Online gambling is not yet legal in Massachusetts, but the momentum is building - at least toward legal sports betting.
There are no legal Massachusetts online casinos where you can play for real money in Massachusetts. There are several where you can play for play money and there are some sweepstakes casinos. Sweepstakes casinos are legal, and we explain them below.
Sports fans can legally play Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Massachusetts passed legislation in 2016 that explicitly legalized DFS. FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook are the DFS market leaders and you can expect to see both brands offering online sports betting in MA as soon as the market opens.
All other online casino sites you can see on the internet are offshore and not legal in Massachusetts. When legal online gambling begins the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) will issue licenses to authorized operators. You will be able to check their credentials on the official MGC site. It will take some time before Massachusetts residents will be able to enjoy promotions that are like NJ online casino bonuses.
Legal gambling in Massachusetts began with horse racing and dog racing. MA legalized pari-mutual betting way back in 1934. The state lottery got going in 1972 but the big legislative move forward didn't happen until 2011.
The Expanded Gaming Act created the legal basis for commercial casinos and established the MGC to regulate the new industry. There are now two licensed casinos and one slots-only casino. The Plainridge Park Casino opened its dedicated slots location in 2015. Massachusetts got its first full-service casino – MGM Springfield – in Summer 2018. The Encore Boston Harbor followed on in June 2019. The law makes a third casino possible but there are no firm plans in place.
In 2016 Massachusetts legalized online gambling on DFS. As for wider online gambling, the bill under current consideration is H3977, "An Act Regulating Sports Wagering."
Massachusetts online casinos offering real money slots and table games are not allowed under existing laws. H3977 has a good chance of passing but it will only allow online sports betting. It will take another legislative cycle before there is a chance of getting an online casino bill on the books.
Many industry analysts believe that online sports betting legislation will act as a gateway to online casino and online poker legalization. Offering a full range of online gambling reduces the attractiveness of illegal offshore sites so more of the Commonwealth's gamblers will join the legal market. Adding online casinos and poker also increases tax revenues. The uncertainty is about when MA will legalize online casinos more than whether it will legislate for the expansion.
New legislation for MA online casinos will be based on the online sports betting legislation. Key points of H3977 are:
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is responsible for regulating the expanded gambling authorized in 2011. Responsibilities include licensed casinos as well as horse racing. The Massachusetts State Lottery Commission regulates the lottery. When the politicians legalize online gambling in Massachusetts, they will appoint the MGC as the regulator.
Massachusetts residents are allowed to play online at sweepstakes casinos. These casinos operate a dual currency system. You buy one currency and you receive a second currency for free. You can also request an amount of the second currency for free without any purchase being required. You use the free currency to play casino games which come with real money prizes.
There are a lot of big-name brands competing for the new state-regulated sports betting market. When legislation allows these will also offer online casino games. Some of the names to look out for are:
Headquartered in Boston. It will fight hard to be the market leader in its home state.
Explore DraftKings Casino
The market leader in US sports betting and already has a player base in MA from its DFS operations.
The online brand used by MGM owns the MGM Springfield. MGM is in a joint venture with Entain. The European company provides the technology platform as well as its PartyPoker brand for the US business.
Explore BetMGM Casino
The Encore Boston Harbor is owned by Wynn Resorts. It has an online casino business under the WynnBET brand.
Explore WynnBet Casino
Promo codes and bonus codes are used by many of the real money casinos Massachusetts will attract when legislation passes. They are an important way to ensure that you get the best offers, best welcome bonuses and valuable new player benefits.
We list the best promo codes for legal state-regulated online casinos throughout the US. When Massachusetts online casinos launch, we will be here with the promo codes you need.
Every licensed MA casino site does its best to make it easy for you to deposit money and start playing. Customers who can't deposit can't play, so there are casino banking options to suit everyone. These include using credit and debit cards, payment processors like PayPal and e-checks that act just like paper checks. There are even options for depositing in cash.
Withdrawal options are usually more restricted but when you bet in the legal regulated market you never have to worry about whether you will get paid. If you use offshore sites, you have no legal recourse if anything goes wrong, which means your money is at risk.
Legal online casinos in MA will process your withdrawal requests promptly. When you win cash and want to withdraw it, you can. All you must do is go to the online cashier in your account and you have safe reliable access to your money 24 hours a day.
When online gambling is legal Massachusetts residents can look forward to placing their bets on mobile devices. New York launched its sports betting without allowing mobile gambling. This was a mistake that they are now fixing. Fortunately, Massachusetts will allow mobile gambling from day one.
Modern technology means that almost all the features you can access at MA online casinos are available on your mobile device. There are some restrictions imposed by the smaller screen, but you can access your favorite casino games or place sports bets on the move. Apple iOS apps and Google Android apps are available for all the big-name casinos coming to Massachusetts.
Massachusetts casinos are still in their infancy. There are only three licensed casinos and the oldest has just turned three years old. There is one tribal casino in development – the First Light Casino and Resort. The development is mired in legal battles so there is no forecast date when it might open.
The casinos where Massachusetts residents can legally play are:
2,550 slots and 120 table games plus a 23-table poker room.
Encore Boston Harbor
Over 2,700 slots and over 185 table games. There is a dedicated poker room
Plainridge Park Casino
800+ slots, no table games except virtual. Live Harness Racing wagering is also available.
|Name||Address||Type||Owner/Operator||Live Table Games|
|MGM Springfield||One MGM Way, Springfield, MA 01103||Casino||MGM Resorts||Yes|
|Encore Boston Harbor||One Broadway Everett, MA 02149||Casino||Wynn Resorts||Yes|
|Plainridge Park Casino||301 Washington Street, Plainville, MA 02762||Slot Parlour||Penn National Gaming||Yes|
The first resort casino in Massachusetts. MGM Springfield opened its doors in August 2018. The development cost $960 million partly because it is in a historically significant area of the city. When MA casinos are allowed to offer online sports betting, the MGM Springfield will launch BetMGM Sports Betting to Massachusetts sports fans.
Five miles outside Boston on the Mystic River, the Encore Boston Harbor cost a staggering $2.6 billion to build. It is operated by Wynn Resorts and is likely to launch online gambling under the WynnBET brand.
Penn National operates Plainridge Park. The casino was the first to open after the 2011 Expanded Gaming Act passed. It is restricted to slots and virtual table games. Visitors can also enjoy harness racing and simulcast racing. Penn National is active in the online casino and sports betting business in other states so it will almost certainly launch online gambling in Massachusetts.
There are plenty of ways to gamble in MA even without a new online gambling bill. Lottery tickets are widely available, charity poker clubs host daily live games and the horse tracks allow on-site betting. If you want to enjoy a bit more luxury with your betting, there are two fabulous casino resorts with all the dining options you could wish for.
Online gambling is available in a limited form. DFS competitions at the top online sites are now regulated and safe. Sweepstake casinos offer an experience relatively like a real money online casino. In other words, there are still enough legal options to make it unnecessary to play at offshore sites.
|Type of Gambling||Allowed||Year Legalized|
|Land-Based Sports Betting||N||TBD|
|Online Sports Betting||N||TBD|
|Daily Fantasy Sports||Y||2016|
In many states, the only option for online gambling is to play at illegal offshore sites. We strongly advise against using these sites. Their lack of regulation or weak regulation makes playing there very risky. Over the last decade, hundreds of offshore online gambling sites have been closed down after police raids. Here are some specific reasons why you should not play or bet at offshore sites:
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has a Responsible Gaming Framework that all its licensees must work within. This is supported by a Public Health Trust Fund that provides support for problem gambling issues. The trust fund is paid for by a levy on the MA casinos.
The MGC is currently rolling out a budget-setting tool for slots players called PlayMyWay. The MGC also operates the GameSense support program. There are GameSense advisors in every casino available during all hours that the casino is open. The state operates a voluntary exclusion database, and this will also operate for online casino gambling.
The Commonwealth is making progress toward legalizing online gambling. Moving Massachusetts casinos online is a controversial political issue, but it is looking like a consensus is possible.
First, you should see online sportsbooks. When this is as successful as it is in other US states there will be pressure to produce another gaming expansion bill. After all, there is really very little difference between online sports betting and online poker. There is already a bill to permit the online sale of lottery tickets, and there is very little difference between modern casino games and online lottery games. Like all US states, the Commonwealth has financial problems, and more gambling tax revenues are an attractive option.
Massachusetts got ahead of the curve with DFS but now it is playing catch-up with online sports betting. The earliest dates for the launch of online gambling in Massachusetts are not easy to forecast. Early 2022 is a little optimistic, but it would be nice if MA sports fans could legally wager on the Super Bowl next year!
Online gambling is only allowed at sweepstakes casino sites and DFS sites. The law to enable online sports betting is still in the legislative process.
Sweepstakes casinos are the only legal MA casino sites where you can play casino games.
You can play the lottery, bet on horse races and play in charity gambling games at the age of 18. For other MA gambling activities, you must be 21.
Legal online sports betting in Massachusetts is almost certainly on its way. Online casinos where you can play slots and table games for real money are some years off.
The MGM Springfield is in Springfield. The Encore Boston Harbor is on the Mystic River just outside Boston. The Plainridge Park Casino is in Plainville.
"Over the last 10 years Joss has written about all aspects of online gambling for numerous sites. After a career as an Army officer, he spent time in business before taking up online poker. He lives in Peru with his family."