Massachusetts Sports Betting

Sports-betting may not be legalized in Massachusetts yet. However, by the end of the year, things could quickly change. Two of the state’s neighbors, Rhode Island and Hampshire, have legalized online betting; it is only a matter of time before Massachusetts follows suit. In order to retain its tax revenue with state borders, this state has to do something about getting its wagering laws on book.

Legislative support (mainly bipartisan), new casinos and a robust sports fan base are attributes that all made Massachusetts the best lawful sports betting candidate. However, with sports betting being illegal in the state, 2020’s football season will start and end with no chance to wager any authorized bet in Massachusetts.

Thanks to a powerful economic-development bill that was passed earlier on in the year, the state senate of Massachusetts banned sports betting. This came as a shock to most seeing as sports betting had seemed to have gathered a lot of House support.

The promising road towards sports betting legalization suddenly looked bleak. With the upcoming elections and most of the budget work having been completed, it is highly unlikely that lawmakers will make any significant progress on the bill, given that it has remained faltered all year long.

Recently, the top college sports representatives in the state strongly opposed betting on college sports, which saw sports betting in Massachusetts grow even dimmer. This move further complicated what was already a key sticking point that held up the bill. The state lawmakers will hold their next session in January 2021, which means that Massachusetts residents will have to wait a little bit longer before the fate of their sports betting status is determined.

History of Massachusetts Sports Betting

After years of opposition, the state of Massachusetts welcomed the traditional brick and mortar style gaming with a 2011 groundbreaking bill that allowed for there to be a maximum of 3 full-scale casinos for commercial purposes. In 2018, MGM Springfield launched. Encore Boston Harbor was next to open (2019). Two casinos (Native American) alongside the 3rd commercial betting facility as set for opening in the near future.

All these entities are ideal candidates for hosting retail as well as online sports books. Given the fact that the Supreme Court lifted the federal sports wagering ban back in May 2018, lawmakers in the state have been pushing to legalize sports-betting in these facilities and also other locations in the state.

The journey towards sports legalization in Massachusetts started in 2018, and continued in 2019, but as it would appear, things were set to kick start in 2020. Governor Charlie B, (Republican) alongside the Democratic lawmakers seemed to be in agreement. Despite this immense bi-partisan support, this bill did not end up receiving a full vote.

There are factors that led to the delay in finalizing the sports betting bill in Massachusetts. The officials often had squabbles over tax rates, purveyor access and tons of more legislative-sticking points. The debate over legality of college sports-betting also contributed to the slowing down of the process.

Months of debates and negotiations saw the bill get stuck and the COVID-19 pandemic only led to things stagnating further. As a last-ditch kind of effort to legalize sports-betting in Massachusetts, the lawmakers tried to push just a little bit further. The bill received overwhelming house support. However, the Senate removed it as it wanted a bill that is stand- alone in nature.

The state of Massachusetts is one among few states that has a legislature that runs year round. However, by 31st July of the final year of the two year legislative term of the General Court. The second session here ended without there being a bill on sports betting.

As such, legalization of sports betting has zero hopes for happening in 2020. As the political realities associated with the upcoming elections become clear and competitors like Boston seemingly getting things right all eliminate the chances of the bill being passed into law this year. A letter from Harvard University, Boston University and Boston College officials strongly opposed lawful sports betting as a bill. This move jeopardized the entire legislation.

What does the future hold for sports betting in Massachusetts?

It has gotten to a point that even the state legislature realizes the sense of urgency when it comes to legalization of sports betting in the state. During the fall in 2020, the legislature was tasked with exploring the idea of sports betting legalization in Massachusetts. Through an economic- development bill, the legislature came up with a formal session in a bid to try and make this a dream come true.

While the house received overwhelming support, the state disappointed residents by refusing to acknowledge any sports betting activities as legal. All is not lost seeing as the state of Massachusetts boasts multiple channels and platforms that could potentially offer sports betting opportunities to residents and guests alike. These include racetracks, casinos, the lottery and many other venues of that nature.

Proposals for Massachusetts Sports Betting

The case of Massachusetts is unique. The bill governing sports betting in the state is one that ended up interestingly. It has all kinds of support, including bipartisan support, only for it to be rejected by the senate. This means that lawmakers in the state will need to look for alternative means to have the bill go through successfully through Congress.

Lucky for the state members, Charlie Baker, Massachusetts governor, is a strong proponent and supporter for sports betting. He is among the individuals who spearheaded legalization of sports boxing in the region, smartly crafting a way of using the revenue gotten from sports wagering in the state budget. Upon rejection of the bill, lawmakers will have to get creative. 

The House has a lot to do in order to get the conversation going once more. In its report, the Senate pointed out some useful insights that might help save the sports wagering industry in the state from becoming a complete disaster. The language used should not be so definitive. The proposal is that there be 5 sports wagering licenses with three of them being given to casinos. DraftKings and FanDuel were authorized to launch sports books.

It is important for information regarding revenue sharing be included in the bill. This gives Massachusetts a cutting edge above the rest as it is the1st state to include this information in its bill. If lawmakers consider all those fine details, it could be the difference needed to get things moving on the journey towards legalization of sports betting in the state.

What is the significance of passing the bill?

Believe it or not, failing to pass the sports bill will cost Massachusetts more revenue. This is because residents can easily find their way to other destinations such as New Hampshire and Rhode Island and place their wagers there. Legalization of sports betting in Massachusetts will go a long way into developing the local economy seeing as the revenue will be retained within the state’s lines.

This means that lawmakers in the state have a huge responsibility in figuring out just how they can get the bill back, probably through Congress so as to legalize sports-betting Massachusetts. The COVID-19 pandemic has really decimated the budgets of states across the nation. This means that states will have to do anything within their power to ace the deficits by way of looking for alternative revenue generators. For most states, sports betting has been the most reasonable go to option seeing as it creates instantaneous revenue streams.


Is it legal to indulge in sports betting while in Massachusetts?

No. At the moment, there is not a single place in Massachusetts where sports wagering is legal. However, it is highly likely that that situation will change, and soon as such.

Where can I go if I want to wager on sports in Massachusetts?

Currently, there are zero lawful options to head to for sports wagering. However, plans are underway to see legalization of sports betting at casinos, lottery entities, online channels and racetracks.

Can I use my phone to bet on sports while in Massachusetts?

Sports betting has not yet been legalized in this state. As such, there are no mobile phone sports betting options.

Are there off shore providers that can accept bets from all over the US?

There are a couple of offshore sportsbooks that claim presence across the country such that they can accept bets from anywhere. It is important to remember that sports betting licensing in the US is usually done at state level. As such, there are no single operators that can accept bets from all over.

Why should I bet through a sports betting provider that is licensed?

The risks involved with using an operator that is not licensed are numerous especially when  it comes to receiving your payouts. Alternatively, they could just close shop one day and disappear into thin air with customer account balances.

When will sports betting be legalized in Massachusetts?

It is highly likely that conversations regarding sports betting legalization in the state of Massachusetts will happen in 2021.