Gambling Laws In Massachusetts

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts gambling laws, as well as nation-wide laws, make it illegal for anyone to engage in the business of facilitating bets in order to halt organized crime and put a stop to racketeering while leaving the simple act of placing a bet as an average citizen largely unaffected. These laws have all but erased the venues to place bets, leaving it up to the individual states to determine how they wish to regulate gambling. Massachusetts is one such state with its own detailed legislation in regards to gambling and this page is designed for those in the Bay State to inform themselves about the gambling laws in Massachusetts in addition to places where they can find official information on the subject.

Legality of Gambling in Massachusetts - Is It Legal?

Before we deeply dig into the gambling laws of Massachusetts, we need to address one very important factor in regards to the written language in the legislation. It is antiquated and old. As one of the original 13 colonies, the wording used in the law must be translated to fit with modern times and applied accordingly. This means that 'Gambling' is oftentimes called 'Gaming' and places where unlawful gaming may not take place include inns which could garner an arrest by a constable. There is even a reference to 'victuallers' whom are traditionally persons who supply the crews of ships in the Royal Navy.

Massachusetts is currently a very interesting place when it comes to gambling as the state has expanded legislation in recent years to legalize and regulate gambling throughout the state. In 2011, the state government authorized the licensure of 3 resort casinos and has also opened the door for tribal casinos to begin operating within the region. The state laws that are written are hazy at best with very little mentioned on the definition of what 'gambling' means as well as what the penalty for committing the act would be. It is clear that wagering money on games of chance is unlawful, however. Cards and dice games are mentioned in the language but again, not much to say on how one may be punished. What is obvious in the state legislation is that operating a 'gaming house' is certainly unlawful which follows suit with federal U.S. laws prohibiting the facilitation of bets.

Casino games have been unavailable yet the new expansion of laws passed has brought legalized, regulated gambling on its way as the construction of the state's first casino is under construction. Massachusetts residents will be able to find legal live poker and other table games once the gambling facilities are built and opened, but currently, even though it is now legal, there are no places to make a wager. Sports betting, as is the case throughout the entirety of the U.S. aside from only a few states, is not permitted by the law. There is no enforcement however, of average citizens wagering among themselves so long as no one is standing to make a profit off of such wagers other than personal winnings. The best bet is always to keep it private.

Land-Based Gambling In Massachusetts

With the recently expanded laws having taken affect in Massachusetts, residents are in store for new casinos to pop up across the state. Precisely three of them: one for the east, central and western districts of the state. There are also a few tribal casinos which will soon be in operation under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act which will remain exempt from any Massachusetts state gambling legislation. The casinos expected to be open soon will feature slots, video poker and a few table games and are not expected to be full-fledged Vegas styled casinos, at least not at first. Lawmakers are attempting to pass legislation which may allow live poker to be available in the state but action has yet to successfully take place. It is assumed by many that it will indeed be legally available in state licensed casinos by the time that they open either this year or 2016. In the mean-time, legal land based gambling will have to include a road trip to nearby Connecticut, much to the chagrin of Massachusetts lawmakers who are looking to compete for gambling revenue from neighboring casinos.

Online Gambling In Massachusetts

The great news for residents of Massachusetts and its antiquated laws is that the internet is relatively brand spanking new. The British Empire and our forefathers failed miserably at anticipating the arrival of online "gaming" as no royal "victualler" could've known he would've been able to wager on a game of chance from the local inn using the "magic" of the World Wide Web. Hence, there are no laws or regulations regarding online gambling in the state which means there are also no punishments for gambling in such a way. It should be noted however, that there is a passage which refers to using a telephone or similar device to transmit data regarding gambling. It is argued both ways that this could be construed to include the internet but so far, no investigations or prosecutions have been made upon residents who have gambled online. Since the laws seem to be in favor of the casual bettors of the Bay State by the fact that there is very little said, locals must refer to federal laws when considering to place a wager online.

As discussed earlier on the page, the federal laws in place strictly prohibits the business of facilitating bets while leaving small-time bettors alone so long as they are not making a profit off of others other than their own personal winnings. While this means that the law prevents there being any sort of U.S. based online gambling sites anywhere within federal jurisdiction, it does not nor cannot regulate the operations of online gambling sites well outside of the country. This means that any Massachusetts resident is able to visit these site and gamble using their services within the rule of law without fear of penalty. There are a vast number of them as well, with Massachusetts residents taking advantage of the most respected and trusted of the foreign web-sites such as those located in Canada.

Popular Gambling Options In Massachusetts:

Online Sportsbooks - Online Casinos - Online Poker

Bovada - Best All-Around Legal Gambling Site For Massachusetts

The online gambling site Bovada has been in business for decades and has been serving American customers for the duration of that time to positive reviews. Located just to the north outside of Montreal, this online gambling site actually began as an American company named Bodog. After federal legislation forced them to move to neighboring Canada, they continued to serve an American audience in the realm of online casino games, online poker, online horse racing and an online sportsbook. Having been in the game for so long, Bovada has a strong history of being discreet, secure and private while never being late or failing to payout their member's winning bets with checks being delivered to Massachusetts within 10 business days after request.

This online gambling site touts the strongest page design, features and betting options over an amazingly vast array of sports which is tailor-made for those of us here in the Bay State looking for a way to safely place bets. The sign-up bonuses alone make a visit to Bovada worth-while with new members to the online sportsbook section of the site receiving a 50% bonus to their initial deposit worth up to $250. This provides a lot of room to explore the many options with free betting cash.

Legal Massachusetts Gambling Sites
Best Overall Betting Sites Sports? Casino? Poker? Horses? Visit
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What Is The Legal Age To Gamble In Massachusetts?

The legal gambling age currently sits at 18 years of age or older but as new casinos are soon to open, be sure to pay attention to if they set their own age restrictions due to the sales of alcohol in the establishments. For those Massachusetts residents looking to wager online, all of the Massachusetts gambling sites for which we recommend are open to all legal adults aged 18 or older.


Best For All Gaming Types