Massachusetts is on the verge of legalizing online sports betting, and the biggest online sports betting operators in the world are eagerly preparing to enter the MA market.
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MA sports betting is not legal at the moment. However, there are legislative efforts in progress that should change the gambling laws for late 2021 or early 2022.
We can expect MA online sports betting to launch in the first quarter of 2022 at the earliest. More likely, it will be up and running in time for the 2022 NFL betting season, which starts in September next year.
Massachusetts first passed gambling legislation in 1934. At that time, only horse and dog racing were legal. The state lottery began with a law passed in 1971. Fast forward to 2011 and we see the first major gambling expansion. The Expanded Gaming Act authorized three retail casinos and one slots parlor. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is responsible for regulation under the act.
Now MA is poised to make another leap forward. At the end of July the MA House of Representatives passed Bill H3977. The bill aims to legalize Massachusetts sports betting both online and at retail casinos. Previous bills in 2019 and 2020 failed, but this time there is a strong chance the bill will pass.
The bill passed the House by 156-3. The same majority isn't there in the Senate but there should still be enough support for it to make it to the Governor's desk. The current legislative session ends mid-November, but an extended session will continue until Jan. 4.
If the bill does pass, the Governor will sign it into law. However, there may be some amendments. The Governor is not in favor of allowing betting on college football and other college sports, which the bill does include. Either way, it is highly likely that MA sports betting legislation will be in place for 2022.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will regulate sports betting under the provisions of the new laws. It will write the regulations and issue licenses to MA sportsbooks. In other states, the regulator monitors sports betting through detailed procedures to ensure that games are fair, and your money is safe. All of the senior managers at the MA sportsbooks are vetted to ensure that they are suitable and qualified for their positions. The Gaming Commission is able to impose large fines for any compliance violations.
Under the Expanded Gaming Act the Gaming Commission is responsible for regulating the following casinos:
Each MA casino will be allowed to host three online sports betting partners; each racetrack may host one. There are potentially 12 online sports betting licenses available. You can expect to see the biggest brands in sports betting launch in Massachusetts as soon as they can. And they will be hungry for your business.
DraftKings is headquartered in Boston, so you know it's going to try hard to be the market leader in its home state. You may already know DraftKings from its leading position in the Daily Fantasy Sports market. Its sports betting app lets you play DFS and bet on sports from the same online wallet. In just over two years, DraftKings has become one of the trailblazers in the expansion of online sports betting.
Get to Know DraftKings Sportsbook
FanDuel is another big name from the world of DFS. Now owned by Flutter, the largest online gaming group in the world is has become the US market leader in mobile sports betting. Its sportsbook app is regularly acclaimed as the best in the US. It also leads with excellent bonus offers and promotions.
Get to Know FanDuel Sportsbook
The MGM casinos in Las Vegas are the last word in luxury. The MGM Springfield is a taste of Vegas in the Bay State. BetMGM is a joint venture with Entain – one of Europe's largest online sports betting companies. BetMGM is certain to launch in MA, and sure to be one of the most popular Massachusetts sportsbooks.
Get to Know BetMGM Sportsbook
PointsBet is making headway in the US. It offers a unique type of spread bet where you can make many multiples of your bet. You can also lose more than the amount you wager. High risk, but high-energy entertainment. PointsBet is an Australian company finding a niche sports betting market in several US states.
Get to Know PointsBet Sportsbook
FOX Bet is a venture-backed by the Stars Group, now part of Flutter, and Fox Sports. Bettors get the benefit of promotions and tips from Fox Sports commentators. You can even follow the progress of matches live-streamed to your mobile device.
Get to Know FOX Bet Sportsbook
BetRivers is another new brand that is gaining a solid reputation in the new state-regulated sports betting markets. Owner Rush Street Interactive is part of a group that launched four casinos in four years. Now that it has moved into the online gaming space it is showing the same levels of energy in expanding its presence to new sports betting markets.
Get to Know BetRivers Sportsbook
Unibet is a European company taking its first steps in the US state-regulated markets. As soon as online betting in MA is legal it is likely that Unibet will be in the market. A user-friendly mobile app that works well for new sports bettors will make it attractive to Massachusetts residents.
Get to Know Unibet Sportsbook
William Hill is one of the world's oldest sports betting companies. It dates back to 1934 but it also has the longest experience of sports betting in the US. In the summer of 2021, William Hill has purchased Caesars Sportsbook. The betting skin has been improved and the Rewards Program made better. All the great William Hill features and betting options remain, but under the new brand.
Get to Know Caesars Sportsbook
When the new MA online sportsbooks launch you will be able to bet on your favorite local teams. Online betting in Massachusetts is likely to generate a lot of interest in the fixtures of MA professional major league teams.
The Boston Celtics are one of the most successful NBA teams in history. They have won almost one in four NBA Championships with 17 titles to their name. The Celtics also have the record for the most recorded wins in the NBA. The team will create a lot of business for online sports betting in MA.
One of the founder members of the MLB, the Boston Red Sox have won nine World Series championships. Most recently they won the World Series in 2018. The Red Sox play out of Fenway Park stadium, which has been their home since 1912. The Red Sox has a good claim to be the most famous team in professional sports in Massachusetts.
The Boston Bruins are the oldest US-based team in the NHL. They have won six Stanley Cups with the last coming in 2011. Massachusetts residents will be able to make futures bets on them winning again in 2022. Online sports betting in MA will also allow many different prop bets on the Bruins' top players.
The Patriots are hungry for more Super Bowl victories. They hold the record with six victories matched only by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Brady-Belichick era marked an incredible period of success for the Patriots. Legal sports betting operators are expecting to see a huge handle for Patriots games when sports betting in Massachusetts launches.
New England Revolution is a charter member of Major League Soccer (MLS). The club shares an owner with the New England Patriots. Billionaire Robert Kraft and his son Jonathon own both teams. The Revolution have played five MLS Cup Finals but never won. If you want to bet that they'll break that streak and take home the cup in 2022, Massachusetts' new legal sports betting apps will be happy to take your bet.
Legal sports betting apps describe the games they offer for you to bet on as markets. Many of the operators offering online betting in MA have a global customer base. They offer markets on all the European sports, but the Europeans also love betting on US sports. Offering wagers on the NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA bets is nothing new for them.
All of the sportsbooks Massachusetts licenses will pay particular attention to the sports that are most popular in MA. You can be sure that they will make markets on all of the matches played by MA professional sports teams. As long as the regulator allows bets on college sports, you will also be able to bet on these.
If you want to start online betting in Massachusetts, you will need to deposit money at one of the new online sportsbooks. Some US banks refuse to accept gambling payment transactions even for legal MA sportsbooks. This means that the operators offer a wide range of deposit methods so that there is a suitable deposit option for everyone.
Popular options include credit and debit cards together with cards issued by payment processors such as PayPal and Play+. E-checks are a useful option since they permit deposits and withdrawals directly to your bank account. You can even deposit in cash using the PayNearMe service at 7/11s and other convenience stores. For large deposits and withdrawals, bank wire transfers are a common option especially if you have just won a large sum of money.
Each option has different limits and takes a different amount of time to process. Check out our reviews to see which options are offered by each sportsbook.
Most sports betting in the US is now done using mobile devices. In some states, over 80% of all sports bets are placed by mobile. The sportsbooks MA is likely to license, have this market well covered. You can find apps for Android and iOS devices with almost all of the functionality of the desktop apps.
The major difference when it comes to using your mobile device is the screen size. On your desktop, you usually see the bet slip in the right-hand column. On mobile, it normally pops up when you need it and then shrinks to an icon until you need it again. Otherwise, the user experience is virtually the same.
The proposals for Massachusetts online betting currently wending their way through the legislative process appear to have learned lessons from the experience in other states. Sports in Massachusetts will be supported by online betting – not threatened by it. The new laws don't demand financial protections for sports teams or exorbitant fees for the use of sports data.
Proposed tax rates of 15% for legal MA sports betting online and 12.5% for retail betting are in line with best practices internationally as well as in other US states. It looks like the politicians are not restricting mobile betting nor will they require you to open online accounts in person. These are faults made by New York and Illinois that both states are now rectifying.
The only area of concern is whether Gov. Charlie Baker will support the bill if it includes wagering on college sports. Leave college sports out of the bill and many bettors will continue to wager at offshore sites.
Sports betting in Massachusetts will provide entertainment for hundreds of thousands of sports fans. But a few will have difficulties with problem gambling. One of the advantages of a state-regulated system is that problem gambling can be identified early, interventions are possible, and the right support is made available.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is central to ensuring responsible gambling when the new laws come into force. Currently, the Commission promotes its Responsible Gaming Framework. This includes programs such as GameSense, which "encourages casino patrons who chose to gamble to adopt and/or maintain positive behaviors and attitudes that reduce the risk of gambling-related harm."
Sports betting is not legal in MA. Legislation is progressing that will allow both online and retail sports betting.
The minimum age for placing sports bets in Massachusetts will be 21. The sportsbooks MA authorizes will verify your identity to ensure there is no underage gambling.
Legal MA sports betting will offer betting on all the popular US sports but also a wider range of sports from around the world. Each of the sportsbooks Massachusetts licenses will select their own betting markets. If the sport you want is not on offer at your sportsbook, you will probably find it listed at another. Our reviews list the sports markets offered by each operator.
You will be able to use sports betting apps for Apple iOS and Google Android mobile phones and tablets. The apps offer almost the same experience as the desktop software.
You will need to be inside MA state borders to place your bets. You will not have to be resident in Massachusetts, but you must be present in the state before you can wager legally.
It is difficult to predict when the first MA sportsbooks will launch. The legislation will set the timetable. If new laws pass in 2021, then sportsbooks should launch well in time for the NFL season kickoff in September.
"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."