Online Baccarat in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts gambling boom has finally brought baccarat to the Bay State but players will have to wait a while longer to be able to play baccarat online.
Massachusetts is now home to a new MGM casino resort in Springfield and a massive brand new Encore Boston Harbor casino in Boston thanks to a 2011 gambling expansion that brought legal casino gaming to the state. These casinos both offer baccarat, an increasingly popular game that is already among the most popular casino offerings overseas.
Despite the gambling expansion, and a pending sports betting bill that will allow these new casinos to launch online platforms, the state continues to prohibit casinos from offering games like baccarat online. This could soon change as the new casinos and betting platforms become more mainstream and attitudes on gambling evolve. For now, Massachusetts players can avoid legal ramifications and risky gray market sites by checking out social casinos, which use a sweepstakes model to avoid running afoul of the law.
How to Play Baccarat Online
Baccarat is only starting to take off in the United States but it is already one of the most popular games in casinos in Asia. Baccarat is loosely similar to blackjack, though it requires less decision making.
In baccarat, you can bet on the “player” or the “banker.” The player and the banker are each dealt two cards with the goal of making a hand that comes closest to 9. Numbered cards are face value while aces count as one point and face cards count as zero points. If the point value of the hand exceeds 9, the first digit is dropped. So if you draw a 5 and an 8 for a total of 13, the 1 is dropped and the value of the had is 3.
Hands that are valued at 8 or 9 are considered natural winners and no further cards are dealt. Players receive additional cards if the value of the hand is between 0 and 5 points.
You can bet on the player to win, the banker to win, or a tie. Ties are a bad bet because they typically pay out 8:1 but comes with a massive 14.36% house edge, making it among the worst bets at the casino. On the other hand, a bet on the banker comes with a 1.06% house edge while player bets have a 1.24% house edge. As such, banker bets are your best bet.
Since banker bets have a reduced house edge, many casinos take a 5% commission on banker bets. Some casinos offer no-commission baccarat variants but banker bets pay 1:2 in those games so you are better of sticking with commission baccarat and sticking with the banker bets.
Online Baccarat Massachusetts
Despite the recent rise of gambling venues in Massachusetts and a bill that would allow the newly-built casinos to launch online betting platforms, the state continues to prohibit online baccarat and other online casino games. That could soon change as the gambling boom continues and attitudes evolve but, for now, social casinos are the only game in town.
Social casinos use a sweepstakes model to avoid running afoul of state laws. These casinos allow you to purchase play money and “gift” you coins that can be redeemed for cash money every time that you buy play money. You can use these coins to play all your favorite casino games and then exchange them for their cash equivalent once you are finished playing. Since you cannot purchase the coins and you cannot bet real money, the model doesn’t violate any laws and allows you to play your favorite games for cold, hard cash.