Online Wagering in Massachusetts: Last News and Updates

Here's what to know about the latest wagering laws.
By Irina O'Connor
FanGo Sports

Mobile sports betting in Massachusetts is going live at the perfect time: fans of Boston sports teams have an exciting few months ahead. Although they’ve fallen from a league best record to trailing the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets in recent weeks, the Celtics have the best odds of raising the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June, listed at or around +300 at a handful of sportsbooks.

The Bruins are on pace for one of the best—if not the best—regular seasons in NHL history, sitting at 103 points with 20 games left to play. They’ve got one of their most hated rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, firmly in their sights: the 1976-77 Habs scored a league record 132 points. As such, the Bruins have the best odds to win the Stanley Cup this year, listed at or around +320. Odds can vary dramatically from sportsbook to sportsbook, this also may include the  Massachusetts Betting Promos that are currently available, so make sure you shop around for the best deal before placing bets.

The launch will happen at 10am EST on Friday, March 10. Here’s a look at what’s happening as the seconds tick closer to the Bay State’s mobile betting debut. DraftKings, BetMGM and FanDuel sportsbooks have all received their operating licenses from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). 

Understandably, they aren’t wasting any time getting started. The three sportsbooks are offering bonuses for prospective bettors who sign up for their platforms ahead of the launch date, giving gamblers an incentive to hit the ground running. Four other sportsbooks—Betr, Caesars, Wynnbet and Barstool—have secured their mobile operating licenses, but they haven’t been as savvy about bringing new customers in yet: stay tuned to see if they change tactics in the next few days.

Bally Bet, Betway and Fanatics Sportsbooks all have their mobile operating licenses, but they aren’t prepared to start taking wagers just yet. That’s not too surprising, as most of the other sportsbooks are established brands that are already operating in most of the states where sports betting is legal: they’ll need more time to get up and running within the already bustling industry.

Back to their Roots: Massachusetts Brands Open in the State in Full

For Barstool and DraftKings, the legalization of Sports Betting in Massachusetts is something of a triumphant homecoming. DraftKings got its start in 2012 and is headquartered in Boston. Although wagering on professional and college sporting events was prohibited by federal law until 2018, DraftKings was able to operate because they hosted fantasy sports competitions for money, a category considered distinct from general sports wagering and explicitly protected under the previous laws.With the advent of legal sports wagering, the DraftKings team has been able to diversify their operations to include physical casinos and mobile betting. 

Barstool Sports, on the other hand, began in Milton, Massachusetts in 2003. Originally a sports blog, the brand has exploded in recent years, giving them the power to dip their toes in the world of bookmaking. While they’re headquartered in New York City today, the influence of New England and the sports teams that call it home is obvious to anyone who’s kept tabs on their content, making them another favored son of the region.

What Will Happen With Write-Offs?

The Massachusetts state legislature has been careful to examine every facet of some of the common sticking points when it comes to sports betting. While most states (legislators and voters alike) have been quick to ratify laws endorsing sports betting, there’s no denying that it can be a controversial topic. That’s part of why it’s taken the Commonwealth so long to get things kicked off: the measure legalizing sports betting was passed in early August 2022, and they’ve spent the last seven months (the MGC in particular) hashing out the details and figuring out how to best serve the state and its people. 

It’s a fine line to attend to: take taxes, for example. Massachusetts stands to gain quite a bit by legalizing a billion dollar industry. How much the state gains in revenue depends on the tax rate they levy. They don’t want to scalp their citizens, but the state will always want its fair share. 

The tax rate is set: 15 percent for in-person wagers that win, 20 percent for winning mobile bets.

Many states allow sportsbooks to write off betting promotions on their tax forms, however: if someone gets a $1000 credit on a second-chance bet, the sportsbook can claim that as a business expense and reduce their taxable income. With mobile betting just going live, you can expect a rush of promotional wagers placed. Some states have chosen to take a hard line approach and prevent promotional write offs. What the Bay State will do remains to be seen.