It has taken years of preparations, detailed research and a number of reports. But finally legalizing Massachusetts online casinos is on the horizon. There has been quite a few Massachusetts casino news recently, so read this article for the latest updates.
Massachusetts gambling: legal overview
The story starts in 2011 when the MA Governor Deval Patrick signed the Expanded Gambling Act. The new law allowed for up to three casinos and one slots parlor to open in the state.
The bill also sanctioned creating the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. It is an independent institution with a mission to overview the development and adherence to the law of the gambling industry. The MGC is quite exceptional in terms of their transparency, efforts and research put into preparing for the onset of Massachusetts online casinos era.
There was actually another commission formed to specifically focus on online gambling, with some personnel overlap. They also have done a lot of research and prepared a report, issued in 2017. The commission recommended permanent legalization of daily fantasy sports and a delay of the introduction of online casinos. It was a bit of a disappointment. The report advocated for waiting for the opening of all licensed brick and mortar casinos, before regulating online gambling. On the bright side, it became clear that Massachusetts online casinos are on the horizon, the only question being: how far away?
An Omnibus Bill?
Since the beginning of 2019, there has been an intense discussion among the Bay State lawmakers about legalizing sports betting. State Treasurer, Deborah Goldberg, has been arguing for adding to the bill a provision allowing for the state lottery to go online. So it seems like the natural next step will be considering other forms of online gambling, including online poker Massachusetts. We should hope for a comprehensive bill regulating Massachusetts online casinos and the entire gambling sector.
Brick and mortar casinos in Massachusetts
According to the 2011 gambling law, three casinos and one slots facility can be licensed to operate in the Bay State. Let’s have a look at the Massachusetts brick and mortar operations.
The main piece of Massachusetts casino news is the opening of the Encore Boston Harbor in June 2019. It’s no ordinary resort. Just the casino part has more than 200,000 square feet and 3,000 slot machines. You will find there 144 table games, including craps, roulette, blackjack and baccarat. Also, there is the biggest poker room in Massachusetts, with 88 tables. The cost of the resort was $2.6 billions. The hope is that the nearby international airport will contribute to ensuring solid returns on the investment. Among the benefits to the local community are thousands of jobs and a serious clean up of the waterfront at the Mystic River. The license was awarded to Wynn Resorts, known for their Las Vegas casino.
MGM Massachusetts is a branch of another company you might associate with Las Vegas. Here, you will find more than 120,000 square feet gaming area, with thousands of slot machines, almost a hundred gaming tables and 23 poker tables. Yes, it’s still face to face poker. But if poker online Massachusetts is ever to become a reality, it’s fair to assume MGM will have its online platform, both desktop and mobile, just like in BetMGM in New Jersey.
In 2015 the Plainridge Casino Park in Plainville opened its doors to guests. The casino has live harness racing track, the only one in the state. There are more than 1,200 slot machines. Also video games and video blackjack are available. Finally, one more treat: although it’s not an online poker Massachusetts, local enthusiast of this card game can enjoy video poker at Plainridge.
The 2011 law allowed for a Native American tribe to operate a casino in the southeast part of Massachusetts. In 2013, the Commonwealth and Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe signed a compact. However, in 2016, the process of building the tribal casino resort hit a snag on the legal front. As of 2019 there is no tribal casino in the Bay State.
Although for now Massachusetts online casinos are limited to the realm of hopes and dreams, the recent discussions among the state lawmakers brought them closer to reality. When online gambling becomes legal, we can count on MGM Massachusetts to be ready to expand their brick and mortar casino into an online platform.
In the meantime, there are three physical facilities, located in different parts of the Bay State, to enjoy. The casino in Plainville is technically a slots parlor, the only one allowed in the state, but it has a horse race track. And in Massachusetts pari-mutuel and simulcast wagering on horse racing is legal. The MGM Massachusetts casino is exactly what you can expect from a legendary Las Vegas brand. And finally, the newly opened Encore Boston Harbor casino is nothing short of glamorous and exciting.