It has to be frustrating for sports fans in Massachusetts that sports betting has not been approved yet. Many refer to Boston as “Titletown” thanks to the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, and Boston Bruins. The Boston Celtics haven’t won a title since 2008, but the overarching point here is that Boston sports fans and people from Massachusetts aren’t used to losing.
Until sports betting is approved in Massachusetts, all parties involved are losing. Residents are taking their money across the border to bet on sports or are maybe even doing it outside of the US with the global sportsbooks. Lawmakers and legislators are losing out important tax money.
The fact is that when you look up how to bet on sports in Massachusetts, the short answer is that you can’t. The long answer is that you can find other, more creative ways to place wagers.
Retail gambling is available in upstate New York, with online and mobile betting to come in 2021. Online and mobile betting are already available in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. It takes a little creativity and a little commitment, but it is still possible to legally bet on sports if you live in Massachusetts. You just can’t do it from the comfort of home like you can in so many other states.
We’ll start by highlighting the ways to bet on sports in New Hampshire. DraftKings Sportsbook has a monopoly in New Hampshire. Due to an agreement with the state lottery, DraftKings is the only sportsbook with access to the New Hampshire market.
DraftKings officially launched on December 30, 2019. There are a lot of things about New Hampshire sports betting that are unique, but one of them is that you only have to be 18 years of age to wager with DraftKings. Just about every other state is 21.
You must have a valid social security number and you have to make deposits and place bets while physically located in New Hampshire. With close proximity to Boston and Lowell, this is a very popular option.
New York should eventually be a huge sports betting market, but for right now, the only way to bet on sports in the Empire State is to physically go to the sportsbook. There are seven retail sportsbooks in operation in New York, but only three with nationally-known operators.
The tribal casinos run their own sportsbooks at Turning Stone, Point Place, Yellow Brick Road, and Resorts World Catskills.
Rivers Casino Schenectady is the closest to Massachusetts and uses the BetRivers platform. You will have to physically drive there, however, to place your bets.
That should change in 2021, but it is hard to know how many operators will be available.
Rhode Island is set up in a similar way as New Hampshire. There is only one legal sports betting website in Rhode Island, SportsBetRI.com. There are retail sportsbooks at Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Twin River Tiverton Casino. Those two places are only about an hour from Boston.
Rhode Island sports betting is operated by William Hill with technological support from IGT under the Rhode Island Lottery.
It shouldn’t be terribly long before sports betting is legalized in Massachusetts. For now, Bostonians, those from surrounding suburbs, and other parts of the state have to place their bets in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or New York, with New Hampshire and DraftKings Sportsbook as the easiest option.
Create a Sportsbook Account – You can sign up for a DraftKings account in New Hampshire or a SportsBet RI account on the website or the mobile app. If you want to bet in New York, you have to do it in-person.
Fund Your Account – You’ll have to physically be located in the legal jurisdiction in order to fund your account. DraftKings offers a sign-up bonus up to $1000 for new users.
Start Betting – Because Massachusetts does not have legal betting just yet, you will have to leave the state in order to legally bet on sports. That means driving to New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or New York.
Options are very limited right now. When Massachusetts approves sports betting, you’re likely to see the major players like FanDuel, DraftKings, Barstool, BetMGM, and maybe even others like William Hill, PointsBet, and BetRivers. For now, your options are few and far between.
DraftKings Sportsbook is the only real online and mobile betting option. You can bet with DraftKings in New Hampshire through the operator’s licensing agreement with the New Hampshire Lottery. It is the only sportsbook available in the state.
BetRivers Sportsbook is the closest retail sportsbook in New York at Rivers Casino Schenectady.
There are two retail sportsbooks in Rhode Island that are operated by William Hill, but William Hill operators under the Sports Bet RI name.
A major push late in 2020 from big players with lots of influence, such as BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel, got unilateral support from Boston’s pro teams, the PGA Tour, and the Boston Herald. Lawmakers have been unable to reach an agreement on how to proceed.
In fairness, the existing structures in the New England states are not good. Rhode Island’s sports betting is not run efficiently. New Hampshire has a monopoly. New York only has retail betting and Governor Andrew Cuomo seems to be in favor of online and mobile betting, but with a cap on the number of licenses.
On the plus side, it does appear that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission would be the governing body for any sports betting legislation that is passed, so that should create a more competitive environment with more licenses and more operators. Competition is always good for the bettor.
A lot of the groundwork has been laid in Massachusetts, but we’re waiting on the politicians to figure it all out. Imagine that!
Keep it locked right here at ATS and we’ll keep monitoring the situation and pass on any pertinent info.
The short answer is no. It is not legal to place any sports wager in Massachusetts with a legal US sportsbook. However, it is legal to sign up for a sports betting account for a place like DraftKings in New Hampshire. You just have to be physically geolocated in a legal jurisdiction to place a bet and Massachusetts is not one of those places as of yet.
In Massachusetts? No. As a resident of Massachusetts, yes. You just have to go to another state like New Hampshire, New York, or Rhode Island to place a legal wager. Whether that means rolling up I-93 towards Manchester or I-95 towards Portsmouth, or maybe heading west towards Albany to trek up to Schenectady, it can be done, just not within the state borders of Massachusetts. Depending on your location in Massachusetts, you can find a legal place to bet within 60-90 minutes, but none of them are actually in the state.