Massachusetts offers commercial casino gambling, but could potentially offer a lot more.
The state is home to a pair of casinos, a slots parlor and is pursuing online and retail sports betting. Pari-mutuel wagering, daily fantasy sports, lottery and some charitable games are also legal in Massachusetts/
Online casino gambling and internet poker are not permitted. The state’s gambling proponents hope online betting takes a step forward with legal sports betting, with a bill currently in the State Legislature. Social casinos such as Chumba are legal, though.
Gambling.com continues to monitor and report on Massachusetts and U.S. gambling developments. We recommend Massachusetts players only bet at licensed and legal wagering websites and never with an offshore casino or sportsbook, which are unregulated and may abruptly shut down, putting your funds at risk.
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Online casino games such as slots, tables games and poker are illegal in the Bay State. Any Massachusetts resident or visitor who wants to play those games online can do so at social casinos and sweepstakes sites, the top-rated of which are listed above. Games can be played on social casino websites or through apps, with free virtual coins used instead of real money. Games can be played for amusement, and on some sites, jackpot prizes.
Legal forms of online gambling in Massachusetts include daily fantasy sports and pari-mutuel wagering. In addition, lottery tickets can be purchased online for 3-month, 6-month and 1-year increments.
Legalizing online casinos is not currently on the radar for lawmakers in Massachusetts, though the state has conducted comprehensive online gambling studies and could eventually consider online casino gambling as a way to help fill significant gaps in the state budget.
Online sports betting is far more likely and could happen in the not-too-distant future. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is a proponent of sports gambling and a current bill in the State Legislature would allow for online wagering. The bill’s momentum has been slowed by the coronavirus, with the state’s 2020 legislative session set to end on July 31.
The state’s Expanded Gaming Act allows up to three commercial casinos in different regions of the state along with one slots facility. Two casinos (MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor) and a slots parlor (Plainridge Park Casino) are currently operating, with one casino license in the southeastern part of the state (designated as Region C) still to be awarded.
Two Native American tribes have proposed casino projects in Region C, but both continue to be stalled by litigation. One is the Mashpee Wampanoag’s First Light Casino in Taunton; the other an Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe slots facility on Martha’s Vineyard.
|Casino||City||Address||Hours of Operation|
|MGM Springfield||Springfield||One MGM Way||24 hours|
|Encore Boston Harbor||Everett||1 Broadway||24 hours|
|Plainridge Park Casino*||Plainfield||301 Washington Street||24 hours|
|Mardi Gras Casino||Cross Lanes|
Address: One MGM Way, Springfield
Hours of Operation: Open 24 hours
Opened: August 24, 2018
Amenities: 125,000 square feet of gaming space, 2,500 gaming machines, more than 100 table games, poker.
Address: 1 Broadway, Everett
Hours of Operation: Open 24 hours
Opened: June 23, 2019
Amenities: 210,000 square feet of gaming space, 3,100 gaming machines, 254 table games, poker. Everett is located about four miles from Boston.
Address: 301 Washington Street, Plainville
Hours of Operation: Open 24 hours
Opened: June 24, 2015
Amenities: 50,000 square of gaming space reserved for 1,250 gaming and video poker machines. Facility is also a harness racing track (live racing April-November) and simulcast facility.
Note: Casino hours of operation and amenities subject to change due to coronavirus and social distancing restrictions.
Most likely, if permitted. The operators of MGM Springfield (MGM Resorts) and Plainfield Park Casino (Penn National Gaming) are experienced online casino gaming operators in other states. Encore Boston Harbor owner Wynn Resorts has entered into several partnerships to conduct online gaming and sports betting. Adding online operations in Massachusetts would be a logical extension for all three gaming companies.
If and when online casino gambling is legalized, casino apps won’t be far behind. Casino apps allow a bettor to place wagers 24 hours a day on a mobile device from anywhere within the state. The apps are convenient, easy to use and available for both iOS and Android devices. The apps can be downloaded for free on a casino operator’s website or through the App Store.
Operators in states with legal online casino gambling offer many of the same games found in traditional casinos. Among them:
Live Dealer: Games are dealt by a live person from a studio and streamed to your computer or mobile device. Live dealer allows players to chat with the dealer and other players at the table, creating a more social experience. Offered for blackjack, roulette and other table games.
Online Slots: Thousands of games are available, all of which adjust to your computer or mobile device. In addition to popular traditional slot games, new titles with state-of-the-art graphics and animation are rolled out frequently.
Online Poker: New Jersey and Pennsylvania set internet poker revenue records for several months in 2020 as the coronavirus shuttered casinos and poker rooms. Online poker offers a variety of cash games and tournament play, mostly for No-limit Texas Hold’em, but other games as well.
Lottery: The Massachusetts Lottery offers a digital component in that tickets may be purchased online for various games in 3-month, 6-month and 1-year increments. Otherwise, lottery tickets must be purchased at retail outlets.
Online Roulette: Same rules as traditional roulette, with the online version using an electronic random generator instead of a physical wheel.
Online Blackjack: In addition to traditional blackjack, several varieties are offered, such as Blackjack Switch, Spanish 21 and European Blackjack. Online blackjack offers a wide range of stakes with lower minimums.
Online casino operators want to make deposits and withdrawals as simple and efficient as possible. Among the most common payment options:
E-wallets: The most popular are PayPal, Neteller and Skrill, which store your financial information and allow you to quickly transfer funds to and from your online account quickly with low fees.
Play+ /Prepaid Cards: Play+ was created for online gambling and legal sports betting, making it a breeze to use with operators that accept it. You can add funds to your Play+ card with a credit card or from your bank account and transfer it into your casino account. When you are ready to cash out, simply withdraw the funds back onto your Play+ card and access your winnings from an ATM. Some online casino operators offering a branded prepaid card on their website. All prepaid cards have a specific monetary value. Some can be used for withdrawals.
ACH/bank transfer: The equivalent of an electronic check. A connection is established between your online gambling account and bank account, making it easy to transfer funds.
PayNearMe: Deposit-only option using cash at a Massachusetts 7-Eleven, CVS Pharmacy or Family Dollar, with a barcode used to transfer the funds into your online account.
Credit/debit cards: Convenience makes credit/debit cards the most popular deposit option in other states, but that may not be the case in Massachusetts. The sports betting bill under consideration bans the use of credit cards to place wagers. Even in states that allow for credit cards not all financial institutions allow for gambling transactions, and those that do often charge a fee as if it were a cash advance.
Online casino operators offer a variety of bonus offers to sign up new players and retain existing ones. Most bonuses include a play-through requirement in which the bonus money must be risked one time or more before it’s unlocked. Always read the terms and conditions. The most frequent welcome bonus offers:
No Deposit Bonus: Sign up for an account and receive a small bonus (usually in the $20-$30 range) before making your first deposit.
Deposit Match: Make your first deposit and the casino operator will match that amount up to 100 percent. Deposit match offers typically require that you risk the bonus money several times before it can be redeemed. The bonus money is often released in increments when wagering thresholds are attained.
Reload Bonus: Offered to players whose accounts have been depleted or for inactive players.
Mobile Bonus: Sometimes offered to players who are trying out mobile betting products.
Free Bets: May be offered in the form of free spins on selected slot machines or free entry into tournament play.
Massachusetts includes a long history of anti-gambling legislation that can be traced to the state's strong links to the Pilgrims. However, the modern progressive vibe of the state is now seeing gambling evolution gathering speed, offering more freedom and options for residents and visitors to Massachusetts.
Gambling options in Massachusetts are increasing for land-based gamblers as the state begins to gradually erode strict laws prohibiting wagering across many domains. While there are still restrictions in place, there's never been more freedom to bet in the state as there is now.
State law dictates that gamblers can bet on pari-mutuel horse races at select tracks and venues, while the Massachusetts Lottery is a mainstay in the state's gambling industry, offering lotto draws, scratchcards and pull tabs in bars. Similarly, charitable gambling initiatives are legal, including games such as bingo ("beano"), whist, raffles and casino poker nights ("bazaars"). There are almost 200 licensed charitable bingo venues in the state, and charitable gambling is estimated to generate well over $60 million per year in revenue.
The Massachusetts casino industry is relatively small but has started to evolve in recent times with the go-ahead for both mainstream and Indian reservation casino hotels and resorts. In fact, by 2019, the launching of new casino resorts including the MGM Springfield will make the state very attractive to gambling tourists. Sports bettors are not so lucky, but that could change soon.
House Bill 4559, sports betting legislation that would permit online wagering with up to five licenses for online operators, advances to the House Ways and Means Committee in March.
Suffolk Downs runs its final season of live horse racing. The facility remains open for simulcast racing.
MGM Springfield opens, the state’s first resort-casino. A second resort-casino, owned by Wynn Resorts, is renamed Encore Boston Harbor to distance itself from founder Steve Wynn, who leaves company after sexual misconduct allegations. The Everett casino opens a year later.
Governor Charlie Baker signs bill legalizing daily fantasy sports in Massachusetts.
Plainridge Park Casino opens, the state’s first legal slots parlor.
The Expanded Gaming Act is signed by Governor Deval Patrick. Law allows for three commercial casinos and one slots parlor, and creates Massachusetts Gaming Commission to administer and regulate.
Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park and Wonderland Greyhound Park are shut down after voters banned live greyhound racing in the state.
First tickets sold for Massachusetts State Lottery. Two years later, Massachusetts becomes first state to sell instant lottery tickets as alternative to weekly jackpot game.
Pari-mutuel wagering is legalized. Horse track Suffolk Downs in East Boston opens the following year.
Sports betting continues to be a work in progress in Massachusetts. The ingredients are in place to make it happen.
After the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, paving the way for states to legalize sports wagering, Massachusetts lawmakers introduced several bills to allow online and in-person sports betting. Gov. Charlie Baker, a proponent of sports betting, even submitted his own proposal in January 2019.
The state’s current sports betting bill under consideration, H 4559, allows up to five online operators to offer sports wagering, along with retail betting at the state’s two casinos, slots parlor and tracks with live horse racing. On March 12, 2020, state lawmakers advanced the bill to the House Ways and Means Committee, where it remained through the first half of the year.
That’s the question many of the state’s sports fans and gambling proponents continue to ask. The answer is unclear, but a reasonable assumption is that the Covid-19 pandemic may delay passage until 2021.
The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies recommended approval of House Bill 4559 when advancing it to the House Ways and Means Committee in March. But due to the coronavirus, the sports world pretty much shut down after that, and so did the bill’s momentum. With health issues a far higher priority, it’s likely that state lawmakers won’t resolve sports betting before the legislative session ends on July 31.
If that’s the case, legalization of sports betting in 2021 seems a more likely scenario. For now, sports betting dollars will continue to flow to neighboring states New Hampshire and Rhode Island, which both permit sports wagering.
State lawmakers legalized daily fantasy sports in 2016 for two years, allowing time to craft rules and regulations. In 2018, the legislature made the approval permanent.
Massachusetts is a robust daily fantasy sports market, with all major DFS operators active in the state, including Boston-based DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo.
The state has a long history with horse racing and horse betting but no longer has any live thoroughbred racing. Plainridge Park offers live harness racing from April-November. The state’s two dog tracks were shut down after voters banned live greyhound racing beginning in 2010.
Suffolk Downs in East Boston opened in 1935 and hosted the MassCap, which became one of the country’s top races for older horses. The track closed temporarily in 1989, and then several more times before running its final live race in 2019.
Suffolk Downs, Plainridge Park and former greyhound track Raynham Park all offer year-round simulcast races from other tracks. The state also allows pari-mutuel wagering on online platforms such as TwinSpires, TVG and Xpressbet.
For onsite wagering, the obvious locations are the state’s two casinos: MGM Springfield (owned by MGM Resorts) and Encore Boston Harbor (Wynn Resorts), along with the Plainridge Park Casino slots parlor (Penn National Gaming). All three are experienced sports betting providers.
For online sports wagering, the proposed bill allows for up to five operators, and requires each to have experience offering online betting in at least two other states and one year of experience operating daily fantasy sports. That makes Boston-based DraftKings the most likely candidate to join the market, along with daily fantasy sports/sports betting competitor FanDuel.
Under terms of the bill in the State Legislature, betting would be available on all the major pro sports leagues, many college sports and international sports. Betting on college sports would be restricted to Division I teams.
Wagering would be prohibited on in-play betting on college and amateur sports, all eSports and on the Olympic Games.
Massachusetts bettors can wager online on daily fantasy sports and pari-mutuel betting. Online casino wagering and sports betting is not permitted, but social casinos are legal.
The minimum age is 21 for casino wagering and daily fantasy sports; 18 for pari-mutuel betting and lottery.
The Expanded Gaming Act allows casinos in three geographically diverse regions across the state. Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts are licensed to operate in two of the regions. The third region in southeastern Massachusetts is still without a licensee, though two Native American tribes have proposed facilities. The state’s lone slots facility license was awarded to Penn National Gaming. No other casino licenses are available.
Casino gambling, daily fantasy sports, pari-mutuel wagering, lottery, charitable gaming such as bingo, raffles and pull-tabs.
No, you do not need to be a Massachusetts resident, but you will physically need to be inside the state to place a legal wager. Geofencing technology tracks your location.
And real-money casino offers are from offshore casino sites that operate outside U.S. and state laws, are not regulated and should be avoided. All legal offers would be from social or sweepstakes casinos, which offer free legal online casino games for amusement or prizes but not gambling.
At MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor casinos; Plainfield Park Casino slots parlor and harness track; and Suffolk Downs and Raynham Park off-track betting facilities. Lottery tickets are available at retail outlets across the state.
No. Sports betting is not legal in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission regulates casino gaming and pari-mutuel wagering in the state.
Yes, provided you are playing at a site that is licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which regulates gambling in the state and is responsible for ensuring that all games are fair and accounts secure. Conversely, betting with offshore gambling sites provides no protections and places your funds at risk.
All gambling winnings are subject to federal tax and a 5 percent state income tax in Massachusetts.
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