Sports betting is legal in Massachusetts.

The Future of Sports Betting in Massachusetts Is Bright

Even though the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), sports betting remains illegal in some states, including Massachusetts. Over three years later, though, the state’s legislature is making another attempt to legalize gambling, signaling a possible turnaround.



On Thursday, July 22, 156 representatives voted in favor of passing the sports betting law in the House. When it comes to legalizing sports betting, Massachusetts is hardly a newcomer. In late 2020, its lawmakers attempted to do so as part of an economic development package, but the Senate put a halt to the process. (Boston Herald, 2021).

Legislation to Legalize Sports Gambling in the Bay State


The new law mandates a minimum age of 21 for sports betting in Massachusetts, and stipulates that gamblers must be physically present within the state in order to place wagers. The state’s Gaming Commission will also oversee the gambling industry. Professional sports, auto racing, electronic sports, video games, and collegiate athletics are all included in the scope of the legislation. The bill will be attached to Senate Bill 269 by Senator Eric Lesser, which is now being considered by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. (Boston.Com, 2021).


A conference committee will be formed and given the task of negotiating a solution that will please both the State House and the Senate if Senator Lesser’s bill passes in the Senate. This is necessary because of the current discrepancies between the two proposals. One of the most significant is wagering on college athletics. While the House version would allow betting on college sports, Lesser’s bill would outlaw it entirely. The House has only made an exemption for wagering on certain collegiate athletes. A further distinction between the two proposals is that the House bill would allow credit card wagering while the Senate bill would not.


The final step before the bill becomes law is for Governor Charlie Baker to sign it after it passes the Senate. Since Governor Baker has shown his support for legal sports betting in Massachusetts, we shouldn’t anticipate any issues. In 2019, he introduced legislation prohibiting gambling on collegiate athletics.


Massachusetts’ Allowed Forms of Gambling

Massachusetts has taken a more conservative stance on gambling than its neighboring states. The state of Massachusetts allows its residents to participate in the Massachusetts State Lottery, wager on horse and dog races, and gamble at casinos. Daily fantasy sports are the closest thing permissible in this country to sports betting. In 2011, the state legislature passed the Expanded Gaming Act, which authorized the operation of up to four commercial land-based casinos. Slot machines and computerized versions of traditional table games are acceptable. (Massachusetts Gambling, 2021).


Although there is now no access to online gambling, with the recent developments in the state’s gaming industry, it seems likely that this will change in the near future. Residents of the Bay State can participate in the state’s legal and regulated gambling activities while they cross their fingers that sports betting will soon be legalized there. If you can’t gamble legally where you live, you may always travel to a neighboring state that does.

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