Is Sports Betting Legal in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts falls somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to gambling laws and regulations. They aren’t overly strict, but they’re not entirely welcoming. That being said, aided by its strong professional sports options, it does seem to be trending in the direction of liberal endorsements—evidence found in the recent openings of casinos and legalization of daily fantasy sports betting.

Maryland Sports Betting Law

For the most part, Maryland’s sports betting laws are easy to interpret. Things only get a little fuzzy when looking at the social gambling stances. They appear to be a hardline state in that regard, yet they aren’t avidly policing the social-gambling scene. A lot is open for discretion, which can be a good thing, but also might convince people to be more ambitious in their searches for betting ventures when, really, it shouldn’t.

Casinos of All Types 

Up until recently, Massachusetts included just a handful of (semi-recently opened) corporate casinos—four to be exact. The absence of a tribal establishment was due at least in part to a law that only allowed for three casinos and one slot machine-centric business. 

But approval was recently given for the Wampanoag tribe to open its own place. It was officially unveiled during the summer of 2017 and might open the door for other locally and nationally recognized tribes to get their foot in the casino door over the coming years—provided, of course, Massachusetts continues to relax its views on the number of casinos in operation.

Daily Fantasy Sports Are Legal…With a Twist

Massachusetts is among the 14 states that recognize daily fantasy sports wagering as a legal contest…with the caveat that betting on college sports is specifically prohibited.

This isn’t a revelation. In fact, it’s almost an antiquated take, because daily fantasy sites like Draft Kings and FanDuel stopped offering college sports on their dockets in 2016—a move that was totally predictable given the moral and legal dilemmas attached to capitalizing on collegiate athletes who aren’t paid for their own contributions or allowed to make money off their own likeness.

Social Gambling, Also with a Twist

Depending on where you check, social gambling in Massachusetts is listed as legal or illegal. It’s all very confusing. The official verdict from us: It is of course legal.

But Massachusetts wants to drive home that your weekly poker games shouldn’t be turning into tournaments, no one other than the direct participants should be profiting off sporting-event wagers, and your company football pools should not be generating thousands upon thousands of dollars in revenue for anyone other than the winners.

Do Not Place Wagers Over the Phone

Like pretty much every other state, Massachusetts is rather light on the details when it comes to online gambling. It is not written as legal or illegal, nor is it overlooked altogether.

Their laws do, however, stipulate that placing bets over the phone is not allowed, so if you’re venturing into the world of online sportsbooks, stick to credit cards, cash transfers, money orders, etc. Making deposits over the phone is a good way to get into trouble.

Also, as always, be cognizant of how much you’re depositing and withdrawing. Amounts large enough to be flagged by banks and/or the government can get you into hot water.

Massachusetts Gambling Law Overview

Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren’t allowed in Massachusetts at this time.

  • Casino Gambling: Legal
  • Tribal Gambling: Legal
  • Poker: Legal
  • Horse-Race Betting: Legal
  • Dog-Race Betting: Not legal
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Daily Fantasy Betting: Legal (but only for non-collegiate teams)
  • Social Gambling: Legal (with restrictions)
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal
  • Online Gambling: Not specified

Massachusetts Sports Teams

Boston Red Sox (MLB)

After one of the longest World Series droughts in MLB history, the Boston Red Sox put themselves back on the map with a title in 2013. And yet, while they needed that victory for a moral and optical boost, the franchise has been so much more than just their championship cold streak.

Boston is among the scant few MLB franchises that seldom stretches its rebuilds longer than a couple years. Take the World Series team itself. The Red Sox spent the next two years under .500 but have since returned to amassing 90-plus wins on a yearly basis.

New England Patriots (NFL)

Because, who else?

The New England Patriots are still playing through the most dominant stretch in NFL history, bar none. Since Tom Brady permanently stepped in under center back in 2001, they have won fewer than 10 games in a season just once, while missing the playoffs only twice. They have earned six Super Bowl appearances over this six-year span, which has included four championship victories.

Fun aside, the New York Giants are the only team to beat these Patriots in a Super Bowl tilt, and they’ve done it twice. Most other dynasties would begin to slow down right about now. After all, it’s been long enough, teams get expensive and Brady, the face of this incredible run, will be 40 when the 2017 NFL season kicks off.

But no. The Patriots show few signs of forking over their throne. They were Super Bowl champs in 2016 and, as of now, look primed to repeat. Massachusetts is lucky to have them.

Boston Celtics (NBA)

No team in NBA history is more decorated than the Boston Celtics. They have 17 NBA titles to their name, a number rivaled only by the Los Angeles Lakers’ 16 banners.

Boston’s most recent title came in 2008, and it’s not quite clear when they’ll return to the NBA Finals stage again. LeBron James’ squad have gotten in their way basically every year since then, and team president Danny Ainge hit the reset button in 2012, trading franchise faces Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets.

If we had to guess, though, the Celtics will be back in championship form very soon. They might already be there. They earned a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017, where they were thwarted by none other than LeBron, and they have a trio of superstars on the docket in Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford. Mix in their fully stocked draft-pick and prospect cupboard, and they’re set up to remain one of the most relevant franchises, in any sport, for the next decade. 

Massachusetts’ Biggest Sporting Event of the Year

The Boston Marathon is a standard-length Marathon that is held on the third Monday every April—a day deemed “Patriots Day.” It has been around since 1897 and is one of the six Wolrd Marathon Majors, joining the Tokyo Marathon, London Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Chicago Marathon and New York City Marathon.

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