Massachusetts Online Casinos
Massachusetts has a long history of rebellion and individualism. The home of the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere has historically yielded passionate, hardworking, freethinking individuals.
It’s a bit surprising Massachusetts has taken so long to come to the party on casino gambling. However, it is happening – right now. The home of New England’s premiere teams should see sports betting arrive in the state in early 2023. Once that happens, online casinos could see a push in the near future.
Read on for more information about current legal gambling options in the state, how the stage is set for expansion of casino gambling in Massachusetts, and for details on how online lottery and online gambling could also be making their way to the Bay State.
Play top online casino games in Massachusetts
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Is online gambling legal in Massachusetts?
|Permitted/Offered?||Notes & Restrictions|
|Land-based Gambling||Yes||One slots parlor; two more casinos under construction|
|Online Gambling||No||No law for or against|
|Lottery||Yes||State and multistate drawings available|
|Charitable or House-based Gambling||Yes||Raffles and bingo|
|Minimum Gambling Age||18 for horse/dog racing, lottery, bingo, and pari-mutuel; 21 for casinos|
Legal online casino site options
Bay Staters can make use of all social casino sites available in most states. Slotomania, Double Down, Big Fish, and Zynga are all available via Facebook or mobile device apps. They may also play on the Plainridge Casino site, which maintains a Play4fun network site due to the fact that the casino is owned by Penn National Gaming (which owns the Hollywood Casino chains). The advantage of playing on this site is that it allows Massachusetts residents to get a free preview of the offerings at Plainridge.
Background on expanded gambling in Massachusetts
In 2011, Massachusetts passed the Expanded Gaming Act. The law allowed for three Las Vegas-style casinos and one slots parlor to be constructed in the state. Specifically, the law divided Massachusetts into three regions. It allowed for one casino per region. Four years later, the Plainridge Park Casino (the slots parlor) opened to great fanfare in Plainville, Massachusetts. As evidence of approval for gambling in the state, the casino reached its allowed building capacity within a few hours, and cashiers were temporarily running out of money.
MGM Springfield opened on August 24, 2018, to fanfare and festivities. The nearly $1 billion property is located in the south end of Springfield and could be an economic shot in the arm for the city and region. (This is Region B under the law and covers the western third of the state.)
Encore Boston Harbor, opened June 2019. Originally named Wynn Everett and then Wynn Boston Harbor, it is a $2.5 billion property located in the Boston suburb of Everett. Under the law, this casino will serve Region A, which is the middle third of the state. (It includes Boston, the state’s capital and largest city).
What remains is Region C, the eastern third of the state, which includes Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. This is an important area because of the overall wealth. The lag on its development is largely due to ongoing court battles with the two federally recognized (and therefore eligible) Native American tribes in Massachusetts.
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe wants to build a $1 billion facility in Taunton. Resistance from residents is delaying the construction. At this point, it is still up in the air whether the tribe can proceed. The other tribe, the Aquinnah Wampanoag, resides on Martha’s Vineyard. They may have a better shot at approval from the court system, but nothing has been decided so far.
For now, Massachusetts can look forward to the three current mega-resorts underway in the state. In general, things have not been so dire in Massachusetts because of the state’s relatively small land area and its proximity to casinos in other states.
Residents and visitors to the state have two options in Rhode Island for playing slots. There is the Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Newport Grand Casino in Newport. Beyond that, Bay Staters can also visit Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun in Uncasville or Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket. All four of these casinos are fewer than two hours’ drive from most of Massachusetts.
Below is information on Massachusetts casinos and the other excellent nearby options.
Retail casinos in Massachusetts
|Property||Location||Number of Slots|
|Plainridge Park Casino||Plainview, MA||1,250|
|MGM Springfield||Springfield, MA||2,550|
|Encore Boston Harbor||Everett, MA||2,800+|
|Mohegan Sun Casino||Uncasville, CT||5,000|
|Foxwoods Casino||Mashantucket, CT||4,800|
Massachusetts Sports Betting
As of now, sports betting has yet to materialize in the Commonwealth. However, a new bill, which would authorize sports betting for various outlets, recently passed through the House and sent on to the Senate. In the Senate, though, the proposal stalled. But that does not mean hope is lost.
It appears that sportsbooks could potentially open in early 2023, but nothing is 100 percent confirmed just yet.
Massachusetts sports betting would be authorized for:
- Three commercial casinos
- A single slot parlor
- Horse racing tracks
- 5 online-only operators and 15 total online options
Massachusetts could still find a way to legalize wagering, as the legislature holds an informal session throughout the calendar year, during which time lawmakers will certainly discuss the industry’s legalization.
What about online slots or poker?
Online poker and slots are not legal in Massachusetts at this time. Any sites that say otherwise are not telling you the full story, and are operating from offshore illegally. With social casinos, you can play similar games a legal way.
With poker, it doesn’t seem likely that is will be legal in Massachusetts anytime soon. There are no bills to legalize poker in the Bay State right now and there’s not much of an effort behind it, either. The only thing that might change people’s minds in Boston is if online poker takes off in neighboring states like Connecticut. If it seems as though plenty of Massachusetts dollars are leaving to CT to play poker, then discussions might begin.
As for slots, they are a typical sight at Massachusetts casinos. Both full-service casinos and the lone racino in the state are home to more than 1,000 machines, and the two larger properties have nearly 3,000 each.
Types of slots in Massachusetts include the classic reel games (both three and five) and the more modern video slots. Some slots are even linked with one another and feature a progressive jackpot that can put life-changing money into the player’s pocket.
Other online gambling options
Massachusetts does not have laws directly addressing online gaming one way or the other. As in many states, the legal framework simply hasn’t caught up to reality yet.
However, Massachusetts has shown itself to be relatively agreeable to the notion of online gambling, as it was one of the few states to legalize daily fantasy sports betting. It’s possible that expansion to other forms of online gambling and sports betting will occur in the near future, until then there are of course, sweepstake casinos for everyone to enjoy.
Unfortunately, all forms of online gambling — including online casinos — have yet to be legalized and launched in the Bay State.
Sports betting is the closest to making that a thing of the past, with some seeing early 2023 as a potential start date for sportsbook operators in Massachusetts.
Once casinos and sports betting come online, gamblers will have to be 21 years of age or older to place wagers in the state.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) regulates legal sports betting in the state. Sports betting legislation currently under consideration sees the commission as the overseer of the activity.
If online casinos one day launch, the MGC would likely oversee them as well.