Legal online sports betting in Massachusetts is not imminent, with bills still in the works but not anywhere near completion.

MORE: Where Is Sports Betting Legal? (

Driven by consumer interest and surrounding states like Rhode Island and New Hampshire legalizing sports betting to snap up some of the New England market, there is interest from state lawmakers to get a bill done.

A bill from Gov. Charlie Baker has been under review for nearly a year, and we’re still waiting on the committee’s report on it.

There is a possibility that Massachusetts gets legal betting by 2020. But it’s looking grimmer than it did last year, and if there’s not any serious momentum by July, it will likely get pushed to 2021 at the earliest.

One proposed bill would allow the state to give out licenses to companies without requiring them to partner with a land-based casino. Tennessee is the only other state right now that is operating under that policy. 

It’s a far better policy for the consumer compared to states with limited licenses or states operating through their lottery, which give bettors few options and protections. 

Massachusetts has had several bills in the works since early 2019 but appears to be at a little bit of a standstill as the statehouse and senate review each.

“This is an entirely new industry.  We need to make sure we get it right. But I do think, eventually, this will happen so the question is when, and in what form,” State Senator Eric Lesser, who is heading a committee reviewing sports betting for the state, told Boston 25 News in October (

Early projections estimate that Massachusetts would generate $30 million in tax revenue yearly with sports betting. The proposed tax rate for operators is 12.5% for online betting.

Sports Betting Terms + How-To

There are a handful of terms you need to know before you can start betting on sports in earnest. Here.

  1. Favorites vs. Underdogs

Sportsbooks first determine who is the better team in a game and assign one as the favorite and one as the underdog.

Underdogs will have a plus sign (+) in front of their odds while favorites will have a minus sign (-).

  1. Point Spread

The point spread is a great equalizer that incentivizes bettors to back the worse team. It’s a margin of victory projection assigned by oddsmakers to encourage balanced betting action on both teams.

Let’s say the New England Patriots are a 14.5-point favorite (written -14.5) against the New York Jets.

If you bet on the Patriots to win the game, they need to win by at least 15 points for you to win your bet. If the Jets lose by 14 or fewer or win the game outright, Jets’ bettors win their spread bets.

Point spreads are most common in high-scoring sports like football and basketball.

  1. Moneyline

A Moneyline requires you to only bet on who will win the game, but it’s adjusted for how good the team is. Moneylines are available for all sports, but most common in baseball and hockey.

Let’s say the Boston Red Sox are -150 favorites against the New York Yankees, who are +140 underdogs. If you wanted to bet the Red Sox, you would need to risk $150 in order to win $100. If Boston wins, you win $100, plus you get the $150 you originally bet back. If the Red Sox lose, you lose the $150 you risked.

In turn, if you bet $100 on the Yankees and they were able to pull off the upset victory, you would win $140, plus get your original $100 bet back. If the Yankees lose, you lose $100.

  1. Over/Under

Called the total but more commonly known as an over/under, this type of wager requires you to bet on the total number of points scored by both teams — either over or under. It’s common for all sports, but adjusted depending on the scoring — an NHL total is often 6, while NBA games are almost always 200 or more.

If the Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors over/under is 217, the two teams would need to combine for 218 points or more for anyone who bet on the over to win. If they combine for 216 points or fewer, anyone who bets under wins.