When Will Massachusetts Legalize Online Gambling?
Sports gambling in Massachusetts is legal and it’s set to begin with retail sportsbooks on Jan. 31, 2023, with online sports betting to follow in March.
So … does that mean other forms of online gambling are next?
The prevailing thought is that, when sports betting launches, that will then open the door for gambling at Massachusetts online casinos to become legal eventually, too. Currently, legal online casinos only exist in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, West Virginia, Michigan, and Delaware.
Bottom line: Now that Massachusetts residents can gamble on sports online, it feels inevitable that they’ll eventually be able to gamble at online casinos and online poker sites, too.
Massachusetts Online Gambling
Currently, gambling with real money at online casinos or online poker is not legal in Massachusetts. The gambling bill Gov. Charlie Baker signed on Aug. 10 was a sports-focused gambling bill.
Massachusetts online casinos were not part of that discussion.
The general consensus is that gambling at online casinos will soon be legalized too. Many of the same sportsbook apps that have licenses in Massachusetts also run online casinos, so it only makes sense. And let’s be real: More online gambling in MA means more revenue for the state.
So … what comes next?
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is in the process of granting retail and online MA sports gambling licenses. Retail sportsbooks will launch at Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino on Jan. 31, 2023, and online sportsbooks are expected to launch in March.
After that, it will still likely be a matter of years before lawmakers come up with anything substantive regarding other forms of Massachusetts online gambling.
While online sports gambling is spreading across the US, online casinos are being legalized more slowly. Right now, six states have legal online casinos: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Those states also have legal online poker, as well as Nevada.
In the gambling industry, Massachusetts is seen as a state more likely than others to legalize online gambling, along with states such as California, New York, and Illinois. Online casinos and online poker began when Nevada legalized online poker in 2013. New Jersey and Delaware then legalized online poker and casinos, and the other states have since followed suit. The MGC has been discussing the potential for online gambling since 2016.
Massachusetts Gambling News
Legal Online Gambling in Massachusetts
Massachusetts residents can legally gamble at the state’s three retail casinos: Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino (slots only). But, if you want to gamble from home or on the go, there are still legal online gambling options in Massachusetts.
Horse Race Gambling
You’re allowed to gamble online on horse racing in Massachusetts, and there are several great options. TVG Racing offers odds on races from around the world with a streamlined set-up. AmWager and DRF Bets are solid, too. If and when they get sportsbook licenses in Massachusetts, BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook will likely bring BetMGM Horse Racing and Caesars Racebook to the state.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports, or DFS, was legalized in Massachusetts in 2016. DraftKings and FanDuel have almost a complete monopoly on DFS right now, but other companies, such as Outlast, Underdog, Betcha, PrizePicks and Monkey Knife Fight, have gained a small chunk of the market share. DFS provides a quality online gambling option for Massachusetts residents until sports getting is legalized.
Never heard of a social or a sweepstakes casino? They’re legal in almost all US states, including Massachusetts. On these sites, players gamble using fake coins or tokens. Some of those currencies can ultimately be exchanged for real cash prizes. Chumba Casino is quickly becoming the most popular social casino out there. Other choices include Luckyland Slots, Global Poker, Funzpoints, and Pulsz.
Massachusetts will officially launch sports gambling in early 2023. First, three retail sportsbooks at the state’s three casinos will launch on Jan. 31, 2023. Then, by March, online sports gambling will launch via apps such as DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel, and many more. In all, there will likely be 12 online sports gambling apps and three retail sportsbooks when sports gambling first goes live.
Online Gambling Sites Coming Soon to Massachusetts
DraftKings already offers daily fantasy sports to Massachusetts residents. DraftKings Sportsbook will certainly get a license in the state and launch its Bay State app in early 2023. And if and when online casinos come to Massachusetts, DraftKings Casino has quickly become a quality product in that industry.
Like DraftKings, FanDuel already has DFS in Massachusetts and will offer its sportsbook app in early 2023. And, also like DraftKings, FanDuel Casino is no doubt coming to the Bay State when online casinos launch.
A titan in the field, Caesars has excellent products in Caesars Sportsbook and Caesars Casino. Its online casino offering is widely considered one of the best in the US. The sports gambling platform is already licensed by the MGC, and it would quickly license the company’s online casino product when the time comes, too.
BetMGM Sportsbook already has an online sports gambling license from the MGC and its retail partner, MGM Springfield, is already licensed for a retail sportsbook. With a brick-and-mortar casino already in the state, BetMGM Casino is a no-brainer in the future.
Like BetMGM, WynnBET is will offer sports gambling online and in-person at its retail partner, Encore Boston Harbor. This means WynnBET would be just about guaranteed to offer online casino gambling if and when that type of gambling is legal in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Online Gambling Deposit and Withdrawal Options
Deposit and withdrawal options for Massachusetts online gambling will be similar to what you see with online sportsbooks. You’ll be able to connect your online banking account to the casino. You’ll also be able to use a range of other funding options, including credit/debit cards, e-checks, or e-wallets such as PayPal.
Massachusetts residents can already utilize these options for sports gambling, horse race gambling, DFS, and social casinos. Keep in mind that some apps, including the popular horse race betting platform TVG Racing, has a $5 deposit fee for credit/debit cards and PayPal.
Recommended Methods: Online Banking and Debit Card
Online banking is the simplest and fastest way to deposit and withdraw money when gambling online. You can simply connect your bank account to your online casino or sportsbook account, and you’re all set. Debit cards are also a good, relatively quick option. We recommend debit cards over credit cards because it’s always safer to gamble with money you actually have.
How Long Do Deposits and Withdrawals Take?
Deposits are just about instantaneous. New users simply take go through the method desired and the money will be available almost immediately. The only method that won’t be immediate is some form of wire transfer. We don’t recommend this method because fees are usually associated with it.
Withdrawals vary by method and the online casino or sportsbook. We also recommend online banking for withdrawals, as this is often the fastest option (1-3 business days) and there is no minimum requirement. PayPal can sometimes take 3-5 business days, and checks can take up to two weeks.
|Credit Card||No||No||No. Usually rejected by the issuing bank and counts as a cash advance charge.|
|Debit Card||Yes||Maybe||Yes. Connected to an online banking account with no fees. VISA and MasterCard usually allowed.|
|Pay with Cash (PayNearMe/VanillaDirect)||Yes||No||Yes. Convenient option for making cash deposits at 7-Eleven, CVS, and beyond.|
|Online Banking (ACH)||Yes||Yes||Yes. No fees, and winnings go directly into your checking account.|
|VIP Preferred/ACH||Yes||Yes||Yes. No fees and a secure digital alternative to paper checks.|
|PayPal||Yes||Yes||Yes. No fees and a great ewallet for online betting.|
|Play+ Card||Yes||Yes||It depends. If you want to keep your sports betting finances completely separate and use the funds at other locations (the sportsbook will send you a prepaid card), then it’s a viable option.|
History of Gambling and Sports Betting in Massachusetts
Pari-mutuel wagers for horse and dog races have been legal in Massachusetts since 1934. Today, charitable gambling activities, like bingo, raffles, and even MA casino nights, are totally legal at certain establishments. A state lottery has been running since 1971.
Casinos were constructed after November 2011, when then-Governor Deval Patrick signed the Expanded Gaming Act into law. This allowed three commercial casinos (Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield, and Encore Boston Harbor) to be constructed in distinct regions throughout the state.
In 2016, daily fantasy sports were legalized. This was a big boon to DraftKings, a major sportsbook based in Boston.
Meanwhile, sports betting has lagged behind. Multiple bills were proposed in either the House or Senate throughout 2018 and 2019, but none progressed far.
The House passed a sports betting bill in March 2020, but it didn’t advance any further. Then sports betting legalization stalled as Massachusetts and the rest of the country dealt with COVID-19.
Now, just over two years later, Massachusetts lawmakers are legalizing sports gambling in the Bay State. Things will launch Jan. 31, 2023, with retail sportsbooks, and online sportsbooks are expected to follow in March 2023.
Timeline of Massachusetts’ Gambling History
- 1934 — Massachusetts legalizes pari-mutuel wagering for horse races and dog races.
- 1971 — The Massachusetts state lottery is established. Tickets are sold the following year.
- November 2011 — The Expanded Gaming Act is signed into law and allows for the construction of three commercial casinos.
- June 2015 — The state’s single slots-only casino, Plainridge Park Casino, opens.
- March 2020 — Sports betting legislation moves to the House in Massachusetts with bill H.4559.
- November 2020 — Senate rejects amendment to legalize sports betting.
- February 2021 — Bill H.70 is introduced by Gov. Baker.
- April 2021 — House proposes a fiscal budget for 2022 without sports betting revenue.
- July 2021 — Bill H.3993 is overwhelmingly approved by the House.
- October 2021 — Senate President Karen Spilka does not list sports betting as a priority for the rest of the year, leading to a belief that discussion will be picked up at some point in 2022.
- April 2022 — Senate passes its own sports betting bill, S.2844.
- May 2022 — Conference committee, with members from House and Senate, is formed to try to reach an agreement on a sports betting bill.
- June 9, 2022 — Michael Rodrigues, the Senate Ways and Means Chairman, says the conference committee will work to get an approved sports betting bill on Gov. Baker’s desk “as quickly as possible.”
- July 8, 2022 — State Rep. Jerry Parisella tells MassLive he is hopeful Massachusetts will pass a sports betting bill by the July 31 end of session.
- July 13, 2022 — Senate President Karen Spilka also tells reporters she is hopeful the conference committee will get a sports betting bill to Gov. Baker by July 31.
- Aug. 1, 2022 — Massachusetts lawmakers go past their July 31 deadline, into the early morning of Aug. 1, to agree on a sports betting bill for Gov. Baker to sign.
- Aug. 4, 2022 — The Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets and preaches patience for the launch of MA sports betting. Licensing could take as long as six months.
- Aug. 10, 2022 — Gov. Baker signs the MA sports betting bill into law.
- December 2022-January 2023 — The MGC awards 12 online sports gambling licenses and three retail sports gambling licenses. Retail sports gambling will launch Jan. 31, 2023, and online sportsbooks will launch by March 2023.
Massachusetts Online Gambling FAQs
Yes. There are three open casinos in Massachusetts, one of which is slots only. Native American tribes are pursuing legal efforts to construct a fourth and fifth casino.
All of the open casinos are owned by private companies. Native American tribes in Massachusetts are pursuing legal efforts to construct a fourth and fifth casino.
Yes. Retail sportsbooks will launch in Massachusetts on Jan. 31, 2023, and online sports gambling is expected to go live by March 2023.
No. While the state does have a lottery, it does not allow you to purchase tickets online. You can, however, see if you win online.
You need to be 21 years of age or older, which is the same age required in other states.
Yes. The only casino locations are retail, so you don’t have any online casino gambling options. So you also don’t need to worry about identity theft or other digital threats.