really accurate.
  • Loyalty programs: Loyalty, or reward, programs are the only type of bonus consistently available at both online and land-based sportsbooks. For this type of bonus, you receive a certain number of rewards points for every dollar that you wager at the book, regardless of whether you win or lose. These points determine your placement on a tiered system, and each successive tier yields various perks, benefits, and rewards for achieving it. An example familiar to those in Massachusetts is the BetMGM Rewards (formerly “M life”) program at MGM Springfield. You can sometimes redeem points for other goodies in special stores that the sites keep, too. Joining the program is always free, and is often automatic if you’re playing online. In the case of sportsbooks with both live and online versions, you can usually accrue points for either type of play. For the case of MGM Springfield, you may have to later meld your online BetMGM rewards account with your account from the Springfield casino.
  • Odds boosts: Odds boosts are quite common as a way for sportsbooks to promote various games or wagers that they want people to bet on. For bets with boosted odds, the sportsbook will simply adjust the payout ratio slightly in favor of the player. It’s never enough to break the bank — usually no more than a 25% increase or so. Naturally, the boosted games change on a daily basis, so you’ll often find odds boosts in their own section on the site for easy access. While sports betting hasn’t launched in Massachusetts yet, it’s important to remember that there will be fine print with terms and conditions to keep in mind for each offer. This is common among all US sportsbooks when it comes to promos.

Read the fine print for sportsbook bonuses

There are, however, a couple of things to mention about the way that sportsbooks dole out these offers and promos. The first thing to realize is that it is quite uncommon for any of your rewards to come in the form of straight cash. Most of the time, the book will send you site credits in the promised amount or free bet vouchers that total up to the bonus. In either case, you will have to bet with them before you can withdraw them.

Many bonuses come with a playthrough requirement or a wagering requirement. This requires you to wager a certain multiple of your bonus amount before the actual bonus becomes yours as cash. Otherwise, it stays in your account as withheld funds or, after a time, reverts back to the sportsbook. The multiples can be as low as 1x and as high as 50x. Needless to say, the higher the playthrough multiplier, the harder it is to get your money and/or not lose more than you stand to gain in the process. In addition, sportsbook bonuses often come with an expiration date. It can be seven days or 30 days, for example, but it gives you a timeframe for how long you have to clear the playthrough requirement.

Consider the logistics of redeeming a bonus offer carefully before you accept it — many a bettor has come to regret chasing after a particular bonus before.

Massachusetts Retail Casinos And Sportsbooks: Where To Bet On Sports

There’s something to be said for gambling in person. The ambiance of gambling locations is hard to replicate through a mobile device. Sportsbooks in casinos are fascinating places, with wall-to-wall televisions several stories high and numberous display boards with various bets in lights. It’s understandable, then, if you are curious about where you’ll be able to bet on sports in person in Massachusetts once things get underway. Although we cannot say for certain about the locations, the following places are the most likely candidates to host sportsbooks in the future:

  • Encore Boston Harbor: 1 Broadway, Everett, MA 02149
  • MGM Springfield: One MGM Way, Springfield, MA 01103
  • Plainridge Park Casino: 301 Washington St., Plainville, MA 02762

In the meantime, nearby Connecticut launched its own full-service online gambling market, complete with online sports betting, casinos, and poker. New York followed suit in early-2022, meaning Massachusetts now has three adjoining states with legislation on the books, including Rhode Island.

Popular Sports Teams To Bet On In Massachusetts

Massachusetts is small on land area but not on population, so it’s no surprise that multiple sports teams call the state home. In fact, some of the most storied and successful franchises in all the sports reside in and around Boston. With so much history ingrained into the very culture of the region, sports bettors in Massachusetts are undoubtedly eager to place wagers on their favorite teams. Here are the relevant squads in Massachusetts, along with a few notes about how to bet on them.

NFL

Massachusetts’ NFL franchise is one of the best-known teams in the league and one of its most successful. Since 2002, the Patriots have racked up six Super Bowl wins, tying them with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most ever by any one team. Although the Pats play in Foxborough, roughly equidistant between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, and seem to represent the entire geographic region, there’s no denying that the team belongs to the folks in Boston.

  • New England Patriots: Gillette Stadium, 1 Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA 02035

Betting on NFL games is simple and straightforward. Almost every game features plenty of scoring, which makes the oddsmakers’ jobs to offer multiple types of wagers much easier. In addition to all the standard bets, look for several proposition and in-game wagers during Pats’ games. Both team statistics and individual accomplishments are common fodder.

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NBA

Few basketball teams can boast the level of accomplishment that the Boston Celtics have attained. Aside from the Los Angeles Lakers, no other NBA franchise has brought home more championship hardware than the boys in white and green. Celtics history is populated by some of the biggest names ever to play the game — Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Kevin Garnett, and, of course, Larry Bird are just a sample of some of the all-time greats who have donned a Celtics uniform.

  • Boston Celtics: TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, MA 02114

Like NFL games, NBA games are easy to bet on due to the fact that they are rife with scoring and statistics. Every single Celtics game will come with a plethora of options for betting on either team and most or all of the players involved. One common wager is the outcome of individual quarters of play. Even if the Celtics are coming out on the short end of the stick, “winning” a quarter can be enough to put some extra cash in your pocket or hedge against those full-game wagers going up in flames.

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MLB

Against the backdrop of those first two teams mentioned, a Massachusetts baseball team has some awfully big shoes to fill. Thankfully, the state’s MLB team is one of the league’s best known franchises in its own right. The Boston Red Sox are so famous that even their stadium is known to many non-baseball fans, especially for its large green wall in left field.

  • Boston Red Sox: Fenway Park, 4 Jersey St., Boston, MA 02215

It is quite common for baseball games to be decided by a single run. For that reason, oddsmakers use the “run line” rather than the point spread. This hybrid wager sets the spread at a concrete 1.5 runs but varies the payout ratios more like a moneyline bet. It’s still a spread bet — meaning that the determinant is whether the favorite beats the line or the underdog covers. However, the smaller separations mean that it’s not uncommon for an MLB moneyline favorite to be less likely to beat the spread, thus making the team’s run line payout a positive number.

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NHL

Hockey is never going to be the draw that the big three sports in the US are, but there are still rabid and loyal followers of the sport in many areas of the country. One of those areas is Massachusetts, likely because of its far colder winters than destinations farther south. Thus, it’s no surprise that Boston is home to an NHL team and no surprise that that team is one of the better clubs in the league. The Bruins have six Stanley Cups to their name and added the most recent one in 2011.

  • Boston Bruins: TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, MA 02114

Although periods of play are more distinct in hockey than in baseball, the game on ice shares the same scoring paucity as America’s Pastime. Thus, oddsmakers have a similar difficulty in setting point spreads for hockey games as baseball games. A similar problem often calls for a similar solution, and, accordingly, the books use the “puck line,” a bet identical and analogous to baseball’s run line.

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NCAA

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the various colleges and universities native to Massachusetts. Although most of them are not athletic powerhouses, schools like UMass and Boston College have had their share of memorable moments and great players. Football players like Doug Flutie, Luke Kuechly and Victor Cruz all went to college in Massachusetts. Likewise, NBA stars like Julius Erving, Bob Cousy and Marcus Camby each matriculated at MA schools. Here are the Massachusetts schools that play NCAA Division I basketball:

  • Boston College
  • Harvard University
  • UMass Amherst
  • Boston University 
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Northeastern University

After all the disagreements, college basketball betting and college football betting will be permitted, but in-state universities will be singled out as protected institutions. This means you won’t be able to bet on Boston College odds, BU odds, Harvard odds or UMass basketball odds, but that could change.

What’s Next For Legal Sports Betting In Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is meeting regularly, and we will keep you posted at PlayMA with their updates, including any launch date announcement.

If you are a hopeful sports bettor living in or near Massachusetts, the best thing to do is keep your eyes on this page. Rest assured, we’ll keep you in the loop for all the latest news going forward.

Massachusetts Sports Betting FAQs

How old do I have to be to bet on sports in Massachusetts?

When sports betting launches in Massachusetts, those who wish to bet on sports will need to be 21 or older. Each of the sports betting bills that has been proposed by lawmakers has made 21 the minimum age to participate. There’s no reason to assume that will change going forward. Some states are sympathetic to establishing 18 as the minimum gambling age, but Massachusetts is not one of them.

Do I have to be a resident of Massachusetts to bet on sports?

No, once sports betting comes to Massachusetts it will not be necessary to be a resident of the state in order to place a sports bet at any MA retail sportsbook. In addition, folks can come from out of state to download a Massachusetts sports app, but must be within state lines to place a bet.

Do I have to be inside Massachusetts to place a wager on a Massachusetts sportsbook?

Yes, that will be a requirement once sports betting goes live in Massachusetts. Both federal and state laws prohibit the placement of sports wagers across state lines. The apps themselves will use geolocation software to ensure that you can’t bet unless you are verifiably inside Massachusetts state lines. In Massachusetts, you are still able to bet on out-of-state teams. These software programs are quite adept, too. You are more likely to be denied service falsely than you are to trick the technology into allowing you to bet. These programs use your device’s GPS in order to pinpoint your location within a few feet. And, just to be clear, federal law also prohibits placing wagers over the phone to land-based sportsbooks themselves. In fact, in some cases, you cannot even tell a friend to bet on your behalf legally.

Who oversees Massachusetts sports betting?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will be the regulatory body for legal sports betting in the state. Sports betting legislation currently under consideration identifies the commission as the overseer of the activity. They will regulate sports betting.

Will DraftKings be legal in Massachusetts?

Yes. DraftKings is already legal in Massachusetts as a DFS provider. In addition, it was founded in Boston and its headquarters remain there. There’s no question that a Massachusetts launch is at the top of the priority list for DraftKings Sportsbook.

Can I bet on college sports in Massachusetts?

You will be able to. Despite some questions throughout the legislative process, lawmakers agreed you can bet on college sports, except for in-state teams. That exception is null during tournaments with four or more teams though, including college basketball’s NCAA Tournament.

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