Massachusetts Gambling Laws


Posted: April 25, 2016

Updated: April 25, 2016

Massachusetts gambling laws underwent plenty of changes in the previous years. By the end of 2016, the state is set to open at least two casinos besides the already operating slot parlor.

Massachusetts gambling laws

Massachusetts, the home of the legendary MIT blackjack team, has similar gambling regulations to the majority of states, in general. Massachusetts gambling laws define gambling as “the playing of a game by a patron of a gaming establishment.” In recent years, gambling in Massachusetts was a highly publicized topic, as the state legislature has introduced numerous gambling related bills following the approval of citizens.

The Expanded Gaming Act of Massachusetts was signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on November 22, 2011. The act authorizes up to three casinos and one slots-only casino in the state. Massachusetts gambling laws divide the country into three regions, allowing for one casino in each. All three casinos are licensed for USD 85 million and the state of Massachusetts will receive 25% of their gross gaming revenues.

While the slot parlor has already opened in June 2015, the other three Massachusetts casinos are still in works. Until the opening of the casino resorts, citizens might enjoy occasional casino cruises, traveling to federal waters where the Massachusetts gambling laws don’t apply. Betting in Massachusetts is legal in two forms. First, pari-mutuel wagering on horse races at the only racetrack in the state. Second, simulcast wagering on horse and greyhound races from licensed venues.

Online Gambling in Massachusetts

In recent years, US gambling news shared some encouraging articles about online gambling in Massachusetts. However, the state’s priority is to establish a well-working system for the coming brick and mortar casinos. “It’s only appropriate that [the three casino licenses] be at the table when we figure out where we’re going to go with Internet gaming,” said Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby.

According to US gambling experts, the chances are high for a regulated Massachusetts online gambling market. “We’re just at the early stages of trying to understand how this actually works,” highlighted Stan Rosenberg, Senate Majority Leader in 2014. Despite the promising signs, players will have to wait a bit more for legal online gambling in Massachusetts.

Lotteries in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts State Lottery was created in 1971. The Lottery is Massachusetts’ “single largest source of unrestricted local aid.” It offers scratch cards and draw games for which tickets are available at licensed resellers. Massachusetts Lottery tickets cannot be purchased online nor by phone.

Daily Fantasy Sports in Massachusetts

Massachusetts became one of the few states with specific regulations for fantasy sports. The Massachusetts daily fantasy sports regulations came after the state’s Attorney General, Maura Healey, said that sites like DraftKings and FanDuel don’t violate Massachusetts gambling laws. Healey released the final regulations on March 25, 2016. The regulations’ main priority is to protect consumers by setting a minimum age of 21 for players and excluding some events. Operators have to meet all the requirements until July 1 in order to continue operating in Massachusetts.

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