Now that Massachusetts lawmakers have agreed on a sports betting bill, MA sports betting is poised to launch — perhaps by the end of the football season.
When that happens, Massachusetts residents will both be able to bet on sports online and at in-person sportsbooks at the state’s three retail casinos: Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino. There could also be potential sportsbook locations at the state’s sports facilities, like TD Garden, Fenway Park, and Gillette Stadium.
The Aquinnah Wampanoag and Mashpee Wampanoag Native American tribes are also attempting to build casinos, but those are running into some legal roadblocks.
Let’s break down everything there is to know about retail sportsbooks in Massachusetts, plus explore how the industry could shape up once it is legalized.
Legal Sports Betting in Massachusetts
The three Massachusetts retail casinos are owned by operators who already have their own sportsbooks.
So, MA residents wanting to get an early sense of sports betting options should familiarize themselves with BetMGM (MGM Springfield), WynnBET (Encore Boston Harbor), and Barstool Sportsbook (Plainridge Park Casino — owned by PENN Entertainment, which partners with Barstool for sportsbooks). Two racetracks will also receive sportsbook licenses.
The Massachusetts sports betting bill that Gov. Baker signed into law allows for seven sportsbook licenses not connected to retail casinos and horse racetracks. So, beyond the retail options mentioned above, it’ll be a highly competitive application process for those final seven licenses.
Types of Bets Taken at Sportsbooks in Massachusetts
Let’s break down the types of wagers you can expect to see at Massachusetts retail casinos in the future.
Moneyline bets are some of the most basic and popular, and for good reason. All you have to do is bet on which team or player will win, plain and simple. Odds are typically represented with basic numerals, like +110 or -150, which represent the odds for favorites or underdog teams, respectively.
Moneyline bets are great wagers to check out if you are new to sports betting and don’t want to put money down on a complex wager you don’t fully understand.
Spread bets are also popular in sportsbooks across America. They require you to bet the spread by betting a favorite team to win by more than a certain number of points. This means they went beyond their projected expectations to win.
Or bettors can choose the other side and pick the underdog. This means if that team doesn’t lose beyond the expected number of points, the wager wins. These bets are a little more complex, but still fun if you want to broaden your wagering horizons.
Totals bets are basic and often recommended as the next bet to try after moneylines. They require you to bet on the combined total points scored by both teams. You wager that the total will be above or below the points predicted by the oddsmakers. If the final score is equal to the predicted total, the bet is void.
Futures bets are fun because they often have the potential for high payouts. They concern the outcomes of future events, like the winner of the MLB World Series or the NBA Finals.
Certain tournaments, like March Madness or a golf tournament, have plenty of futures bets to choose from. With these wagers, the earlier you put your money down, the higher your potential payout will be since the odds will be more against you.
Proposition bets (or props) are simplistic wagers that require you to bet on something other than the outcome or points scored. For example, you might find a prop betting line speculating that a certain football player will score a touchdown.
Or you might find prop bets for things like the winner of the MVP, whether a particular baseball player will hit a certain number of home runs, and so on. Prop bets are popular for their customization and uniqueness compared to other wagers.
Parlay bets are often found at retail and online sportsbooks across the country. They involve multiple single bets called legs. To win a parlay bet, you have to get every leg of the broader parlay wager correct.
While these have lower-than-average odds of success, they also have higher-than-average payouts since you have to get multiple bets right to win. Note that parlay bets are usually only pursued by experienced bettors who know how to weigh odds in their heads.
Massachusetts Sports Betting Guide
Let’s break down what you need to know in order to navigate the upcoming industry and so you know what sportsbook apps are likely to apply for licenses.
The 2 Best Online Sports Betting Apps in Massachusetts
We don’t know exactly which sportsbooks will come to Massachusetts, but we have a good idea who will try.
DraftKings is a no-brainer. We definitely expect this sports betting app to come to Massachusetts as soon as possible given its headquarters location in Boston. DraftKings would be a fantastic offering to Massachusetts residents, as this mobile app is well-known for its exceptional market depth and variety, phenomenal performance, and excellent odds boosts and promotional opportunities.
FanDuel may also crop up in Massachusetts. This sportsbook app is known for its generous opening bonus (a risk-free bet worth up to $1,000), excellent and player-friendly odds, and live betting that is almost unbeatable anywhere else. The app also comes with a great interface and smooth operation, even on days with a lot of online traffic.
The 3 Most Popular Sports for Sports Bettors in Massachusetts
As far as popular sports go, the classic American trifecta baseball, football, and basketball are sure to be popular sports for bettors in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is home to three successful professional sports franchises in each of those sports: the New England Patriots for football, the Boston Red Sox for baseball, and the Boston Celtics for basketball.
Be prepared for promotional opportunities, special betting lines, and marketing campaigns to revolve around each of these sports once sportsbook platforms or retail locations are announced.
Depending on how sports betting legalization goes, certain sportsbook operators can also partner with the above franchises, making these sports even more popular leagues to bet on.
Retail Sports Betting in Massachusetts FAQs
Not yet. But since Massachusetts lawmakers have now agreed on a sports betting bill, MA online sports betting could launch by the end of the football season.
No, but there are three Massachusetts commercial casinos where retail sportsbooks will launch. Those casinos are operated by MGM (BetMGM), Wynn (WynnBET), and PENN Entertainment (Barstool Sportsbook).
You’ll likely need to be 21 years of age or older. This is the legal age of entrance for Massachusetts casinos.
Probably. Online horse race wagering is currently active in Massachusetts, and the state has a long and storied history with horse racing as a pastime. We’d be surprised if you weren’t able to bet on horse racing in some capacity at retail sportsbooks.
Yes. The agreed-upon sports betting bill taxes 15% on in-person sports betting and 20% on online sports betting.
It will be. Live betting is now a staple of mobile sports wagering and is even present in many brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. We’d be surprised to find that live betting isn’t offered at sportsbook locations in Massachusetts in the future.
Not currently, but it surely will when sports betting launches in Massachusetts. DraftKings has its headquarters in Boston and currently offers DFS or daily fantasy sports to Massachusetts residents. Expect DraftKings to be among the first sportsbooks to launch in the Bay State.
Not yet, but like DraftKings, FanDuel offers daily fantasy sports to Massachusetts residents. It’ll probably be one of the first sportsbooks to receive licensure once the sports betting industry launches.