Massachusetts’ first weekend of online sports betting landed the Bay State in the top five busiest states in the country for total geolocated transactions.
Data compiled by GeoComply identified 8.1 million geolocation transactions by 406,400 player accounts during the March 10-12 launch weekend. A geolocation transaction occurs at various stages of a user registering and placing a bet with legally regulated online sportsbooks, including signing on to a sportsbook and placing a bet.
Massachusetts online sports betting currently has six operators: FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, WynnBET and Barstool Sportsbook. More will launch in the coming months, with a full capacity for online operators set at 15.
The GeoComply data represents some of the most useful comparative numbers available about the MA launch until the Massachusetts Gaming Commission submits official revenue data. That will come on April 17, PlayMA has learned.
Massachusetts punched above its weight at launch
With a population of 7.1 million people, Massachusetts ranks 15th in the country for total population. However, in terms of sports betting prowess, the Bay State outpaced similarly populated states that offer legal sports betting to land itself in the top five.
GeoComply data shows that Massachusetts nearly doubled the geolocation transactions of Virginia and Arizona, which have similar populations. The frenzy of launch could account for some of that. Mass sports fans are wild and, at the moment, they have two particularly strong local teams to bet on in the Bruins and Celtics, which might also fuel action.
The only states to outperform Massachusetts over the weekend were New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio. All are either much larger, have a mature sports betting market or both.
Will Massachusetts settle into the fifth spot after the excitement of launch and the 2023 Final Four ends? When we settle into NBA and NHL playoffs and then loll off into the long baseball-driven summer?
A Red Sox team that doesn’t disgrace the city of Boston would go a long way to locking Massachusetts into the top five.
Strict gaming regulations define Massachusetts launch
Since the launch of Massachusetts casinos in 2011, the state, with the aid of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, has invested in responsible gaming practices.
GeoComply’s press release reiterated the MGC’s commitment to responsible gaming in the launch of online sports betting.
“Throughout the regulatory process,” GeoComply explained, “the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has emphasized consumer protection, resulting in an oversight regime with strong rules around advertising and responsible gambling.”
GeoComply is known for geofencing bettors from other states out of a given market. However, it can also block bettors who fit other profiles, including those with a history of fraud.
Over launch weekend, GeoComply blocked over 5,000 transactions from “devices or accounts with a known history of fraud saving its customers tens of thousands of dollars.”
The MGC spent long hours leading up to launch ensuring responsible gaming practices remained top of mind for both the regulating body and the online operators. With federal oversight looming on account of bad actions by operators in other states, Massachusetts hopes to run a tight ship to set a high standard for responsible gaming.
Public Health Trust Fund to receive sports betting boost
Depending on how the state decides to handle promotional credit tax write-offs, PlayMA projects Massachusetts could generate up to $87 million in tax revenue when the market is mature. The Public Health Trust Fund, which supports problem gaming programs, would receive over $7.8 million of those tax dollars.
For 2022, the Public Health Trust Fund budget was set at $17 million. A sports betting boost could provide a 46% budgetary increase, and further empower one of the country’s leading problem gaming organizations to do even more to protect Massachusetts sports bettors.