Boston’s Gambling Scene: A Guide to the Legal Options Available

Gambling has been a part of Boston’s history for centuries, with various forms of betting and games of chance available throughout the city. However, as with any form of gambling, it’s important to understand the legal options available to you and follow the laws and regulations. In this guide, we’ll look at the different types of gambling available in Boston, as well as the laws and regulations governing them.

When did gambling become legal in Boston?

Gambling became legal in Boston in 2011, with the passage of the Expanded Gaming Act. The act allowed for the construction of up to three casinos and one slot parlor in the state of Massachusetts. The first casino, the Plainridge Park Casino, opened its doors in June 2015, and was followed by the opening of the Encore Boston Harbor in June 2019.

The third casino, MGM Springfield, opened in August 2018. The legalization of gambling in Boston has brought increased revenue and jobs to the area, but has also raised concerns about the potential negative impacts on the community, such as increased crime and gambling addiction.

Casino gambling scene in Boston

First, let’s take a look at casino gambling in Boston. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing casino gambling in the state. In recent years, the commission has approved the construction of a number of casinos, including the Encore Boston Harbor resort and casino, which opened in 2019. This luxurious resort offers various games and activities, including slot machines, table games, and poker. If you’re looking for a traditional casino experience, Encore Boston Harbor is worth a visit.

Sports betting in Boston

In addition to traditional casino gambling, sports betting has become legal in Massachusetts. It means that residents of Boston can now legally place bets on various sports and events, both online and in person. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission regulates sports betting, and many licensed sportsbooks are available in the city. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the Boston Red Sox or the New England Patriots or enjoy betting on your favourite teams and players, you have plenty of options.

While casino gambling and sports betting are certainly popular options in Boston, they’re not the only forms of legal gambling available in the city. The Massachusetts State Lottery, for example, has been providing legal gambling options for residents of the state for decades.

It includes traditional lottery games such as Mega Millions and Powerball, scratch-off games and other instant win options. Additionally, a number of charity gambling events take place in Boston, such as bingo nights and casino nights, which are also legal and regulated by the state.

Lottery and other forms of gambling in Boston

Overall, there are various legal gambling options available in Boston, including casino gambling, sports gambling, lottery games, charity gambling, and horse racing. However, it’s important to remember that gambling is regulated, and it’s essential to understand and follow the laws and regulations in place. Whether you’re a casual gambler or a serious player, understanding the legal options in Boston is key to a safe and enjoyable gambling experience.

It’s also worth noting that while gambling may be legal in Boston, it’s not without its risks. Gambling addiction is a serious issue, and it’s important to be aware of the signs and to seek help if necessary. Responsible gambling practices, such as setting a budget for yourself and taking regular breaks, can help minimize gambling risks.

Another important aspect to consider is the age limit for gambling in Boston. The legal age for gambling in Massachusetts is 21, and it’s important to be aware of this when visiting a casino or placing bets on a sportsbook. If you’re under 21, it’s illegal for you to gamble in Boston, and you could face penalties if caught.


Boston’s gambling scene offers various legal options for residents and visitors alike. There’s something for everyone, from traditional casino gambling to sports betting and lottery games. However, it’s important to understand the laws and regulations governing these activities and practice responsible gambling. By being aware of the risks and taking steps to minimize them, you can enjoy the excitement of gambling while staying safe and legal.