Can You Play Online Poker in Massachusetts?
The short answer to this question is No. While there are a few workarounds that make it possible to play poker online, it is currently illegal in Massachusetts. In the past, there have been a few attempts to legalize Massachusetts online poker, but this has been unsuccessful. Consequently, online poker operators have no legal license to operate within the state. Only in-person poker rooms and charity poker are permitted in the state.
Why Not? What Are the Online Poker Laws in Massachusetts?
Although Massachusetts has yet to legalize online poker, the state has an active card-playing culture. Home poker is permitted, and the state also has two traditional casinos where players can play live in-person poker. Despite Massachusetts’ deep poker history, online casino gaming in Massachusetts remains an unregulated market with no active legalized operators.
For poker enthusiasts looking to play online, the only option is to turn to an offshore poker site such as ACR Poker and Ignition. Platforms like these operate from outside the United States. All of the major US-friendly offshore poker sites welcome registration and deposits from players living in Massachusetts.
Although offshore sites provide an option for poker players in Massachusetts, MyPokerCoaching does not recommend playing on these sites. The big problem with offshore sites is that they’re not regulated by US authorities. This makes it risky for players to deposit money on these sites to play.
Unregulated sites can get away with unfair play and other fraudulent activities, and there are limited measures to protect players. Reports of loss of funds or slow payouts tend to be quite common. There’s also a high risk of losing your investment if these sites get shut down suddenly for any reason.
Potential Massachusetts Poker Sites to Launch in the Future
Poker has been popular in Massachusetts for many years, but the state is still to regulate online poker sites. There have been several attempts at it over the years, but so far, none have come to fruition.
It is a pretty safe bet that online poker in MA will be regulated at some point in the future, so the only real question is when. While it’s hard to give any definitive answer at this point in time, we continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated with any important developments.
When online poker is finally legal in MA, there are a few sites that we can expect to go live. These are all operators with a major presence in the regulated US market, and they’ll likely jump at the opportunity to expand their presence.
BetMGM Poker Massachusetts
BetMGM has established itself as a household name in the regulated US online poker space, and the operator will likely be among the first to stake a claim in such an attractive new market.
We expect BetMGM Poker will bring out a platform similar to that in other states like PA, MI, and NJ. A poker client powered by the PartyPoker technology offers a modern and very reliable solution for all online poker fans, even if it is not as rich in functionalities as some other platforms.
In terms of game variety, players can look forward to a nice mix of online tournaments, a wide range of cash game stakes, and, in all likelihood, BetMGM Poker’s staple SPINS – a hugely popular sit & go variation featuring a random jackpot.
It is also likely that BetMGM Poker MA will come out of the gate swinging, offering a generous welcome bonus. With what’s likely to be heavy competition in the state, all sites will look for ways to stand out, and this is generally a good thing for the players.
Although the company couldn’t enter the US before 2016, PokerStars has established itself as a staple name of online poker in the country, just like they have done in the global market.
Once the regulation is finally passed, the launch of PokerStars is pretty much a guarantee. This is especially true if the state passes a law with the expectation of joining the MSIGA, as the operator seems eager to take advantage of opportunities provided by interstate poker.
But even without that particular element, MA is a big enough market on its own.
What PokerStars brings to the table is the operator’s experience in organizing major online series, first and foremost. US versions of ‘COOP events have been hugely successful in all states where the site currently has a presence, and there is no reason to think Massachusetts would be an exception.
PokerStars also offers one of the best software solutions for desktop computers and mobile devices alike. This enhances the player experience and certainly helps push the site towards the top of the list when deciding where to play.
The third MA poker site likely to go live as soon as legal requirements are met is WSOP.com. Right now, WSOP is the only operator present in all regulated US markets with active poker sites, and the company is on the constant lookout for expansion opportunities.
WSOP.com has one trump card that no other operators can match, which is its ability to host bracelet-awarding events and exclusive satellites to live World Series of Poker tournaments. This has helped the operator remain competitive across the country.
A launch in a new state would likely mean an exclusive bracelet series, giving players in the state great opportunities to win some WSOP silverware from the comfort of their home, and if past experience is any indicator, this is an opportunity that players jump on.
WSOP should have no problem claiming its fair share of the new market despite competitors, with the operators’ numbers surging during major live and online events.