Top Massachusetts Sportsbooks & Betting Sites in 2023

Is Sports Betting Legal in Massachusetts?

Yes, sports betting is legal in Massachusetts. Both retail and online sports betting are available in the state. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved licenses for 10 online sportsbooks, including well-known brands like Bally Bet, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Betway, Caesars, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, and WynnBET. PointsBet initially had a license application approved but later withdrew their interest. The state also allows its three racetracks to apply for retail sportsbook licenses. Retail sports betting went live on January 31, 2023, while online sports betting followed suit on March 10, 2023. Online sportsbooks will be taxed at 20% of revenue, and retail sportsbooks will be taxed at 15%.

The Journey to Legalization

The road to legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts was not an easy one. Former Governor Charlie Baker signed HB 5164 on August 10, 2022, which legalized sports betting in the state. However, this action came after many failed attempts, with nearly 30 unsuccessful efforts prior to the passing of HB 5164. The House Speaker Ronald Mariano announced a last-minute sports betting deal on August 1, 2022, which eventually led to the legalization. This announcement came five hours after the legislative rules called for formal sessions to end for the year. Despite the challenges, Massachusetts successfully legalized sports betting and opened the doors for both retail and online wagering.

Massachusetts Online Sportsbooks

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission awarded 10 mobile sports betting licenses, and online sportsbooks like BetMGM, Barstool Sportsbook, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, and WynnBET were ready to accept wagers from day one. Fanatics Sportsbook, Bally Bet, Betr, and PointsBet were also awarded temporary untethered licenses, but Fanatics and Betway decided not to participate in the initial online sports betting launch. With online sports betting now live, there is still the potential for five more sportsbooks to enter the Massachusetts market, providing bettors with a range of options to choose from.

Comparison with Other States

Market Coverage:

Massachusetts offers a full range of markets for professional sports through its sportsbooks. Popular operators like DraftKings and BetMGM provide various betting options for major leagues like the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. Additionally, niche markets such as European soccer, MMA, and NASCAR also receive coverage. However, Massachusetts has banned in-state college sports betting and certain player prop wagers, similar to restrictions in Virginia. Nevertheless, bettors in Massachusetts can still wager on in-state college teams playing in the postseason, which sets it apart from some other states.

Competitive Odds & Prices:

Bettors in Massachusetts can enjoy competitive odds and prices across sportsbooks. Many operators offer improved odds on local teams and competitions. The presence of major league teams in Massachusetts, such as the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox, often leads to favorable odds and prices. The partnerships between sportsbooks and local teams create opportunities for lucrative sportsbook promotions and attractive betting lines.

Gambling Revenue:

The sports betting market in Massachusetts is expected to generate significant revenue. Online sportsbooks will be taxed at a rate of 20% on revenue, while retail sportsbooks will be taxed at 15%. Tennessee is the only other US state with a 20% tax rate on online sportsbooks. As of June 2022, Tennessee had handled billions of dollars in wagers and generated substantial revenue. Massachusetts has a similar population and supports major league franchises, indicating the potential for a thriving sports betting market that can generate significant revenue for the state.

Betting Taxes:

In Massachusetts, sports bettors are required to pay taxes on their betting winnings. Winnings over $600 are subject to reporting and require the completion of a W-2G form. Sportsbooks may withhold up to 25% of winnings as tax. Bettors must also include their betting winnings in their state income tax return, with Massachusetts having a flat rate state income tax of 6.25%. In addition, sportsbooks must pay a 0.25% excise tax on each month’s betting handle, following the Internal Revenue Code. Operators are also required to pay $50 for every employee involved in taking wagers.

How to Place a Bet in Massachusetts

Placing a bet in Massachusetts is a straightforward process now that online sports betting has launched. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose one of the online sportsbooks that has launched in Massachusetts.
  2. Download the mobile app if available, or visit the operator’s mobile browser site.
  3. Register an account by providing necessary details, such as your full name, address, phone number, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  4. Create a password and answer security questions to secure your account.
  5. Visit the sportsbook’s cashier section and choose a payment method to deposit your money.
  6. Make sure to deposit enough to meet the minimum deposit requirements for any welcome offers or promotions.
  7. Browse the sportsbook’s markets and select a betting line that interests you.
  8. Add the bet to your bet slip, specify the stake, and place the wager.
  9. If your bet wins, follow the sportsbook’s instructions to make a withdrawal and enjoy your winnings.
  10. Keep in mind that you may be required to verify your identity before withdrawing funds to comply with regulations and prevent fraud.

Banking Methods Available in Massachusetts

There are various banking methods available for sports bettors in Massachusetts. Some commonly accepted methods include:

  • Bank cards like Visa and MasterCard, although availability for deposits may vary.
  • E-wallets such as PayPal and Skrill, which are popular options for online betting.
  • Play+, which has partnerships with sportsbooks like BetMGM and DraftKings in Massachusetts.
  • PayNearMe, which allows players to top up cards at retailers like CVS and 7-Eleven.
  • Online bank transfers, wire transfers, and Automated House Clearing (ACH), which are also typically available.

It’s recommended to check with each individual sportsbook for the specific banking methods they offer.

Who Is Eligible to Bet in Massachusetts?

Sports betting in Massachusetts is available to anyone who is at least 21 years old and physically located within the state. However, there are certain restrictions in place. The following individuals are prohibited from sports betting:

  • Athletes, coaches, or members of any professional sports and college teams.
  • Referees for professional and college sports leagues.
  • Individuals with a stake in a sports team.
  • Individuals employed by leagues that create rules for sports, such as the NFL and NCAA.
  • Individuals with the professional authority to influence players.
  • Individuals with non-public information about a sports team, such as player medical records.
  • Individuals employed by organizations with licensing from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, including key staff, owners, directors, and officers.
  • Individuals who have voluntarily excluded themselves from gambling activities.
  • Individuals prohibited from betting on a state or federal level due to criminal history.

Background of Massachusetts Sports Betting

Since the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), Massachusetts has been actively working to legalize sports betting. Various bills were submitted in 2019 but did not receive significant support. In 2021, 23 different sports betting bills were filed in the House and Senate, with HB 3988 gaining the most traction. However, a budget surplus and higher priority issues prevented its passage in the Senate. Eventually, HB 5164 was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on August 10, 2022, legalizing sports betting in Massachusetts.

Future of Massachusetts Sports Betting

With the launch of retail and online sports betting in Massachusetts, the market is set to thrive. Currently, 10 online sportsbooks are already active, and there is potential for five more operators to enter the market. This creates a hyper-competitive environment that offers plenty of choices for bettors in Massachusetts. Furthermore, there is a possibility for a third casino and sportsbook to be built in the state, which would further enhance the retail betting options. As the market continues to mature, Massachusetts is expected to generate substantial revenue and become a significant player in the sports betting industry.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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