Legal Online Poker in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has always favored gambling, having legalized a range of activities, including land-based casinos, lottery, horse racing, and more. The launch of sports betting is scheduled for January 31, 2023, meaning it will be available by the time you read this text.
But what about poker and its online counterpart? Unfortunately, legal options are quite limited, as Massachusetts only offers two land-based poker rooms located at Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield. Online poker is not legalized, and neither are online casinos. You have two options if you’re looking for a way to play poker online in MA. First, you can join a social poker site and play the popular game using fake in-game money. Second, you can join an offshore-licensed poker site.
Let’s take a closer look at the legality of poker in Massachusetts and your options.
Is Online Poker Legal in Massachusetts?
In short: no, online poker is not legal in Massachusetts. The state still needs to pass legislation that would make online poker legal, and there is no indication that it plans on doing so in the near future. On the other hand, a number of states have already passed legislation making online poker legal, and many more are considering doing so. So Massachusetts may eventually join them.
There have been shifts in the online gambling landscape in Massachusetts with the legalization of sports betting. Retail betting will officially start on January 31, and online sportsbooks will become available shortly after. MA lawmakers passed the bill H5164 called the Massachusetts Sports Wagering Act, and Gov. Charlie Baker signed it into law shortly after. The Massachusetts Gambling Commission will be the major regulatory body in the state, and it is expected that a total of 15 sports betting apps will launch in the future.
This is the first of the three major online gambling verticals (online casinos, online sports betting, and online poker) to be legalized in the state, and it could be an indication of things changing for poker as well in the future.
However, this doesn’t mean Massachusetts poker players are left with no options for playing online poker.
Massachusetts poker laws allow certain forms of poker to be played, such as home games, charity events, and tournaments. However, various restrictions exist, such as a minimum age, buy-in limits, and more. Here are some of the essential legislative pieces that affected poker in Massachusetts and its legality.
- The Expanded Gaming Act of 2011
- CMR chapter 271 — gambling-related
- CMR chapter 128A — Horse and dog racing
Best Legal Poker Rooms in Massachusetts
In the following section, we’ll discuss options for playing land-based and online poker.
Legal Online Poker in Massachusetts
Legal online poker doesn’t exist in MA at the moment, and there’s a strict prohibition in place, as stated in Section 17A of Massachusetts General Laws. It says companies aren’t allowed to accept bets via telephone, internet, or another similar service.
Still, if you further explore c.271, you’ll see no specific information about playing at offshore sites. Therefore, you can still join an offshore-licensed poker platform and play poker online for real money without being prosecuted.
This leads us to the topic of offshore online poker platforms. What are they? Offshore online poker platforms are websites and apps that offer online poker services outside the jurisdiction of a particular country or a state — MA, in this case. They are popular because they offer various poker games and tournaments, and players can access them from any location.
However, some concerns are associated with playing on offshore online poker platforms. One of the biggest dangers is that these platforms are not subject to the same regulation as licensed online poker platforms in the US. This means there is a risk of fraud, and players may not be protected if something goes wrong.
However, our experienced poker players and industry experts did in-depth research to find the secure and fair options featured on our site.
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2024:
- BetOnline Poker
- Ignition Poker
- Everygame Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- ACR Poker
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Land-Based Poker in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, playing poker at land-based establishments is legal. Two casinos with poker rooms exist that offer a variety of poker games. These venues have been licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and are subject to certain regulations. At the moment, you can legally play poker at Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield, and we’ll discuss their offers later in the guide.
How to Register at a Legal Online Poker Site in MassachusettsIf you decide to join an offshore poker site in Massachusetts, here’s what you need to do to become a registered member and start playing for real money.
Choose A Poker RoomIt is important to do your research before selecting an online poker platform. Consider factors such as the variety of games offered, the user experience, the security of the platform, and customer service. We did the grunt work and made a list of secure and trustworthy offshore sites available for MA players.
SignupFind the registration button and fill in the signup form. You’ll have to enter your username, email, password, and so on. Account verification via email might also be necessary.
Deposit & PlayMake a deposit using one of the accepted payment option. This will give you access to the game, and you will be able to start playing with real money. You can also take advantage of any bonuses or promotions that may be available, so you can maximize your winnings.
Once your deposit is accepted, you can explore available cash games and tournaments. Some offshore platforms even feature satellites, sit-and-gos, and other interesting tournament formats.
Land-Based Casinos With Live Poker
After the Expanded Gaming Act of 2011 passed muster, land-based poker became available in Massachusetts. The act allowed the opening of up to three casinos, along with one slot parlor. Two casinos feature a poker room, so let’s check them out.
- Encore Boston Harbor — Encore Boston Harbor is a luxurious casino and resort located in Everett, Massachusetts. It features world-class amenities, including a casino, hotel, spa, restaurants, and entertainment venues. This is the largest casino in the Codfish State and is operated by Wynn Resorts. The poker room features 15 tables and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m. You’ll find two types of poker available: no-limit hold ’em and pot-limit Omaha. The room also features a Bad Beat Jackpot.
- MGM Springfield — MGM Springfield features 14 tables and a wide variety of games and tournaments to choose from. The poker room is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m., and offers a range of options for players, including pot-limit Omaha and no-limit hold’em at various levels of buy-in. The two most common options are 5/10 PLO and ⅖ NLHO. A $150 NL tournament takes place every Tuesday and Thursday, and a $250 NL tourney happens every Saturday.
Final ThoughtsDespite having a history of poker-friendliness, Massachusetts has not taken any legal steps to make online poker accessible to its citizens, making it one of the many states where online poker is still illegal.
However, poker players can still find plenty of options online by joining a social poker app or an offshore-licensed casino. Social poker apps are great for people playing poker who don’t want to use real money. Offshore platforms, on the other hand, are great for players who want to make real bets and make a profit while playing the most popular card game in the world.