Massachussetts Retail Casinos

Massachusetts has a confusing gambling industry: It allows certain gambling offerings like retail casinos, but it restricts other forms of gambling like sports bettingMassachusetts doesn’t allow online gambling in any capacity, whether it’s online casino games or sports wagers.

That all could change soon … maybe.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate have both passed their own versions of sports betting bills that have key differences, such as whether betting on college sports will be legal. But, with the regular legislative session ending July 31, there does seem to be a sense of urgency for lawmakers to get a bill to Gov. Charlie Baker as soon as possible.

If and when sports betting is legalized, all online gambling likely wouldn’t be far behind.

Let’s take a closer look at the retail and online gambling industries in Massachusetts.

Are Online Gambling and Sports Betting Legal in Massachusetts?

Simply put, no. But it may not be due to legislative pushback.

In 2011, the Massachusetts legislature passed the Expanded Gaming Act, which allowed three retail casinos to be constructed in addition to a single slots parlor. This indicates Massachusetts isn’t against gambling by default.

Instead, the issue is gridlock. The House and Senate haven’t agreed on key issues yet. When that happens, there should be nothing stopping sports betting (and online sports betting) from launching and opening the door to online gambling.

The state created a nine-person commission in 2016 to study online gambling, which included lawmakers, the Attorney General, and gambling industry experts. They learned each of the three retail casino properties expressed interest in providing online casino websites to Massachusetts residents.

The bottom line is this: Online gambling and sports betting are not yet legal in Massachusetts, but it’s inevitable at this point. It’s just a matter of time.

Massachusetts Casino List

Currently, Massachusetts operates three retail casinos in different regions of the state.

Plainridge Park Casino

Located in Plainville, the Plainridge Park Casino opened in 2015 and was the first slots parlor in Massachusetts. It’s about 35 miles south of Boston’s metropolitan area and is open 24 hours a day. Visitors can find over 1,200 slot machines, blackjack and video poker stations, and live harness racing. 

Simulcast racing screens are available for live-streamed races as well. Aside from gambling-specific offerings, this casino offers a few different restaurants alongside a food court, plus a Revolutionary-era lounge where live music is performed. A 1,600-spot parking garage is available for day-visitors.

MGM Springfield

MGM Springfield is quite expansive, including 500,000 square feet that covers three city blocks in downtown Springfield. It offers 125,000 square feet of gaming space, 3,000 slot machines, and 75 gaming tables. It also offers a dedicated poker room with regular tournaments and a VIP high-limit gambling area.

This casino also has 165,000 square feet of dining, retail, and entertainment venues. These include 15 shops and restaurants, a movie theater and bowling alley, and an outdoor stage for entertainment performances like live music.

Parking is easy thanks to the multilevel garage with 5,000 parking spaces. You can stay at a 25-story hotel and enjoy a pool, spa, and outdoor garden.

Encore Boston Harbor Resort

The Encore Boston Harbor Resort is located in Everett and has over 200,000 square feet of gaming space. There are more than 3,000 slot machines and 143 table games, alongside an 88-table poker room. There are also 15 eateries, bars, and lounges, as well as a nightclub. 

There is a five-star luxury hotel tower that includes over 700 guest rooms and suites, alongside a beauty salon, spa, and fitness center. Visitors will also find a public harbor walk with both pedestrian and bike paths, a water taxi service into the city of Boston, and 94,000 square feet of high-end retail space filled with a variety of shops.

Potential Tribal Casinos

Two more casinos are potentially in the works.

The Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe is attempting to build the Aquinnah Cliffs Casino in Martha’s Vineyard. This would originally have been 100,000 square feet and included at least 250 electronic gaming machines like slot games, but plans may have changed due to recent legal developments, specifically issues regarding zoning laws that halted construction.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is also attempting to build the First Light Casino and Resort in Taunton, Massachusetts. The planned facility would cost $1 billion and include 150,000 square feet of space with 3,000 slots, 150 table games, and 40 poker tables. It would also include two 12-story towers, each with 300 rooms, and an event center and water park.

This project has also run into issues, mainly opposition from Taunton residents asking a federal judge to reopen a lawsuit that originally stalled construction in 2016.

Online Casinos Coming To Massachusetts

We don’t know exactly which online casinos will launch in Massachusetts when they are legalized, but we have a good idea of which would try. It only makes sense that the following operators, which also run sportsbooks, would offer Massachusetts residents their online casinos if they’re already in the state when sports betting is legalized.

DraftKings Casino

DraftKings Casino offers more than 700 games, including more than 500 slot options. Plus, it offers all the traditional online poker staples like blackjack, as well as keno.

FanDuel Casino

Although FanDuel Casino doesn’t boast as many games as DraftKings, its offering of 200 or so is high-quality, and it has every type of game you could want. It’s well-regarded for its video poker and faster-than-average payout speeds.

BetRivers Casino

BetRivers Casino, or Casino4Fun as it’s called on the website, offers more than 300 slot games, as well as table and card games and video poker. There is also a great live dealer feature. The payout speeds are even faster than FanDuel.

Caesars Casino

Caesars Casino has the fewest games on this list, at around 150. But those 150 are among the best and most fun in the industry. There’s a wide range of games, from video poker to table games and slots, and most are excellent. Caesars also has tremendous customer service.

BetMGM Casino

BetMGM Casino boasts over 700 games, including an online version of MGM Grand Million, and it’s well-known for high payouts. Its video poker and table game offerings are excellent, and it also features an online poker room where you can play cash games and even enter in tournaments.

The presence of MGM Springfield in Massachusetts makes BetMGM Casino coming to the state a no-brainer.

WynnBET Casino

WynnBET Casino might have the best live poker offering on this list, but it also has more than 500 other game options, which includes seven video poker games. The customer service is also high quality.

With Wynn operating Encore Boston Harbor, it also seems likely WynnBET Casino would come to Massachusetts.

Unibet Casino

If you want a ride range of games, with a wealth of quality options in every category, Unibet Casino might be for you. It all adds up to more than 700 offerings. Unibet Casino is widely popular around the world.

Massachusetts Sweepstakes Casinos

You can technically gamble online and win money while playing casino games in Massachusetts with sweepstakes casinos.

At a sweepstakes casino, players gamble using fake online currency, like tokens or coins, and those winnings can then be exchanged for real money when they’re done. But no real money is used while gambling. Sweepstakes casinos are legal in all 50 states, and well-regarded operators include SweepSlots Casino and Gambino Slots.

Casinos in Massachusetts FAQs

How old do I need to be to gamble in Massachusetts?

You need to be 21 years of age or older to enter any retail casinos in Massachusetts and participate in the state lottery.

Who regulates gambling in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission currently oversees all land-based casino gaming activities. It’s not clear whether this organization will also oversee any future sports betting industry.

Who owns casinos in Massachusetts?

The three currently active casinos in Massachusetts are each owned by commercial entities. For example, MGM Springfield is owned by MGM International. Fourth and fifth casinos are currently in construction limbo. If they are eventually constructed, they will be owned by the Aquinnah Wampanoag and Mashpee Wampanoag Native American tribes.

Is DraftKings legal in Massachusetts?

Only to provide daily fantasy sports. This is ironic as DraftKings is headquartered in Boston. There’s little doubt that if sports betting is ever legalized, DraftKings will be among the first operators to pursue and acquire a license in Massachusetts. 

Is FanDuel legal in Massachusetts?

Just like DraftKings, FanDuel cannot legally provide sports betting but it does provide daily fantasy sports.

About the Author

Matthew Bain

After six years with the USA TODAY Network, Matthew Bain became content manager for NYSportsDay and MassachusettsCasinos in 2022. He's from Southern California, but he roots for the Boston Celtics and Florida Panthers. Long story.