Online gambling is a billion-dollar industry, involving millions of people annually betting on sports and other events online. Massachusetts residents may soon be legally gambling for real money on the Internet once legal betting options become available – although progress has been slow thus far; for now they must make do with free-play social casinos offering slot games without monetary value as their only form of online gaming experience.
In 2018, Colorado took its initial major step towards legal gambling when they legalized daily fantasy sports, setting the groundwork for potential sports betting legalization as well as eventually regulated online casino regulation.
Sports betting legislation began its push through legislature back in 2022; however, it took until August of this year for both houses to agree on terms for a bill to allow Massachusetts sports bettors to experience this new convenience. Finally, it passed and signed into law.
Since 2013, sports bettors in Massachusetts have been able to place bets at any one of three casinos: Plainridge Park Casino (PPC) in Plainville, Encore Boston Harbor in Everett and MGM Springfield in Springfield. Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs will soon host retail sportsbooks for sports bettors using mobile phones as well. Sports bettors will be subject to both federal taxes (24.4%) and Massachusetts state taxes of 5% when wagering live or online casino bets.
Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health expects sports betting to see an exponential surge, yet does not anticipate more problem gambling as a result. To combat this problem gambling trend, they run education and counseling centers at casinos throughout Massachusetts to educate patrons on game sense, risk, addiction as well as provide voluntary self-exclusion lists to keep gambling to a minimum.
As of Friday, Massachusetts is now permitting residents to legally make online sports bets at one of 10 approved sportsbooks. Most of the action should occur here and wagers placed on all collegiate and professional sports will be accepted here; only bets made on individual college athletes, fantasy contests, injuries, suspensions or replay review will not be permitted here.
Next step in legalization process will be for Massachusetts Gaming Commission to approve more sportsbooks before online and mobile betting becomes legalized. Residents in Massachusetts can test their luck at legal gambling websites like BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings that offer legal sportsbook operations across multiple states in US.