If you’re planning a trip to Massachusetts, there are quite a few things about gambling that you should know. According to federal law, gambling is not illegal in Massachusetts. Winning $5 or more by betting or gaming is considered wagering, and that’s why, if you’re planning on participating in gambling activities, you should know the legal gambling age in Massachusetts.
It’s also worth knowing that the MA gambling laws are regulated by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), which works under state jurisdiction. Even though the gambling capital of the world isn’t in the Bay State, Massachusetts has quite an exciting scenery for games of chance! In the following paragraphs, we’ll look at all gambling activities that you can participate in.
Gambling Laws in Massachusetts – Can You Gamble Legally in MA?
Being an original colony, Massachusetts has quite a long history with gambling that goes back to the days before it wasn’t even a state. In fact, the Plymouth Rock Memorial, the Massachusetts State House, and even Harvard University were built partially from raffle and lottery revenue. This means that the Bay State has had quite a healthy relationship with gambling and the tax revenue from it. In the table below, you’ll see our overview of the gambling situation in Massachusetts.
|🏢 Regulatory Body:||Massachusetts Gaming Commission|
|👨💼 Legal Gambling Age:||18 for Lottery, 21 for Casino|
|🃏 Number of Commercial Casinos:||2|
|🎰 Number of Tribal Casinos:||1|
|📧 Gambling Taxes:||At Least 5%|
|🤑 Annual Gambling Revenue:||$810 Million|
|💸 Annual Gambling Tax:||$230 Million|
As you can see, Massachusetts’s approximate annual gambling revenue is close to $1 billion, which is a lot. However, the most impressive thing about this is that not even one of the top gambling cities in the US is in the Bay State. Unlike other states, such as Utah and Hawaii, Massachusetts is quite open to gambling, and there are many activities that you can participate in. Let’s take a look at them!
Legal Casino Games and Gambling Activities in Massachusetts
Indeed, Massachusetts isn’t Nevada, and there aren’t hundreds of gambling venues where you can play casino games, such as slots, poker, roulette, and blackjack. However, the Bay State still has a few land-based casinos that attract thousands of gamblers every week. Besides casino games, Massachusetts residents also enjoy playing bingo and buying lottery tickets. You probably know that every state in the US has unique gambling laws, and what’s available in New York might not be available in Massachusetts. That’s why we’ve prepared a list of all legal gambling activities in MA.
|Gambling Activity||Legal Status|
|🎰 Casino Games||Legal|
|🃏 Poker Rooms||Legal|
|🐴 Horse Racing Betting||Legal|
|⚽ Daily Fantasy Sports||Legal|
|🙏 Charitable Gambling||Legal|
|🐶 Greyhound Racing Betting||Illegal|
|📱 Online Gambling||Illegal (With Exceptions)|
|🏈 Online Sports Betting||Illegal (With Exceptions)|
The Massachusetts State Lottery is one of the most popular lotteries in the United States. This particular format has one of the biggest jackpots, and thousands of gamblers from the Bay State participate every week for the chance of winning epic prizes! As you might have noticed in the element above, most gambling activities are permitted by the Massachusetts gambling laws. However, Greyhound racing and betting were banned in 2009, and they won’t come back anytime soon! We’ll take a look at the online gambling laws in Massachusetts in the next paragraph!
Online Gambling Laws in Masachusetts
The online gambling laws in Massachusetts are a bit more complicated than the ones for land-based casinos. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission doesn’t regulate any gambling sites in the state, and therefore, online casinos are illegal in MA. However, just because the local government doesn’t regulate any online casinos doesn’t mean that you can’t play your favorite games at international online casinos. In fact, most of the best gambling sites for US players also accept gamblers from Massachusetts.
If you don’t abide by the MA gambling laws, you might have to pay fees or even go to jail. However, many MA gamblers are playing online casino games and betting on sports at top offshore casinos from the comfort of their couches.
You should keep in mind that the legal gambling age in Massachusetts might not apply to the online casinos that you’re playing at. Of course, there are a few things that you need to know about choosing international gambling sites to play at, and fortunately, we’ve got it all covered in the next paragraph.
How to Choose an Online Casino Site in Massachusetts
Choosing an online casino in Massachusetts can be pretty tricky, and there are many things you should consider. The Bay State hasn’t legalized online casinos, and if you happen to get burned by a shady operator, there’s almost nothing that you can do about it. That’s why you must choose a gambling site with a good reputation and high levels of security. To help you choose an online casino that suits you, we’ve created a list of all of the must-haves for gambling sites in Massachusetts.
- License by a Reputable Gambling Authority
- Customer Support Services
- Fair Bonus Terms and Conditions
- SSL Encryption
- Responsible Gaming Partnerships
- RNG Certificate
- Casino Competition Awards
- Popular Payment Options
One might wonder what exactly is a reputable gambling authority. Some of the most popular regulatory institutions globally are the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, and the Curacao Gaming Control Board. If the operator you’ve chosen has a valid license from one of those institutions, playing at its gambling site would be safe.
For instance, most of the best USA online casinos are licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority and have RNG certificates by organizations, such as eCOGRA and iTechLabs. Such certificates usually show that the specific operator’s games are fair and not rigged, which is quite important, especially for real money online gaming.
Massachusetts Gambling Age – How Old Do You Have to Be to Play?
Even though the online gambling laws in Massachusetts are pretty loose, you should always make sure that you’re of legal age when it comes to casino games and wagering activities. The gambling laws around the world might be different in many aspects, but there’s something that’s almost the same no matter the country, and that’s the legal age. For example, the Massachusetts gambling age is 18 for lotto, bingo, and charitable games.
However, if you’d like to participate in other gambling activities in Massachusetts, such as poker, pari-mutuel betting, slots, and roulette, you would have to be at least 21 years old. However, the law for the legal gambling age in Massachusetts is so strict because most gambling venues also serve alcohol. This means that if you somehow enter a land-based casino, you could also break the law by consuming alcohol. Our best recommendation is never to gamble if you’re not of legal age!
History of Gambling in Massachusetts
As we’ve previously mentioned, Massachusetts is the state that has one of the most extended relationships with gambling in the US. In fact, the first gambling laws in Massachusetts were born in 1719, primarily because private lotteries became popular. However, the government of the Bay State later realized that fair gambling laws and a national lottery could bring a lot of tax money. Harvard University is one of the best examples of using gambling tax revenue for good deeds! Below, you can find a historical timeline of the Massachusetts gambling laws.
|⌛ 1719||All private lotteries were banned.|
|⌛ 1745||The first national lottery was created.|
|⌛ 1833||All lotto games were banned indefinitely.|
|⌛ 1934||Greyhound and horse racing were legalized, and many raceways and racetracks were established.|
|⌛ 1971||Lottery games were once again legalized.|
|⌛ 2009||Greyhound racing and betting were banned.|
|⌛ 2011||Casino gambling was finally legalized, but with a limited amount of gambling venues.|
|⌛ 2020||An attempt at the legalization of sports betting was made but failed.|
Massachusetts is one of the states that has had the most law corrections regarding lottery games. It seems that whenever the lotto becomes too popular, the government decides against it. However, we believe that this won’t be happening again. Massachusetts has been trying to legalize sports betting for over thirty years, but with no success. Nevertheless, there are many popular casino games that the MA gambling laws allow in 2021.
Best Land-Based Casinos in Massachusetts
Massachusetts isn’t home to many land-based casinos. You can find only three gambling venues in the Bay State. However, all of them are excellent, and there are many casino games that you can enjoy there. The gambling venues are spread out across the state, so the chances are that there will always be one that’s within a couple of hours from you. In the table below, you’ll find useful information about the best land-based casinos in Massachusetts.
|Casino Name||Casino Games||Accommodation||Extras||Address|
|Encore Boston Harbor Casino||Slots, Poker, Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, and Craps||250 Rooms||Hotel, Restaurant, Sports Bar, Spa, Wedding Hall, and Retail Shops||1 Broadway, Everett, MA 02149, USA|
|MGM Springfield Casino||Slots, Poker, Blackjack, Baccarat, and Roulette||600 Rooms||Hotel, Restaurant, Spa, Parking Garage, Shopping Mall, Movie Theater, and Coffee Shops||1 MGM Way, Springfield, MA 01103, USA|
|Plainridge Park Casino||Slots||N/A||Shopping Center, Car Parking||301 Washington St, Plainville, MA 02762, USA|
As you can see, there are plenty of games that you can enjoy at the gambling venues in Massachusetts. The Bay State also has “casino cruises to nowhere,” which take you in international waters where the Massachusetts gambling laws don’t apply. However, even if you don’t leave the state, there are still plenty of gambling activities that you can participate in. Not only that, but you can also play at offshore casino sites from the comfort of your couch!
Conclusion About the Future of the Massachusetts Gambling Laws
The MA gambling laws have been changing a lot over the years. It’s difficult to predict what is going to happen next. However, there have been many attempts at legalizing sports betting, and maybe the next one will be successful. Until then, you’ll still be able to bet at sports betting platforms and enjoy real money online casino games at top offshore gambling sites.
As our article dedicated to the gambling laws in Massachusetts is coming to an end, we’ve decided that it’d be helpful for you if we created an additional section with the most frequently asked questions about the topic. We’ve collected some of the most commonly raised queries, and we’ve had our experts answer them for you!