With an MGM resort casino opening in Springfield in August and the $2.4 billion Wynn Boston Harbor slated to open in Everett in May of 2019, the commonwealth is clearly seeking to compete with the gambling industries in neighboring Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Massachusetts sports betting status
Massachusetts has had a progressive attitude towards sports betting since the passage of the 2011 Expanded Gaming Act, which came into being because of competition with those neighboring states.
In March, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission released a White Paper on the prospects of sports betting in the state.
When the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for individual states to legalize sports gambling by ruling in favor of New Jersey and eliminating the Professional Amateur SportsProtection Act (PASPA) on May 14, those prospects became a reality.
The regulation of the sports betting industry has become the major source of contention, as the debate centers around the allowance of online and mobile betting.
A study for the American Gaming Association by Oxford Economics is featured prominently in the White Paper, estimating that the state could collect $30 to $60 million in annual revenue with the allowance of online sports betting. Allowing sports gambling in brick-and-mortar casinos alone would net approximately $8 to $15 million annually.
When Massachusetts passed legislation to regulate Daily Fantasy Sports in 2016, a nine-member committee was formed to study only gambling. Boston-based DraftKings is ardently lobbying for sports gambling as well as several other groups, but Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and other state officials are preaching patience.
The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling has urged lawmakers to consider some of the Pros and Cons and there is wide debate on the potential tax rates for sports betting, which could range from 6.75 percent to 15 percent.
While the House of Representatives failed to reach a conclusion by the end of the summer session in July, Baker asserts that the issue will be at the forefront when legislative sessions resume in January of 2019.
Sports Betting FAQ
When will sports betting be legal in Massachusetts?
It is very likely that sports betting will be legalized in Massachusetts sometime in 2019, but the specifics of regulation are under heavy debate.
Where can I place sports bets in Massachusetts?
Currently, nowhere. But legal sports betting could become more widely available n the state by 2019.
Will I be able to bet on sports online in Massachusetts?
Online gambling is a major source of debate and the primary reason for the delay in constructing legislation that would regulate the industry. It is possible that the House of Representatives votes to legalize sports gambling, but restricts it to live betting and the state’s new brick-and-mortar casinos.
What sports teams could I bet on in Massachusetts?
There is no plan in place to restrict sports betting on any pro sports teams, including the state’s extremely popular and successful pro teams like the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins.
Who would oversee Massachusetts sports betting?
The Massachusetts Gaming Association would likely oversee the sports gambling market.
Can I get into trouble for placing bets with unregulated online sportsbooks before it’s legal in Massachusetts?
Yes, in order for a sportsbook to be legal it must be sanctioned by the state and placing bets with an unregulated bookkeeper can result in fines and potential jail time. While there has yet to be an instance of such a punishment, bettors should also be wary of keeping their hard-earned money on an unregulated site.