Gambling Laws in Massachusetts

● Introduction

In most states, gambling is generally legal. The most popular types of gambling that are performed in the USA include the lottery, horse racing and games in commercial casinos. Tribal casinos and charitable gambling are also quite favored. The state of Massachusetts allows some of these activities. In this jurisdiction, gambling is defined as winning an equivalent of $5 or more as a result of gaming or placing bets on the results of games. For more than 3 centuries, there was little gambling activity in this state. However, the introduction of 3 new casinos and a parlor for slots in 2011 dramatically popularized gambling. Today, this state allows gambling activities such as charitable gambling and engaging in the state lottery. Horse-racing
and dog-racing are also performed under special licenses. Read on to learn more about gambling in Massachusetts.

● Types of legal and illegal gambling 

In the state of Massachusetts, the gambling laws are fairly liberal. Therefore, horse and dog racing are both legal. Casino games are also legal and available at the Hard
Rock and MGM International casinos. These establishments began providing these games in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Social poker games are also allowed in the state. As long as nobody makes a profit from hosting the games, they are accepted. 

Betting on horses is legal in this state. Furthermore, betting on the lottery is legal. Citizens living in the state have enjoyed placing wagers on the lottery ever since 1973. Bingo games are also fully legal in this state. They are categorized under charitable gaming for senior citizens. 

Any gambling activity that is within one mile of a cattle show, public meeting or military establishment is illegal. Furthermore, the state of Massachusetts also prohibits gambling on the Internet. Greyhound racing is also illegal since it was banned in 2009. 

● Stance on online gambling

The state of Massachusetts has a reserved stance on Internet gambling. The state has already prohibited the use of a telephone to place or handle bets. This opinion extends to the Internet and legal attitude is generally against gambling on the Internet. However, the Gaming Commission in this state recently showed some support for web-based poker under strict regulation. 

● Stance on offline gambling

The state of Massachusetts is liberal about offline gambling. It allows a number of gambling activities for the enjoyment of its citizens. However, it also enforces a number of caveats on the games. This leads to notable, strict regulation over some types of real-world gambling. 

● Stance on cryptocurrencies and bitcoin gambling

Bitcoin was the first and is still the most popular decentralized, digital currency. It is growing in popularity as a media for gambling. In Massachusetts, any form of Internet gambling is illegal. This prohibits Bitcoin gambling as well. The state is also aggressively regulating cryptocurrencies and their use.

● Age restrictions, regulatory authority and important law(s)

In Massachusetts, you have to be over the age of 18 years old so as to participate in gambling activities. The main regulatory authority for gambling in this state is known as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC). The organization drafts proposed gambling laws and publishes them in their official website. Therein, you can find important laws such as the rules for racing thoroughbred horses, greyhounds and harness racing. 

● Summary

Massachusetts accepts some forms of gambling and thoroughly prohibits others. It takes a cautious approach to gambling. This is quite the opposite to neighboring Connecticut which is known to have the biggest casino complex in the USA. Citizens can enjoy light gambling activity in Massachusetts but are not allowed to engage in
high-stakes, high-return gambling games. 

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