When Will Massachusetts Sports Fans Finally Be Able To Bet Legally
Massachusetts sports fans have had to sit back and watch as over half of the country implemented legalized sports betting in some capacity since 2018. In fact, Massachusetts is almost completely surrounded by legal states, except for Vermont to the north.
Good things come to those who wait, as the saying goes, and bettors in the Bay State will be able to place their first bets just in time for major sporting events like Super Bowl 57 and the 2023 college basketball March Madness tournament.
Here’s everything you need to know about Massachusetts sports betting and when fans will be able to bet legally across the state.
Massachusetts Sports Betting Legislation Details
The path to legalized sports betting in Massachusetts has been an odd one. One would think that with how long it took to get a bill in front of the governor that there must have been multiple parties staunchly opposed to the idea of legal sports betting. They would be wrong.
Sports betting has been largely supported by state casinos, professional sports teams, Gov. Charlie Baker, and both the Massachusetts House and Senate. So, what gives?
The two main issues that caused legislative delays were tax rates and if wagering on college athletics should be permitted.
After months of back and forth, Massachusetts legislators compromised on both issues and came to a last-minute deal which included:
- An in-state college wagering ban
- A tax hike from 12.5% on retail revenue to 15%, and an increase on mobile revenue from 15% to 20%.
There is one exception to the college betting rule. Massachusetts bettors will be able to place wagers on in-state schools if they are participating in a tournament.
At full maturity, legislators have stated they expect sports betting to create $60 million in revenue for Massachusetts. The majority of this money, nearly 73%, will go to the state’s General Fund and local municipalities. The rest will be divvied between a program to promote job opportunities in low-income communities, the Public Health Trust Fund, and a program for college financial aid, youth sports, and after-school programs.
When Will Massachusetts Launch Sports Betting?
Rather than have retail sportsbooks and online operators launch at the same time, Massachusetts will be taking a staggered approach. By doing so, this will allow Bay State bettors the ability to place wagers as soon as possible.
Although more than 30 states and Washington DC have successfully launched sports betting, each time this happens a brand new industry is created within each state. For states with established casinos, it’s often a more straightforward process to introduce brick-and-mortar sportsbooks than it is to get mobile betting apps up and running.
Because of this, placing in-person wagers in Massachusetts is projected to be available to sports fans at the end of January 2023.
Online sportsbooks will follow two months later in March. The expectation for mobile apps is to be ready in time for March Madness, which would be a huge boost to sports betting revenue across the state.
For Massachusetts residents who don’t live near a retail location or who simply don’t want to drive to one, have no fear. Mobile wagering is expected to go live two months later in March and will hopefully be ready in time for the excitement of March Madness.
Where Will Massachusetts Sports Fans Be Able to Place Bets?
House Bill 5146 is set up to allow both retail and online sports betting at five brick-and-mortar locations and up to 15 mobile apps. Each of the three casinos will be permitted to partner with two online sportsbooks. Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs can partner with one mobile operator, leaving seven online sportsbooks to be unattached to any physical Massachusetts business.
Massachusetts Retail Sportsbook Locations
- Encore Boston Harbor (Everett, MA) – At the time of this writing, Encore Boston Harbor is the only casino to have been approved for its retail license. Those who visit Encore will find a WynnBET-branded retail sportsbook. Caesars Sportsbook has also announced a partnership with Encore.
- MGM Springfield (Springfield, MA) – As one of the premier names in gambling, MGM Springfield will be adding a sportsbook to its hundreds of slots and table games. The casino has stated they plan on only operating one online sportsbook, BetMGM.
- Plainridge Park Casino (Plainville, MA) – Plainridge Park Casino is owned and operated by Penn Entertainment. While Penn Entertainment may not sound familiar, Barstool likely does. PE will soon own 100% of Barstool and that relationship will likely bring the sportsbook to the state. Plainridge has also partnered with Fanatics Sportsbook.
- Raynham Park (Raynham, MA)
- Suffolk Downs (Boston, MA)
Massachusetts Online Sportsbooks
We’re still waiting on approvals and full details from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, but these are some of the mobile sportsbook apps we could see coming to the state.
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Fanatics Sportsbook