Online gambling is legal in MA, although no sportsbooks are available at the moment. However, the state does allow in-person casino gambling and sports betting at allowed locations. It is important to note that any form of unauthorized gambling is illegal in MA. Whether online or in person, this can result in fines and other penalties.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is currently issuing licences to online sportsbooks for a March launch. They intend to do so prior to the start of the NCAA tournament. Once launched, punters can anticipate up to 15 online sports betting sites in the state, which you can learn about at magambler.com. In this article, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about online gambling in Massachusetts.
When will online sports betting launch in Massachusetts?
The state assembly passed a sports betting bill by a 156-3-1 margin in July 2022. However, the bill weighed down in the Senate due to budget concerns. During the same time period, the Senate considered its own sports betting bill, but it was also weighed down. However, Governor Charlie Baker signed it after a late-night settlement on August 10, 2022, one day prior to the 10-day time limit.
Thus, Massachusetts became the third state to allow for sports betting in 2022. MGC Executive Director Karen Wells adopted March 10, 2023, as the start date for Massachusetts online sportsbooks launch. The lawmakers passed the sports betting bill in the final hour and were officially signed by Baker on August 10, 2022. On January 31, 2023, retail sports betting became available for the first time.
History of sports betting in Massachusetts
Betting on various sports began in the state when the lawmakers reached an agreement on the “MA Sports Wagering Act”. The following key features are included in the act:
Sports betting became available as a state by state decision in May 2018. This was after the US Supreme Court went against PASPA in December 2017 and overruled the decision. As a result, lawmakers from various states began drafting laws to make sports betting lawful in hopes of a favourable ruling. Senator Eileen Donoghue from Massachusetts was among such lawmakers. In January 2018, she released the first sports betting bill in the state.
The bill never had the support from other lawmakers. However, it did spark lots of new proposals to legalize sports gambling in MA. None were effective till the recent “2022 MA Sports Wagering Act” passed the state assembly. On July 31, 2022, the assembly reached a deal, and Governor Baker had 10 days to approve or disapprove the bill. As a result, MA joined the ranks of other states in the US that have legalized sports betting on August 10, 2022. In addition to retail sportsbooks, the state permits seven online sportsbooks.
Massachusetts’ online casino gambling and horse racing
Horse racing and dog racing were the first forms of legal gambling in MA. Massachusetts accepted horse race betting in 1934. The state lottery began in 1972, but nothing major occurred until 2011. Primarily, the Expanded Gaming Act set the basic framework for casinos and formed the MGC to oversee the new industry.
Online Casino gambling in MA
While punters wait for sportsbooks to become fully available in MA, other legal gambling options are available. To begin with, MA has two full-service casinos and a racino for slot machines only. The locations are as follows:
Furthermore, there is also the probability of another location joining these three soon. The Expanded Gaming Act of 2011 allowed for the construction of another casino in the state’s eastern third. However, in the years past, various organizations have tried to work on it, but all to no avail.
Horse racing in Massachusetts
In MA, both horse wagering and horse racing are legal. You can wager on horses via online horse wagering sites like TVG as a citizen of the state. There is a website for a horse racing broadcast network that provides horse racing tips for your benefit.
Basically, Plainridge Park is the state’s only venue with live racing. Between April and November, the Plainville Park hosts horse racing games. It does, however, provide year-round slot play and other wagering offers.