Boston is one of America’s best sports cities, which makes Massachusetts a potentially huge sports betting market. In the near future, hometown fans of the Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots, and Celtics will be able to bet legally at home.
The framework is being put in place for sports betting to launch in Massachusetts 2023 and if so, it will make for a major shakeup in the state’s sports scene. Here’s what you need to know about sports betting in Massachusetts, where you’ll be able to do it, and which sportsbooks will be available.
The act of sports betting is legal in Massachusetts, but there are no licensed locations for placing wagers at this time. The end result for sports fans in the state that would like to wager is that sports betting is basically in the same spot as when sports betting was fully illegal.
The good news is that this is likely to change in the near future. The wheels are turning on licensing both retail and online sportsbooks. Those who simply can’t wait can head to New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island for legal sports betting.
Sports betting is targeted to launch in Massachusetts in January 2023 ahead of the Super Bowl. Massachusetts regulators began laying the groundwork in opening up sports betting in the state in November 2022, establishing licensing and regulation guidelines in the state and doing outreach to probable licensees and organizations.
Retail sports betting will likely arrive in the state at its established casinos and race tracks ahead of an online opening. Many are expecting a March 2023 opening for online sports betting in Massachusetts.
No sports betting licenses have been handed out yet in Massachusetts but DraftKings and BetMGM are among the most likely to kick off sports betting in the state. Beyond them there are a few candidates that are positioned to expand into Massachusetts once licenses start being handed out. Here are some of the most notable names in the running.
DraftKings has become a staple of Boston sports in a few different ways. First and foremost is that the daily fantasy sports and sports betting giant is headquartered in Boston, founding in the city in 2012. On top of that it has been partnered with the Boston Red Sox since 2021, giving it close ties to its hometown baseball team and inroads into Massachusetts sports betting.
DraftKings Sportsbook has become an industry leader and go-to for sports bettors thanks to its ability to keep users engaged with regular promotions. It also boasts a strong welcome bonus, allowing new users to hit the ground running:
MGM Resorts, the parent company of BetMGM Sportsbook, is already established in Massachusetts. This comes in the form of MGM Springfield, a 2 million-square-foot complex that has a large casino alongside a hotel, resort, and more. Once sports betting opens in the state, it will almost certainly add a BetMGM sportsbook as well.
BetMGM is another leading sportsbook that gives users ample “no brainer” bonuses and promotions to keep them engaged. This includes a solid welcome bonus that can be found below alongside promotions for both major sports leagues and international sports events:
FanDuel is almost everywhere in the American sports betting market, and it got an early jump on establishing itself in Massachusetts. Before sports betting was even on the table in the state, it established a partnership with Suffolk Downs to offer betting on its races through the FanDuel app.
Since then, FanDuel has become one of the heaviest hitters in the sports betting industry. It’s established in almost every state that allows sports betting and has become a favorite among new and veteran bettors alike thanks to its large bonus offering and variety of banking options.
Caesars Entertainment is behind a number of the largest casinos in the United States. It became one of the largest sportsbooks as well by partnering with European giant William Hill. Though it doesn’t have an established presence in the Bay State the way MGM does, odds are that Caesars will find a foothold in the market.
Caesars Sportsbook has a great value-add in the form of the Caesars rewards program that can be redeemed at Caesars-operated casinos and resorts around the country. Users can get started on both sports betting and earning rewards points with this promotion:
WynnBet isn’t one of the largest sportsbooks, but it’s already endemic to Massachusetts. The Bay State only has three casinos and one of them, Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, is operated by Wynn Resorts.
The former Wynn Everett casino will likely host a WynnBet sportsbook and will serve as a launchpad for WynnBet in the state. The sportsbook offers regular promotions and is easy to use. It also has a rewards program that links together with Wynn-operated establishments like Encore Boston Harbor, making it a great fit for anyone that visits the casino regularly.
Barstool Sports has a lot of history in Massachusetts, even though it’s not necessarily good history. Though it moved its headquarters after being chased out of Massachusetts, it technically remains a fixture of the state’s gaming scene. That’s because it shares a parent company with the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville.
Penn National has added retail Barstool Sportsbooks to many of its Ameristar and Hollywood Casino branches. Odds are that when the time comes, a Barstool Sportsbook will land in Plainville. This should also serve to bring the online sportsbook to the state, giving Massachusetts sports fans the ability to wager while keeping up to date with some of the personalities from the site.
Massachusetts residents will be able to register for an online sportsbook by simply signing up through the sportsbook’s website or app.
The sign-up process is fairly straightforward, requiring a valid email address and personal information to ensure safe, secure, and legal betting. Once registered, users can make a deposit, opt into promos, and start betting.
A key part of signing up is identifying which sportsbooks are legal in the state you expect to be betting in. Not all sportsbooks are legal in all states, and sportsbooks will not accept wagers placed by those from outside the state. Make sure to ensure a sportsbook is legal in the state you intend to wager in before signing up.
Once you sign up, it’s time to make a deposit. Each sportsbook has its own set of accepted payment methods and the options can vary greatly. It’s likely worth checking out our sportsbook reviews before signing up to ensure the sportsbook accepts your preferred payment method.
All major sportsbooks accept credit cards or PayPal, but some use other services to facilitate those transactions. Other options like eChecks and Venmo are supported by many major sportsbooks, but not all accept them.
Depositing with an online sportsbook is possible at retail sportsbook locations in some cases. Other services like PayNearMe are used by some sportsbooks and allow users to make a deposit with cash through retailers including 7-Eleven and CVS Pharmacy.
Here’s the step-by-step process for signing up with a sportsbook in Massachusetts:
Retail sports betting in Massachusetts is positioned to go live in early 2023, potentially as soon as January. No licenses have been awarded and things aren’t confirmed yet but because of the nature of gaming in Massachusetts, it’s easy to predict what the retail sportsbook market will look like once things come online fully. Here are the most likely retail sportsbook destinations, and what they will have on offer.
The Encore Boston Harbor is Massachusetts’ largest gaming destination. The casino and hotel is located along the Mystic River, and has an enormous gaming floor that takes up over 200,000 square feet with over 2,500 slot machines. On top of this are all the table games and poker tables one could hope for.
Though it doesn’t have the branding, Wynn Resorts runs Encore Boston Harbor. This will likely result in Wynn’s own WynnBet being made available as a retail sportsbook at the establishment.
Western Massachusetts has its own large gaming destination with MGM Springfield. The casino operated by MGM Resorts has a gaming floor that measures over 100,000 square feet with slots, poker, and table games on offer to visitors. The casino is the centerpiece of a huge complex that includes shops, a hotel, and more.
Naturally, MGM is angling to bring its popular BetMGM Sportsbook to the casino. This would allow fans to take a break from the tables and wager on a game, taking advantage of BetMGM’s large prop bet market and engaging promotion with every sport.
Suffolk Downs is a former horseracing track in Boston that hosted thoroughbred racing. It has been opened and closed on a few occasions over the years, but exists today as a racing center where visitors can wager on thoroughbred racing, harness racing, and greyhounds.
Raynham Park was forced to make a big shift after greyhound racing was banned in Massachusetts, and the racing center is set to do it again with sports betting coming online. It’s doing so again with sports betting, with a new location built for sports wagering.
Plainridge Park Casino has changed hands several times over the years, sometimes in explosive fashion, but has remained a go-to destination for gaming enthusiasts in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Today, the location is run by Penn Entertainment, the company behind a number of casino chains including Hollywood Casinos, Boomtown, Ameristar Casinos, and more.
There are 1,200 slot machines available and digital table games, but the main selling point for the establishment is that it’s the only harness racing in Massachusetts. Penn Entertainment’s casinos and tracks traditionally have a Barstool Sportsbook on-site. This is notable as Barstool Sportsbook is known to offer bonuses for those who make cash deposits at their retail sportsbook establishments.
Sports betting is not allowed in Massachusetts either in-person or online, but that is set to change in the very near future. Sports betting is projected to open at retail as early as January 2023, with online sports betting set to be opened shortly thereafter.
Action can be had near Massachusetts in the interim. New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. While sports betting isn’t legal in Massachusetts, Massachusetts residents can take a day trip to a nearby state to place wagers if they can’t wait.
Massachusetts sports betting will have all of the most popular sports in America including football, baseball, basketball, hockey, combat sports, and more. The only asterisks of note at this time is related to collegiate sports.
Bettors will not be able to wager on college games involving Massachusetts schools. Bettors will be able to wager on competitions involving teams from outside the state. Here is a partial list of sports that you’ll be able to wager on in Massachusetts:
Massachusetts sports betting will likely look quite similar to sports betting in other states, with standard bet types and markets. Here are some of the types of wagers that will likely be available once things are fully legalized.
Moneyline wagering is likely what one first thinks of when it comes to sports betting. Simply pick the winner of a contest and you can make some scratch if you’re correct.
The trouble with moneyline betting is that not all teams are made equal. When one team is much better than the other, the payout for picking the favorite to win won’t be as high. Spreads fix that by assigning a margin of points that the favorite needs to win by. This makes a bet on the underdog more viable, and can make the odds on the favorite more desirable.
Most sportsbooks still offer the same types of wagers, even after the game starts. This is live betting, where the odds shift as the game progresses and you have the chance to show your skills when it comes to reading into the action.
Over/unders aren’t direct wagers on which team will win or the final outcome. It’s a matter of guessing how many points one team will score. There are also alternative options based on the sport, like guessing how many passing yards a quarterback will throw or how many rounds a boxing match will last.
Totals are similar to over/unders but account for the points scored by both teams. This is one of the most popular styles of betting, and is prominently featured by all major sportsbooks.
Prop bets work the same as any other bet but are related to unique conditions or events occurring during or around a sporting contest. The most common are markets on things like whether a specific player will score a touchdown in a football game, but they can be much more exotic like picking which celebrities be shown in the crowd during the Super Bowl.
Parlays put together multiple small bets into one larger bet where all conditions must be fulfilled in order to have it net a win. This adds risk by adding multiple conditions rather than just one, but can make for some very sizable payouts.
Boston’s most beloved team is likely the Red Sox. The franchise was long one of MLB’s lovable losers but that changed when the Sox finally took home a World Series pennant in 2004. Once that happened, the Sox went from lovable losers to perennial contenders with four World Series pennants between 2004 and 2018.
The Sox had a rough 2022 with a 78-84 record, its first season with a sub-.500 record since 2015. The team will be looking to rebound in 2023 and has the pieces to return to form over the coming years.
One of the Original Six teams, the Boston Bruins have a long and strong history in the NHL. The team’s rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens is among the most bitter in American sports, with almost 100 years of shared history.
The Bruins have an up-and-down history but have largely stayed in the playoff hunt over the last few decades. The team won the Stanley Cup in 2011, but is looking to rebound after stumbling in the finals in 2013 and 2019.
The New England Patriots were long the flimsiest Boston team, lacking the legacy and legendary players of its neighbors. That changed in 2001 when a freak injury shelved longtime quarterback Drew Bledsoe, opening the door for Tom Brady to take over. Brady and coach Bill Belichick proved to be an all-time great duo, ushering in one of the longest-lasting dynasties across the four major American sports.
Across 20 seasons, the Patriots made it into nine Super Bowls and won six. Brady left the Patriots in 2020 and there’s been an adjustment period since then, but Belichick remains the pilot so it’s impossible to dismiss the team.
The Boston Celtics have a reputation for success and the team has been living up to that over recent years. After an ugly skid in the early 2000s, a new Big Three came together with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. The trio led the Celtics to its first NBA Championship in more than 20 years in 2008, and things haven’t slowed down much since.
Though the Celtics haven’t won a title since then, the team has made two trips to the NBA Finals and a number of other deep playoff runs since then. The Celtics are a perennial contender, and a serious threat in the Eastern Conference.
The most notable collegiate athletics program in Massachusetts is Boston College. The Eagles have 29 varsity teams with its greatest successes coming on the ice, with its hockey team enjoying dynasty status from 2008 to 2012 after winning three NCAA national championships. Its team has produced a number of modern all-stars including Johnny Gaudreau and Cam Atkinson, as well as all-time greats like Brian Leetch and Joe Mullen.
Outside of hockey, Boston College was successful in basketball in the early 2000s but gets a great deal of attention for its football team. Though it isn’t as decorated, the BC football team has produced a number of superstar players including Doug Flutie and Bill Romanowski. It isn’t just throwback names either, as the school produced longtime Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and lineman Chris Lindstrom.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is another notable Massachusetts school when it comes to athletics. It boasts 19 varsity teams, and is primarily known for its football team. The UMass Minutemen were utterly dominant from the 1960s to the 1980s, winning 17 Yankee Conference championships from 1960 to 1990.
Since being accepted to FBS in 2013, the team hasn’t had a season record better than 4-8. Rivalries with Boston College and the University of Connecticut’s Huskies keep the school a New England favorite, though.
Alongside these teams, here are some of the other notable pro and collegiate teams based in Massachusetts:
Massachusetts has a long history of banning, unbanning, and re-banning different forms of gambling within its borders. From bingo to greyhound racing to different forms of horse racing, any longtime resident of the Bay State has seen some manner legislation related to gambling.
Sports betting has been largely been shelved in the state. Massachusetts was affected by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 and it made no effort to try and change that. In 2018, the United States Supreme Court overturned the 1992 law, allowing states to individually decide whether sports betting would be legal within their borders.
Progress was quiet for some time in 2021 when state legislators began budgeting around the idea of sports betting becoming legal within the state. Throughout 2021 and into 2022, the state legislature went back and forth on details regarding budgeting and wagering on college sports. It wasn’t until August 2022 that the Massachusetts General Court approved a bill that was sent to Governor Charlie Baker., who signed the bill into law to confirm Massachusetts as the 36th state to allow sports betting.
Once this was set in stone, the wheels of bureaucracy began turning. Officials in the state began setting the key legal and regulatory framework in stone. With this, sights were set on early 2023 for sports betting to launch in Massachusetts.