Massachusetts Online Sports Betting – News and Updates on Sports Betting Legislation

Massachusetts is the newest state to legalize sports betting in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court ruling that allows individual states to regulate online sports betting. After several years of discussion in the legislature, sports betting legislation was finally passed and signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on August 10, 2022. This is great news for sports fans in the state, many of whom were already going to neighboring New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New York to place legal wagers on their favorite teams.

Massachusetts Sports Betting Legislative Details

While there have been several sports betting proposals over the past year in Massachusetts, the most recent attempt, H 5164, finally made it to the finish line in a last-minute compromise between legislative leaders that saw college sports wagering limited and an official league data mandate added, among other details. It may not be the perfect bill, but it’s pretty good and will result in up to 15 sportsbooks coming to the state.

Here is a quick summary of what legal sports betting will look like in Massachusetts now that H 5164 has been signed into law:

  • The state’s three casinos will be permitted to open a retail sportsbook inside their facilities
  • A total of 15 mobile licenses will be available
  • Each of the state’s three casinos qualify for two online skins (6 total)
  • Seven digital licenses not tethered to an existing casino are available (7 total)
  • The state’s two horse racetracks each qualify for one skin (2 total)
  • The tax rate for retail sportsbooks is 15% and mobile betting is taxed at 20%
  • Sportsbooks wanting to enter the state will have to pay a $1 million application fee, a $5 million licensing fee (good for 5 years) and a $200,000 processing fee.
  • Sportsbooks are required to use official league data
  • Betting on Massachusetts college teams is prohibited unless the teams are playing in a “tournament” like March Madness. Wagering is allowed on all non-Massachusetts college teams
  • Mobile sportsbooks will have to show a gambling hotline number every time a bet is placed
  • Retail sports betting kiosks are not included in the bill, but a study will be conducted to determine whether they should be authorized in the future
  • Credit cards cannot be used to fund accounts
  • Every operator must submit a detailed problem gambling plan to state regulators for review
  • The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has full jurisdiction over sports betting in the state

PASPA

Sports betting is exploding in the United States ever since PASPA, a 30-year-old law that essentially outlawed sports betting in all but a few states, was deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. New Jersey led the fight and was primed and ready to go, launching sports betting almost immediately after the May 2018 Supreme Court decision. Since then, over 30 states, including Rhode Island, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Delaware have begun taking bets.

Which Online Sportsbooks Will be Available in MA?

With 15 licenses up for grabs, we should see all the big names in the US market making their way to Massachusetts. Since DraftKings is headquartered in Boston, they will be among the first sportsbooks to go live in the state. Additionally, since the three existing casinos that qualify for two skins each have established sportsbook partnerships, we know that they will be in the state as well. The other 11 licenses will be hotly contested, but we can at least guess which sportsbooks will end up securing access to the state. Here is our first crack at predicting which sportsbooks will end up in Massachusetts:

SportsbookLicense PartnerLaunch Date
DraftKingsOnline-only (estimate)TBD
Barstool SportsbookPlainridge Park CasinoTBD
BetMGMMGM SpringfieldTBD
WynnBETEncore Boston HarborTBD
FanDuel TBDTBD
Bally Bet (estimate)TBDTBD
BetRivers (estimate)TBDTBD
Caesars Sportsbook (estimate)TBDTBD
FOX Bet (estimate)TBDTBD
PointsBet (estimate)TBDTBD
Betway (estimate)TBDTBD
Betfred (estimate)TBDTBD
SuperBook Sports (estimate)TBDTBD
BetFanatics (estimate)TBDTBD
Unibet (estimate)TBDTBD

Massachusetts Betting History

Massachusetts live gaming industry started way back in 1934 with the opening of Wonderland Greyhound Park and Taunton Dog Track. They were joined in 1941 by Raynham Greyhound track. Taunton was later closed and operations were combined in Raynham in 1981. Both remaining tracks were later closed in 2009 when dog racing was banned.

The lottery was banned back in 1833, but was brought back in 1973 to give the state some much-needed revenue. Eligible non-profit organizations can run certain gambling games for fundraising purposes. These games include bridge, whist, bingo, beano, raffles, pull tabs and casinos nights. As of 2017, the state has reported $57 million in annual gross revenue for charities, with bingo leading the way at $25 million a year.

The first casino opened its doors in June 2015. Plainridge Park Casino is a harness track racing facility and slot parlor located about 40 miles southwest of Boston. MGM Casino in Springfield opened its doors in 2018, and Encore Boston Harbor opened in 2019.

Massachusetts Sports betting FAQs

Is sports betting legal in Massachusetts?

Yes! As of August 10, 2022, sports betting is legal in Massachusetts. The first wagers will be accepted in the state sometime in late 2022 or early 2023 after the rulemaking and regulatory process is complete and licenses are issued.

Where will I be able to place sports bets once sports betting launches in MA?

You will be able to place bets on up to 15 mobile sportsbook apps and in person at the state’s three existing casinos and two horse tracks. Betting kiosks may eventually pop up at bars and restaurants throughout the state, but regulators are planning to study the issue first before authorizing their use.

What sports will I be able to bet on?

You will be able to bet on all professional sports and all non-Massachusetts college sports events. Wagering on MA college teams is prohibited unless the team is playing in a “tournament.”

What types of bets will I be able to place in Massachusetts?

It is expected that all the most popular bet types will be available in Massachusetts, including:

  • Moneyline
  • Spread
  • Totals (Over/Under)
  • Prop bets
  • Parlays (including same-game parlay)
  • Futures
  • Teasers

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If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN).