key takeaways

  • Legal retail sports betting went live in Massachusetts on January 31. Online sports betting is projected to launch in early March.
  • Eleven online sportsbooks have been awarded licenses in Massachusetts: Bally Bet, DraftKings, FanDuel, Betway, PointsBet, Barstool, BetMGM, betr, Caesars, Fanatics and WynnBet.
  • LSR’s projections have MA’s sports betting revenue between $300 million and $550 million in the first full year.

When will online sports betting launch in Massachusetts?

Probably March 2023, before the start of the NCAA tournament. The state gaming commission noted that other states have taken eight months (or longer) to launch sports betting and no official universal launch date has been announced. Retail sports betting launched first on January 31.

The Massachusetts sports betting law legalizes online and in-person sports betting in the state. For Massachusetts online sports betting to officially launch, rules, regulations, licensing, and testing must all happen beforehand.

What’s happening in Massachusetts sports betting right now

Is sports betting legal in Massachusetts?

Yes, sports betting is legal in Massachusetts but no sportsbook sites or locations are available. A sports betting bill passed in the closing hours of the 2022 session and was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker on Aug. 10.

Although state representatives passed a sports betting bill by a lopsided 156-3-1 margin in July 2021, the bill bogged down in the Senate amid the aforementioned budget concerns (or, more accurately, a lack thereof.) The Senate did have its own sports betting bill active during the same period, but it met with similar legislative resistance. A late-night compromise resulted in a favorable vote on Aug. 1. Gov. Baker signed it one day before the 10-day deadline.

Potential Massachusetts sportsbook apps

The biggest names in the industry will be interested in participating in Massachusetts sports betting. Most of the list of sports betting sites below have a connection or two to Massachusetts. The six listed below have put their names in the hat and notified the MGC of their interest in launching in the state. However, the top sportsbooks in the US are all probable candidates.

The law permits 15 online sports betting licenses, but eight licenses will be tied to a land-based partner. The other seven are up for competitive bid. Each casino and racetrack in the state will receive sports betting licenses. Here is more information on the most likely sportsbook apps coming to Massachusetts:

*Operator has already been approved for a license in MA.

  1. BetMGM Sportsbook*: BetMGM Sportsbook is the app representing the MGM Resorts International brand of casinos with MGM Springfield the local option. That connection made BetMGM a logical fit for Massachusetts online sports betting, and it was the second sportsbook to receive a license to operate from the MGC.
  2. WynnBet Sportsbook*: WynnBet is a relatively new app from Wynn Resorts. Wynn owns both the eponymous casino chain and the Encore casinos. The presence of one of those casinos in Massachusetts — Encore Boston Harbor — made WynnBet an odds-on favorite to launch in MA, and it became the first book to receive a license from the MGC in December 2022.
  3. Barstool Sportsbook*: Penn National Gaming owns a significant portion of Barstool’s stock and uses the Barstool Sportsbook brand to represent its foray into online sports betting. Penn owns and operates Massachusetts’ Plainridge Park Casino, and Barstool Sportsbook was approved for a license in the state on January 4.
  4. DraftKings Sportsbook*: DraftKings has long been part of Massachusetts gambling with its daily fantasy sports products. In fact, the company itself was founded in Boston and continues to house its headquarters there to this day. DraftKings’ venture into sports betting in the past few years has been strong, and there’s no doubt that the company plans to launch its innovative sportsbook app in its home state.
  5. FanDuel Sportsbook*: FanDuel has carved out a space for itself in the Massachusetts gaming landscape for many years. With its corporate headquarters just down the road in New York City, there’s no question that FanDuel should have plans to launch in Massachusetts whenever online sports betting becomes possible in the Bay State.
  6. Caesars Sportsbook*: Caesars Entertainment is the largest gaming company without a significant footprint in Massachusetts. It tried and failed to open a casino at Suffolk Downs in 2013. Caesars was one of the first three operators approved for a sports betting license in the state.

Latest Massachusetts sports betting news

Massachusetts sports betting law

When legislators agreed to a compromise on H5164, otherwise known as the “Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act,” it changed the game for sports betting in the state. The law includes the following key features:

Sports betting as an individual state decision was unavailable until May 2018. However, after hearing the oral arguments to the US Supreme Court in December 2017 against PASPA, lawmakers in many states began to introduce measures to legalize sports betting in anticipation of a favorable ruling from the Court. Massachusetts State Sen. Eileen Donoghue was one of those forward-looking lawmakers when she introduced the first sports betting bill in Massachusetts history in January 2018.

The bill never gained much traction. It did, however, touch off a slew of measures that would implement sports betting in Massachusetts. None were successful until the Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act of 2022 finally made its way through the state Legislature. A compromise was reached in the final moments of July 31 and the governor had 10 days to accept or reject the bill. Massachusetts joins 30 other states with legal sports betting. The law allows for seven online sportsbooks along with retail betting.

The law does not stipulate a timeline for launch.

Legal betting options in Massachusetts

The 2022 MA sports betting law legalizes the activity, but there are currently no legal sports betting options in Massachusetts. A launch is anticipated soon. That means that no matter what gambling venue you visit in the state – casino, lottery retailer, or racetrack – legal sports betting is not available just yet.

There are some online sportsbooks that claim they can legally accept bets from throughout the United States. But legal US sports betting is licensed at the state level, which means there are no legal websites in the US that can take bets from every state.

Betting with these offshore, unregulated operators could lead to issues when it comes to getting paid. Without a license to protect consumers, these operators could choose to not pay out winning bets or close the sportsbook without returning customer funds.

US citizens would have no legal right to try to recover the funds.

Casino gambling in Massachusetts

While people wait for sports betting to launch in Massachusetts, there are other options for gambling that are legal. For starters, Massachusetts is home to two full-scale casino resorts and a third slots-only racino. The locations, respectively, are:

There is the possibility that another location could join these three venues at some point in the future. The 2011 Expanded Gaming Act also allowed for a third casino resort to be built in the eastern third of the state. Various entities, including one of Massachusetts’ federally recognized tribal groups, has attempted to bring this venue to life in the years since, but nothing solid is in place yet.

Online horse betting in Massachusetts

Horse racing and horse betting are both legal in Massachusetts. The state allows citizens to bet on horses through online horse betting sites such as TVG. The site has a broadcast network dedicated exclusively to horse racing that offers advice to handicappers around the clock.

Plainridge Park Casino is the only location in the state to offer any kind of live racing and the pari-mutuel wagering that follows with it. The facility in Plainville offers harness racing between April and November. However, it offers slot play and simulcast wagering opportunities on a year-round basis. Two other locations, which are former tracks themselves, offer simulcasting as well. Both Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs are open seven days a week for off-track betting on races across the country.

MA and daily fantasy sports

Massachusetts has a credible claim as the capital of daily fantasy sports in the US. As we mentioned earlier, DFS pioneer and industry giant DraftKings came to life in Boston, and DK houses 650 of its key personnel in adjoining buildings on Boylston and Berkeley streets in Back Bay.

Legal DFS play in Massachusetts goes back to 2016 and is a part of daily life in the Bay State.

Massachusetts surrounded by legal sports betting

While Massachusetts residents are waiting for sports betting to debut in the Bay State, they have plenty of options in surrounding areas to place wagers in the meantime. Of the five states that share a border with Massachusetts, four of them have sports betting underway already. New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island each have multiple retail sportsbooks that you can visit, and all of them have online sports betting as well. The lone holdout for sports betting is Vermont.

If Massachusetts finally legalizes sports betting, the effect will be most pronounced on Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. Those three states, particularly Connecticut, have long served as gambling getaways for the state and are in no hurry to see Bostonians and other Bay State residents stay home for sports betting.

The one item that might keep Massachusettsans on the road to Connecticut, however, is the presence of online casinos and poker rooms. The Nutmeg State completed a comprehensive overhaul of its gambling profile in 2021 and has more to offer than betting on sporting events. Of course, Massachusetts could make a move toward online casinos and poker itself at some point, but a secondary gambling expansion could be years away.

Most popular sports to bet on in Mass.

Massachusetts and its residents are well-rounded when it comes to sports. The state has a team in all four major US sports leagues and residents support all of them passionately.

The NFL‘s New England Patriots have been favorites of bettors for years, but whether that continues with Cam Newton at quarterback instead of Tom Brady is yet to be seen. Brady’s team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, could also be a betting favorite in Massachusetts.

But Massachusetts is far from a one-sport state. The MLB‘s Boston Red Sox kept their loyal fans waiting 86 years in between World Series until the team finally shook off the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. Since then, the Red Sox are more often than not in the running for a World Series win, which should keep them popular at the books.

The NBA’s Celtics and NHL’s Bruins have also had their shares of success over the last two decades. The Celtics won an NBA Championship in 2008 while the Bruins took home the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Massachusetts also has eight Division I colleges in the state, with two – the Boston College Eagles and the UMass Minutemen – playing at the FBS level.

MA sports betting history

2022: In the final moments of the legislative session, Massachusetts lawmakers reached a compromise on H5164. The bill legalizes sports betting in the state both online and in person. On Aug. 1, the bill passed the Senate by a 36-4 vote. Outgoing Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill into law on Aug. 10, something he had long promised to do should a sports betting bill ever pass. In December, the MGC announced its intention to launch retail sports betting on January 31, 2023 with online sports betting to follow soon after.

2021: Efforts to pass sports betting ramped up in the first half of the year. At one point, there were 23 different sports betting bills on file between the House and Senate. The House finally distills its movements into H3977. The proposal passes the lower chamber by a vote of 156-3-1. An amendment process and passage in the Senate is the roadblock for sports betting in Massachusetts since Gov. Charlie Baker publicly voiced his support for the activity.

An unexpected budget surplus disrupted the forward momentum of both H3977 and a similar Senate-produced bill. Senate President Karen Spilka declared sports betting to be on the back burner and named five issues of higher priority for the upper chamber. Sports betting dies in the Senate Ways and Means Committee and sends supporters back to the drawing board for 2022.

2020: The House attempted to work sports betting into an economic development bill with less than two weeks left in the formal session.

The House overwhelmingly supported the bill with its sports betting language, but the Senate disagreed. Its amended version of the House bill included no sports betting language at all despite multiple attempts.

Sen. Michael Brady, who submitted sports betting language for the Senate amendment, told LSR sports betting would be discussed before the end of 2020. However, resistance in the Senate proved to be too much to overcome, and the session passed without a sports betting bill moving through.

2019: Multiple sports betting bills were submitted in 2019, though none received significant attention.

Massachusetts sports betting FAQ?

Who will be able to bet on sports in Massachusetts?

Anyone over the age of 21 and inside Massachusetts will be able to wager on sporting events in the state. While some selected activities — lottery and pari-mutuel wagering — require players only to be 18, most gambling options in the state mandate that you be 21 or older.

Who oversees sports betting in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission oversees all gambling in the state, including sports betting.

What can I bet on in MA?

According to the 2022 law, almost any sport with the exception of in-state NCAA colleges. Boston College, therefore, is off limits for bets with the exception of tournaments. Esports betting, on the other hand, is left to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to decide whether it will be permitted in the state.

Where can I bet on sports in Massachusetts?

Right now, there are no legal options to bet on sports in Massachusetts. Once launched, the state will have as many as seven online sportsbooks and retail betting at casinos and racetracks.

Can I bet on sports on my phone in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts sports betting is legal, but there is no legal betting on phones available in the state just yet. There are offshore sportsbook operators that claim they can accept bets from anywhere in the United States. Since sports betting is licensed at the state level, no operator can accept bets from all US jurisdictions.

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