Massachusetts Sports Betting

  • Sports betting remains illegal with the exception of offshore sports betting sites.
  • Waiting and learning from the early pioneer of Rhode Island, and dare I say New Hampshire.
  • Not in a hurry to legalize.
  • Keep waiting till 2021 for sports betting to be open to the public, if we are lucky!

Top 3 Massachusetts Sportsbook Online

  1. Bovada
  2. MyBookie
  3. BetOnline

Legality of Sports Betting

The Bay State is a sports loving state. They got all the great teams! New England Patriots, the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics. And they have only just recently approved the legalization of land based casinos in the past 5 years.

So you would think, legalizing sports betting would be a no brainer. But NO! Such is the hypocrisy of politics in the US!

In 2019, there was much fanfare with the opportunities of legalizing sports betting. Often comments would be made such as “Massachusetts will be at the forefront of gambling law changes.” And even tongue and cheek jabs to neighboring New Hampshire that big brother MA will have a more efficient and betting sports betting environment.

But alas, who is now eating humble pie? Massachusetts lags behind New Hampshire which has launched Sports Betting through partnering DraftKings. (Ironically DraftKings is homebased in Massachusetts).

In a slop hazard approach, too many bills were raised in an attempt to fast track approval in the house and Senate. At one stage there were over 10 bills pre-filed in what became was farcical affair.

The approach could be compared to fishing. Hang out as many fishing lines as you can, and hope that one of them will catch a fish. But you know what, each fishing line has the same bait! Maybe one looks bigger or tastier than the other but in essence it is the same bait!

So in the end, legislators caught onto this act and didn’t take the bait. In fact it caused more confusion among the fish as to which bait to take.

What find even more astonishing is that there isn’t a large block of Native American tribes to negotiate with. Other larger states are at an impasse with the many stakeholders to come to an agreement. But here, in Massachusetts, there isn’t that problem. So what gives?


Massachusetts Sports Betting – Will it be legalized in 2020?

2020 is a new year with a new beginning. How it will unfold is unlikely to result in real change to the legalization of sports betting.

Legislature session has resume and will end in July 2020. In theory there is ample time for an amended bill to be pushed forward, or even one to be drafted from scratch. But again I highlight my doubts.

Previous proposals allowed existing land based casino operators to apply for a sports betting license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. They will be permitted to partner sports books with one skin only.

  • Application fees will cost $100k with an additional $500k 5 year fee.
  • On-site and online sports betting will be permitted.
  • Minimum age of 21.
  • And sprinkle in a tiered tax rate. Lower for on-site sports bets, higher tax for online bets.

Gambling in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has one of the most successful state lotteries in the country. Raising over $5 billion per year with $1 billion going to state community initiatives.

It was therefore a big deal when casino gaming was legalized about 5 years ago. There were the obvious concerns raised regarding cannibalizing the lottery and exposing the young and vulnerable to the vices of gambling. These are very valid concerns, however casino gaming was approved and thus we now have several mega casinos in the state. It therefore doesn’t quite make sense why sports betting revenue is being debated as to whether it would make a dent to the state lottery. Sports betting is by far smaller in market than casino gaming, so what is the big deal?

MGM Springfield casino the first casino established in Massachusetts. Owned and operated by MGM Grand, this casino is yes very grand! MGM do not do things half baked and this is certainly a quality casino.

The Encore Boston Harbor by Wynn Resorts is the second mega casino to exist in Massachusetts, a huge las Vegas style casino.

Casinos in Massachusetts have a turnover of approximately $4.8 billion per year – not too far behind the State lottery

In the below table, you can see the breakdown of gambling types in Massachusetts.

US$m2019
actuals
2020
estimated
Massachusetts State Lottery              5,465               5,450
Casino Gaming              4,812            4,993
Horse and Greyhound Racing Betting                   71                    68
Charity Gaming                   56                    55
 (*) Sports Betting – offshore                       39                        29
 Casino – offshore                       34                        34
 Poker – offshore                         6                          6
 Bingo/Other – offshore                         5                          5

(*) Sports betting is offshore online sites only. Onshore online sports books are not permitted.


Is Sports Betting illegal in Massachusetts?

The only form of sports betting that is not illegal is offshore sports betting via the internet. In the year 2018, Massachusetts wagered $39 million at offshore sports betting sites (per H2 Gambling Capital).

Though you physically may be located within the borders of Massachusetts, the actual sports book is licensed and operating offshore thereby not breaking the onshore laws of sports betting.

Therefore it is legal and safe to bet at an offshore licensed sports book.

All other forms of sports betting in Massachusetts is illegal -This includes operating and running a sports book


How can I find an online Sports Book?

The most popular offshore sports book is Bovada. It is the largest and has a long standing history of operating a sports book for US citizens.

Do NOT place a bet at an unlicensed sports book operating offshore. Unlicensed sportsbooks may not be reliable. Although they may offer great Welcome bonuses, their promise to pay any winnings may be empty. Keep with the trusted, big brand names.


How can I place a Sports Bet onshore?

It is illegal to run a sports book or place a sports bet within the borders of Massachusetts. Other than placing a sports bet at an offshore online sports book the only other option is to travel interstate to New Hampshire or Rhode Island where sports betting has been legalized.

Travelling from Boston to New Hampshire is only a half hour drive.


Daily Fantasy Sport in Massachusetts

Daily Fantasy Sports is legal in Massachusetts. Legalized in 2016, it came into operation in 2017. With zero tax being imposed on operators (was meant to applied in 2018) the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel have got it good!

In summary the Daily Fantasy Sports laws are as follows:

  • Minimum age is 21
  • College and high school games are not permitted
  • Deposits are limited to $1,000 per month

DraftKings has over 90% of the market, with the remainder mostly taken up by FanDuel. The home based on DraftKings is Massachusetts, so you would expect them to have the most market in this state.

It is expected, that if and when sports betting becomes legalized, the taxes imposed on sports betting will also be applied to Daily Fantasy Sports.

Overview of Massachusetts Sports Bars

Massachusetts has plenty of sports bars that have quality sport viewing screens, cold ice beer and easy to eat comfort food. We cannot cover them all, but provide a review of the most popular ones for you.

Sports Bars in Massachusetts

Parlor Sports

1 Beacon St, Somerville, Massachusetts

A small action packed joint, that is a must to visit. The staff are awesome, really friendly and good to have a chat with. Try to avoid the peak times, because it can get very very busy. They will try and meet your viewing needs, if you want to watch a game, just ask’em. Having said that, they show nearly every game during the football season. The decor of the sports bar is what make this place truly special though. Has a nice cozy feel, bring sports fan together as one. A true sports bar!

The Four’s Restaurant & Sports Bar

166 Canal St, Boston, Massachusetts

The Four’s sits just outside TD Garden Arena. A fantastic place to drop in before, or after or even during a Celtics or Bruins game! The service is very efficient, they get the food out to the tables quickly and with a smile. A little bit pricey, but that’s what you pay for being so closed to TD Garden Arena. As you would expect, there’s lots of memorabilia. Still has that old school ambiance to it.

Bleacher Bar

82A Lansdowne St, Boston, Massachuetts

This is the place that you MUST go for baseball fans. A very unique sports bar that looks into the field in the stadium. Not sports related, but the men’s urinal is a sight to behold, or rather you have the ability to look out when taking a piss and take in the sights! There’s actually a lot of history contained in this sports bar, built from the old batting cage under the stands. The entrance is carved from the old infrastructure from the outside to then let you in. Remember the history and breath in what it feels like to be a true sports fan. Oh and by the way, the beers are great! Go Redsox!

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Popular Massachusetts Sport Bets

Massachusetts has a whole lot of great local teams to support. You are the envy of all states in the US! Although many in California may vehemently dispute that.

Knowing the passion in this state for sports, unfortunately sports betting may only be placed on offshore sports betting sites. If you are to place a bet, you can support the below local teams.

Sports Betting New England Patriots (NFL)

You should be proud of the New England Patriots. With Tom Brady at the helm and coached by Bill Belichick, this smashing combo has transformed the Patriots to be one of the most successful sports teams in the US. Breaking numerous records which included an undefeated regular season in 2007, the longest winning streak in NFL history, and currently tied for the most Super Bowl wins. Tom Brady may be heading towards his twilight years, but his era should not be forgotten.

Sports Betting Boston Celtics (NBA)

Who doesn’t love the Boston Celtics! Remember the good old days of Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge. Then with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo.

Now a days, the Boston Celtics are still strong! Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Jalyn Brown.

Sports Betting Boston Red Sox (MLB)

The Red Sox, dominating baseball like the Patriots dominate the NFL. Their last World Series win came in 2018 with that team considered one of the best Red Sox teams in history. They smashed several records that included the most wins per season. They have won a total of 9 World Series Championships, and are tied for third for all time.


Bordering States

New York | Rhode Island | Vermont | Connecticut | New Hampshire