The gambling outlook in Massachusetts

As the dawn of 2023 breaks over the Massachusetts gaming landscape, we find ourselves in a state of flux, a veritable melting pot of old and new. The Bay State, steeped in history and known for its Puritan roots, has shed its conservative mantle and embraced the modern age of gambling with open arms.

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📖 Published on: June 15th, 2023

✍️ Updated: 5 days ago

⏳ 19 mins read

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Gambling in Massachusetts image
Massachusetts coat of arms image

From the bustling casinos of Springfield to the digital betting platforms that have taken the world by storm, Massachusetts is a gambler's paradise in the making.

The state's gambling scene is a vibrant tapestry woven with threads of chance and skill. It's a place where the roll of a dice, the spin of a wheel, or the turn of a card can change your fortune in an instant. Whether you're a high roller looking to hit the jackpot or a casual player looking for a bit of fun, Massachusetts offers a smorgasbord of gambling options.

Massachusetts gambling laws and regulations

In the Wild West of gambling, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is the sheriff in town, ensuring that all gaming activity is above board. With the Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act (HB 5164 2022) as its trusty sidekick, the MGC has laid down the law and set the stage for a regulated and safe gaming environment.

The MGC serves as the governing entity tasked with supervising all gaming activities within the state. It's the watchdog that keeps an eye on the industry, ensuring that operators play by the rules and that players are protected. The MGC is committed to establishing an equitable, open, and inclusive procedure for the execution of the Expanded Gaming Act.

The Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act passed in 2022, was a game-changer for the state's gaming industry. It legalized sports betting, both online and in person, opening up a whole new world of gambling opportunities for Massachusetts residents. The Act delineated the guidelines and standards for sports wagering, laying down a structure for providers to render their services within the state.


What is considered legal gambing

In Bay State, you can bet your bottom dollar on a variety of gambling activities. Online sports betting and retail sports books are live and legal. The first Massachusetts sports betting websites and mobile apps launched in March 2023, providing residents with a convenient and accessible way to place their bets. Sportsbooks in casinos opened their doors to the public and began taking in-person bets in January 2023, offering a more traditional betting experience.

Retail sportsbooks at racetracks and off-track betting parlors (OTBs) are also on the way, promising to add another layer to the state's gambling scene. Additional internet wagering possibilities in Massachusetts encompass pari-mutuel horse racing along with daily fantasy sports. These games of skill offer a different kind of gambling experience, where knowledge and strategy can give players an edge.


What is considered illegal gambling

While Massachusetts has embraced the gambling industry, it still takes a hard line on illegal activity. Unlicensed gambling operations, whether online or offline, are strictly prohibited. This includes any form of gambling that is not explicitly authorized by the state, such as unregulated online casinos or sportsbooks.

In addition, betting on games involving Massachusetts colleges and universities is prohibited. This rule is in place to protect the integrity of college sports by ensuring that the outcome of games is determined solely by the skill and performance of the athletes, not the influence of bettors.


Legal age to gamble in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, you have to be as old as a blackjack hand to gamble - that's 21 for those who don't know their casino lingo. This age limitation is pertinent to all types of gambling activities in the state, such as casinos, sports wagering, and horse racing. It's a rule that's strictly enforced, with penalties for operators who allow underage gambling.

There's a reason for establishing the legal gambling age at 21. Gambling is a form of entertainment that involves risk, and it's important that players are mature enough to understand and manage that risk. It's equally crucial that players reach an age at which they are capable of making well-informed choices regarding their gambling activities.

Real money casinos in Massachusetts

When speaking of real money casinos, Massachusetts certainly holds its own. The state provides a plethora of choices for individuals keen on testing their fortune. These venues offer a wide variety of games, featuring classic table games like blackjack and roulette, in addition to a plethora of slot machines. Whether you're an experienced gambler or a beginner wanting to experience the thrill, Massachusetts' real-money casinos have something in store.

Massachusetts gambling


Online casinos

Even though the digital revolution has reshaped the global gaming industry, it's critical to understand that operating an online casino in Massachusetts is currently illegal. This implies that while the ease and reach of online casinos have revolutionized the industry worldwide, such services are not legally accessible from providers situated within the state.

Despite this constraint, the allure of casino games remains potent in Massachusetts. Be it the whirling reels of slot machines, the anticipation of roulette, or the tactical gameplay of poker, these traditional games still mesmerize players.

Although state laws currently obstruct the running of online casinos locally, Massachusetts residents can still indulge in a vast array of games at terrestrial casinos. Regardless of whether you prefer classic casino games or have an affinity for the newest video slots, there's something tailored to every preference. So, while the excitement of gambling may not be merely a click away, it indeed thrives in the energetic casino environment of Massachusetts.


Land-based casinos

For those who favor the energetic ambiance of a brick-and-mortar casino, Massachusetts offers ample options. The state hosts several terrestrial casinos, each bestowing a distinctive gaming encounter. Ranging from the sparkle and elegance of Encore Boston Harbor to the vintage appeal of MGM Springfield, there's a casino tailored to each individual's style and preference.

These establishments feature a broad spectrum of games, including blackjack and roulette, thereby delivering a quintessential casino experience. The excitement of the spinning wheel, the toss of the dice, the dealing of the cards - these are all integral to the charm of land-based casinos. Coupled with an array of dining and entertainment possibilities, a visit to the casino extends beyond mere gambling - it's a holistic experience.


Tribal casinos

Native American tribes in Massachusetts also play a significant role in the gaming industry. Operated under federal law, tribal casinos present an additional gambling option for residents of the state. These casinos offer a singular gaming experience, amalgamating traditional Native American culture with contemporary casino gaming.

Tribal casinos in Massachusetts provide a wide range of games, encompassing slot machines and table games. They also play a crucial part in the local economy, generating employment opportunities and revenue for the tribes and the neighboring communities. Infused with their distinctive cultural heritage, they deliver a gaming encounter that diverges significantly from the sparkle and flamboyance of Vegas-style casinos.


Shipboard and floating casinos

While shipboard or floating casinos are not currently part of the Massachusetts gaming scene, the state's extensive coastline and maritime history make them a potential future addition to the gaming landscape. These casinos, which operate on ships or other vessels, offer a unique gaming experience that combines the thrill of the casino with the excitement of the open sea.



Racinos, a combination of racetracks and casinos, are a unique feature of the Massachusetts gaming industry. These establishments offer both the thrill of horse racing and the excitement of casino gaming. Whether you're a fan of the ponies or prefer the spin of the roulette wheel, racinos offer the best of both worlds.

Racinos in Massachusetts offers a variety of betting options. You have the option to wagering on live horse racing or test your fortune on slot machines and table games. And with a variety of dining and entertainment options, a trip to the racino is more than just a gamble - it's an experience.


Off-track betting

Simulcast Racing or off-track betting parlors, also known as OTBs, allow gamblers to wager on horse races that take place out of state. These establishments provide a vital link to the world of horse racing, ensuring that Massachusetts residents can share in the excitement of the races no matter where they're held.

Off-track betting (OTB) venues in Massachusetts provide a distinctive gambling experience. You can wager on live races from across the nation while enjoying the comfort of your local OTB facility. And with the option to watch live racing via simulcast, you can experience the thrill of racing without leaving your hometown.

Simulcast racing is a key feature of off-track betting. This technology allows races to be broadcast live from racecourses across the country, giving punters the chance to bet on races they would not otherwise have access to. It's a way of bringing the excitement of the track into the betting shop, adding a whole new dimension to the gambling experience.

Nearest land based casinos

We've compiled a list of the most trusted land-based casinos if you're searching for "Massachusetts casinos near me":

MGM Springfield
MGM Springfield, located at One MGM Way in Springfield, Massachusetts, offers a grand gaming experience in a vibrant setting. The property features 16 exquisite suites, providing a luxurious stay for guests. With five exceptional restaurants to choose from, guests can savor a diverse range of culinary delights. The expansive casino floor spans 125,000 square feet and offers a thrilling selection of games, including slot machines, video poker, video keno, craps, blackjack, roulette, Spanish 21, mini baccarat, three card poker, four card poker, pai gow poker, poker, ultimate Texas hold 'em, let it ride, and a sportsbook. Notably, MGM Springfield boasts additional features such as the South End Market food court with six casual dining options, a Top Golf Swing Suite, a six-screen Regal Cinema, a 10-lane bowling alley, a spa, and a sportsbook with a 45-foot screen.
One MGM Way, Springfield, MA 01103
Phone Number:
(413) 273-5000
Plainridge Park Casino
Plainridge Park Casino offers an enticing array of gaming options in Plainville, Massachusetts. Players can enjoy slots, video blackjack, craps and roulette on the casino floor. Whether you’re looking for a low-stakes night out or a high-stakes adrenaline rush, you’re sure to find something to your liking. During the live harness racing season, horses from across the commonwealth gather to thrill fans at the track. Simulcasting of horse racing can be enjoyed daily, even during the off-season. If you’re hungrier for food than betting, you can visit the casino’s food court, which features four fast food outlets. Plainridge Park Casino is the perfect place for a night out in Massachusetts.
301 Washington Street, Plainville, MA 02762
Phone Number:
(508) 643-2500
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Sports betting

Sports betting has become a sensation in Massachusetts. With the legalization of both online and physical sports betting, enthusiasts can now place wagers on their preferred teams and players.

The sports betting landscape in Massachusetts provides an extensive range of possibilities. Whether your passion is football, basketball, baseball, or hockey, you can bet on your favorite sports. The opportunity to wager on both professional and college games means there's a myriad of ways to participate in the excitement.

The emergence of online sports betting has drastically transformed the betting landscape. The convenience of placing wagers from home or even while on the move via mobile apps has made sports betting more readily available than ever before. With a variety of betting options, ranging from straightforward bets to parlays, there's a betting method that aligns with every strategy and style.

Sports betting Massachusetts

Social casinos

Social casinos provide an entertaining and casual method to enjoy casino games. These platforms let players compete against each other across a variety of games, all devoid of the risk of losing actual money. It presents a means to experience the casino excitement without financial risk.

Social casinos in Massachusetts present a diverse array of games, spanning from slots to poker and blackjack. The capacity to play against friends or other players globally makes it as much a social experience as it is a gambling one. Whether you're an experienced player seeking to refine your skills or a novice aiming to understand the basics, social casinos offer a fun and risk-free gaming environment.

Daily fantasy sports

Daily fantasy sports have found a home in Massachusetts. These online games enable players to assemble their own fantasy teams and vie against others for monetary rewards. It's a game of skill and strategy, where knowledge of the sport and the players can give you an edge.

Daily fantasy sports in Massachusetts provide a distinctive spin on conventional sports wagering.

Instead of betting on the outcome of a game, you build a team of players and earn points based on their performance. It's a way to engage with the sport on a deeper level, putting your knowledge and skills to the test.

Whether you're a football, basketball, or baseball fanatic, there's a daily fantasy sport for you. And with the chance to enter competitions and win cash prizes, it's not just about the thrill of the game - there's also the potential for a big payday.


Bingo, a timeless game of chance, holds a cherished place in the Massachusetts gambling scene. Whether it's at a local community center or a bingo hall, bingo remains a favorite pastime for many Massachusetts residents.

In Massachusetts, Bingo transcends being just a game - it's a social gathering. It presents an opportunity to socialize with friends, enjoy some amusement, and potentially even earn some cash. With a variety of games available, from traditional bingo to more contemporary variations, there's a style to suit every taste.

While online bingo has indeed added a new dimension to the game worldwide, it's important to note that operating an online gambling site based in Massachusetts is not currently legal. This means that while some residents may use VPNs to access online bingo platforms, we do not recommend this due to the potential legal implications. However, the thrill of the game is still very much alive in local bingo halls and community centers across the state. With a variety of games and prizes on offer, bingo continues to be a fun and exciting way to have a good time.


Poker, that timeless game of skill and strategy, holds a special place in the heart of Massachusetts. With a variety of styles from Texas Hold'em to Omaha, poker enthusiasts in the state are never short of options.

Poker in Massachusetts is more than a game - it's a community. Whether you play in a local tournament or try your hand in a casino, it's a chance to pit your skills against others, learn from the best, and maybe even walk away with a win.

While online poker has revolutionized the game worldwide, making it more accessible than ever, it's important to note that it's not currently legal to operate an online gambling site based in Massachusetts. However, poker enthusiasts can still enjoy the thrill of the game at local casinos and tournaments. With a variety of games and stakes on offer, there's something to suit every player and every budget.

Gambling tips

When engaging in gambling, it's crucial to practice responsible play. Bear in mind that the house always maintains an advantage, so avoid wagering more than your financial capacity allows you to lose. Most importantly, ensure it remains an enjoyable activity.

Like in other places, gambling in Massachusetts should be viewed as a form of amusement, not a means to generate income. It's vital to set a budget and adhere to it, and be aware of the indicators of problem gambling. If you notice yourself trying to recover losses, exceeding your financial limit, or using gambling as a refuge from issues, it might be time to seek assistance.

Numerous resources exist in Massachusetts for those grappling with problem gambling. The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling provides a range of services, including a helpline, counseling, and self-exclusion programs. Remember, it's never too late to seek help.

Massachusetts gaming

The history

The history of gaming in Massachusetts is one of transformation. From its Puritan roots to its modern embrace of the gaming industry, Bay State has come a long way.

Gambling in Massachusetts has its roots in colonial times when lotteries were used to fund public projects. Over the years, the state's approach to gambling has evolved to reflect changes in society and the economy. The legalization of pari-mutuel betting in the 1930s, the introduction of the state lottery in the 1970s and the opening of the state's first casino in 2015 are all milestones along this journey.

Today, Massachusetts is home to a vibrant and diverse gaming industry, offering a range of options from casinos to sports betting and online gaming. It's a testament to the state's ability to adapt and evolve, embracing new opportunities while staying true to its values.


The future

As we look to the future, the potential for gambling in Massachusetts is vast. While the state currently prohibits the operation of online casinos, online poker and online bingo, the landscape of gambling continues to evolve and Bay State remains a major player in the industry.

The legalization of sports betting in 2022 marked a significant step forward for the industry, opening up a whole new realm of gambling opportunities. While the growth of online gambling is currently limited by state laws, the future is still bright for Bay State.

The future of gaming isn't just about expansion - it's also about innovation. While online platforms for casinos, poker and bingo are currently off the table, other advancements such as virtual reality experiences and blockchain-based games could redefine what gambling looks like in Massachusetts. Given its history of adaptation and evolution, Massachusetts is well positioned to navigate these changes and continue to be a leader in the industry.

Responsible gaming in Massachusetts

Promoting responsible gaming is a paramount concern in Massachusetts. The state has instituted numerous strategies to encourage responsible gambling and extend support for those dealing with compulsive gambling. After all, the most crucial gamble is the one you take on yourself.

Responsible gaming isn't solely about individual conduct - it also encompasses the policies and practices enforced by the gaming industry. In Massachusetts, operators are obligated to apply measures promoting responsible gaming, like setting wagering limits, offering self-exclusion programs, and providing information about problem gambling.

The state also offers resources for those grappling with problem gambling. The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling offers a wide range of services, including a helpline, counseling and self-exclusion programes. It stands as a reminder that, though gambling can be a source of fun and enjoyment, it's crucial to balance it with other elements of one's life.

In conclusion, the Massachusetts gaming scene is a dynamic and evolving arena. With a blend of traditional and contemporary forms of gambling, Bay State has something to offer everyone. Whether you're a seasoned poker player, a sports betting aficionado, or a casual bingo participant, Massachusetts is an excellent location to take a chance.


What is the current legal status of online gambling in Massachusetts?

Currently, online gambling in Massachusetts is limited. While online sports betting has been legalized, it is not currently legal to operate online casinos, poker and bingo sites in amet, consectetur adipisicing elit

How does Massachusetts regulate online gambling platforms?

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission serves as the supervisory authority tasked with monitoring all gaming operations within the state. However, given that online casinos, poker, and bingo sites are presently not allowed to function in Massachusetts, the Commission's supervision is mainly concentrated on terrestrial casinos and online sports betting platforms.

Can I use a VPN for online gambling in Massachusetts?

Although it might be technically possible, it is not recommended to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to gain access to online gambling platforms from Massachusetts. This is due to the existing laws that prohibit the operation of online casinos, poker, and bingo sites in the state. Utilizing a VPN to access these platforms could potentially result in legal repercussions.

Are there online casinos that operate legally in Massachusetts?

No, under current regulations, online casinos are not permitted to operate within Massachusetts. The state's gambling scene consists primarily of land-based casinos and online sportsbooks.

Katarina Oakshore
Editor | Casinos and Gambling

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