Online Gaming in Massachusetts

There have been numerous unsuccessful proposals to bring online gaming to the Bay State.

In April 2013, members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives sponsored an attachment to the 2014 state budget that would legalize and regulate intrastate online poker. The proposed legislation would provide a category three license to online poker operators and software providers, allowing them to operate for a period of 10 years. In the bill, sports betting and casino games would be prohibited and all players would need to be located within Massachusetts. In June 2013, the amendment regarding online poker was ruled unconstitutional and removed from the State Senate's budget bill.

In July 2013, proponents of online gambling in Massachusetts attempted to attach an amendment to a transportation financing bill that would allow the state to issue internet gambling licenses. The amendment was rejected and there is currently no pending legislation regarding online gambling.

In July 2016, the Senate approved S2423, a bill that would allow the state Lottery to sell its products online and via mobile device, in addition to approving daily fantasy sports. Stipulations regarding online lottery activities were removed, while DFS-friendly language was kept. The legality of DFS in Massachusetts, according to the bill, was to end on 31 July 2018. In April 2018, an adopted amendment to the House Ways and Means Budget removed the July sunset provision and made the legality of DFS in the state permanent.

Provisions concerning fantasy sports were included in H 4569, an economic development package that passed in the House and the Senate in August 2017. The bill allows fantasy sports operators to offer contests with cash prizes and excludes fantasy sports from the state's definition of gambling. It also created a special commission for the purpose of studying fantasy sports and online gambling.

In October 2016, Massachusetts treasurer Deborah Goldberg introduced a bill that aims to allow the Massachusetts Lottery to offer draw tickets and online games through desktop and mobile device. The measure was never taken up by the House.

In November 2018, Goldberg submitted another bill calling for the legalization of online lottery sales and the legislation was scheduled to be reviewed during the new legislative session in January 2019. Lawmakers are also expected to discuss the legalization of sports betting at that time.

Online lottery is not an option in Massachusetts in 2023, despite State Treasure Deborah Goldberg’s push to make it happen.

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