Legal sports betting is coming to Massachusetts, but there isn’t any firm timeline as to when a mobile or retail industry will launch. For now, Massachusetts residents must continue to bide their time and wait for legislators to push a sports betting bill through the Senate and House of Representatives.
Sports wagering has been a long time coming for Massachusetts residents. The state is home to the headquarters of DraftKings, a major sports betting operator, and Massachusetts is also home to some of the region’s most popular professional sports franchises.
This page will break down how you’ll be able to bet on sports in Massachusetts, as well as what you can expect from the upcoming sports wagering industry.
Where Can You Bet on Sports in Massachusetts?
Once sports wagering launches in Massachusetts, you’ll most likely have two different ways to bet: online or in-person.
It’s unclear how many sports betting licenses we can expect from Massachusetts. The House of Representatives passed a bill last July allowing for at least 11. The Senate passed a bill in April capping it at nine. Now, the two legislative bodies are trying to reach a compromise before the legislative session ends July 31.
Online sports betting is exploding across the country and we expect this trend to continue in Massachusetts. With online sports betting, you’ll be able to download a mobile app to your phone and place wagers from anywhere within Massachusetts state lines.
Geolocation software will be included with every downloaded sportsbook to ensure that bettors don’t place bets outside Massachusetts. Many of the best online sportsbooks will include live or in-play betting opportunities so you can put money down as the action unfolds.
We also expect retail sportsbooks to crop up in Massachusetts sooner or later. These will likely be constructed at the state’s handful of retail casinos. However, depending on the legislation, retail sportsbooks can also appear in other locations like sports bars, horse race tracks, off-track betting parlors, and more.
Retail sportsbooks have a few advantages over online sportsbooks in that they create a novel atmosphere that can’t be matched by placing wagers at home. Additionally, retail sportsbooks may allow you to deposit and withdraw cash from your account instantaneously by visiting the attached casino’s cash cage.
Popular Sports Bets in Massachusetts
No matter what form sports wagering eventually takes in Massachusetts, you can expect several major sports to be popular markets.
Massachusetts is home to an NFL franchise, the New England Patriots. Many New Englanders are fanatical supporters of this team, who have brought home the Super Bowl trophy six times, all since 2001. Expect sportsbooks and fans alike to drum up a lot of attention about NFL bets when football season starts.
Massachusetts is also home to the Boston Celtics, a popular NBA franchise that just played in the 2022 NBA Finals. This team has its own massive fanbase. Exclusive betting lines and promotions are sure to be everywhere for the Celtics once sportsbooks launch in this state.
Then there’s baseball. Massachusetts is home to the Boston Red Sox, one of the most famous baseball teams in the nation. It’s safe to say that there will be plenty of betting action for baseball fans in Massachusetts. Watch for promotions or odds boosts for Red Sox bets depending on the sportsbook platform you use.
What Kinds of Bets Can Be Placed on Sports in Massachusetts?
Details about a prospective sports wagering industry in Massachusetts are sparse. Even so, we can safely guess what kinds of bets you’ll be able to place in this state whether you choose to use a mobile app or visit a retail sportsbook location.
Moneyline are popular due to their simplicity. All they require is that you wager on which team will win, plain and simple. Odds are easy to grasp as well, making these bets great choices for new sports bettors who want to learn the ropes of gambling before moving on to more complex bet types.
Spread bets require you to “bet the spread,” which can be one of two things.
First, you can wager that the favorite wins by a better-than-expected number of points. The number of points is determined by the oddsmaker.
Second, you wager that the underdog team (the team likely to lose) wins the game outright or loses by fewer than expected points. Spread bets naturally require a greater understanding of the games they concern, but they can still be fun bets for Massachusetts sports bettors once they arrive.
Totals bets are simplistic and a great step up from traditional moneyline bets if you don’t have a lot of experience.
Massachusetts sportsbooks will definitely let you place these bets, which require you to wager whether the combined total points scored between both teams is more or less than the oddsmaker’s prediction. If the final score is the same number as the total, the bet is graded as void.
Parlay bets are sequential bets that are comprised of multiple legs or single bets. You have to get every leg of a parlay bet correct in order to win.
This is an easy way to get better odds when selecting multiple legs that are favorable to hit. However, parlays always bring greater risk to a bet. The more variables that are added, the more unlikely it is to choose what happens correctly.
What Is a Futures Bet?
We also expect Massachusetts sportsbooks to allow futures bets. Futures bets are popular wagers that involve wagering on the outcome of future events, not just the outcomes of current ones.
For example, you might find futures wagers on the outcome of the World Series this year or what team is going to win the National or American League. With futures bets, you usually make more money as these wagers carry more risk. Some sportsbooks may offer to cash out at certain periods of the season based on the current value of the futures bet.
How To Place a Prop Bet on Sports
Last but not least, Massachusetts sportsbooks should also let you place prop or proposition bets. These are popular bets for new sports bettors since they don’t require you to know everything about the game to win.
In a nutshell, prop bets mean you wager on isolated events within a game or season. This includes whether a particular player will score a goal, or if a team goes higher or lower than a certain amount of points.
Prop bets are creative, too, making them a fan favorite on all sportsbook platforms. Sportsbooks tend to offer similar prop bets, but there can be some variation depending on the platform you choose.
How Are Sports Betting Odds Calculated?
Sports betting odds are almost always calculated through the use of professional oddsmakers or line-making algorithms.
Oddsmakers are essentially pro statisticians who take official league data (stats on players, teams, and more based on performance records and in-house data) to formulate odds. They create betting lines that offer a good opportunity for profit for both sides of a wager.
Line-making algorithms are the evolution of this practice and are often employed for in-person or live betting on mobile sportsbook apps. All legitimate and licensed sportsbooks will calculate odds in this way.
But since they employ different people or use different algorithms, the odds can be different from book to book. This is why many experienced sports bettors will “line shop” or use multiple sportsbooks to find the best betting lines for a given wager.
How To Bet on Sports in Massachusetts
Once sports betting launches in Massachusetts, actually placing a wager should be quick and simple.
It’s unlikely that Massachusetts will require in-person registration since there are only a few casinos available and not enough tethering options for all the sportsbooks it will want to license.
Online registration should include:
- Downloading the sportsbook app of your choice from the marketplace. Fortunately, most major sportsbooks are available on both the iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play).
- Install the sportsbook app on your phone and begin the registration process.
- To register, you’ll need to provide some key personal information, like your date of birth and Social Security number. Sportsbook staff members will review your information to confirm your identity.
- After your registration is complete, you’ll be able to fund your account using a variety of electronic methods, like debit or credit card transactions, PayPal transfers, and more. The exact deposit options available will depend on the sportsbook you choose to download.
- Then you can place a bet on your favorite sport or betting line. Don’t forget to take advantage of any opening bonuses that might apply to your account.
Sports Betting Partnerships
There are two sports betting partnerships already recognized that give us some insight into the most likely sportsbooks to launch in Massachusetts.
The first is between WynnBET and Encore Boston Harbor. Encore is owned by Wynn. This means that WynnBET will likely enjoy early market access if and when sports wagering launches in Massachusetts.
The second is with Barstool Sportsbook, a smaller and more regional sportsbook operator. This company is owned by Penn National Gaming, which also owns Massachusetts’s Plainridge Park Casino. So it’s all but guaranteed that Barstool will get a retail gaming license since Penn will probably want to take as much of the sports betting pie as possible.
You can also expect MGMBet to get a license in Massachusetts, as the company owns MGM Springfield.
Aside from these partnerships, there aren’t any firm agreements between sportsbook operators and casinos. Still, you can rest assured that DraftKings will get a license to operate in Massachusetts given the location of its headquarters in Boston.
How To Bet on Sports in Massachusetts FAQs
Very popular. Massachusetts is home to several major sports franchises, including the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, and Boston Celtics (NFL, MLB, and NBA franchises, respectively). Sports are huge to many New Englanders and residents of surrounding states often support Massachusetts teams if their states don’t have any local franchises. If sports betting ever launches in this state, it’ll be popular immediately.
No. Sports wagering is still illegal in any capacity, so don’t use an offshore or illegal betting app even if you’re impatient for legal sports betting to launch.
For now, they need to hop the border to New Jersey or visit another nearby state with a legal sports betting industry.
Most likely. Sports betting operators likely to acquire licensure in Massachusetts will launch apps with in-game betting functionality.
Generally, yes. There will be some differences when it comes to international or niche sports leagues and activities. However, all Massachusetts sportsbooks will at least allow you to place bets on major American professional sports like football, baseball, basketball, and more.