First Year Of Massachusetts Sports Betting Brings $5.96B In Wagers

Written By Hill Kerby on March 18, 2024
Massachusetts Sports Betting Year 1

Massachusetts online sportsbooks have been legal for more than a year now. And if the Bay State had a report card for its first year, it would earn straight A’s.

So, what does the progress report look like for Massachusetts sports betting? 

  • Nearly $6 billion wagered at Massachusetts sportsbooks
  • More than $100 million in tax revenue for the state
  • A thriving economy with strict regulations in place to promote responsible gambling, protect minors and preserve the integrity of college sports

Massachusetts sports betting nears $6 billion handle in first year

It would have been easy to say that Massachusetts sports betting was at least a year late to the party when it launched on March 10, 2023. Maybe it was fashionably late, though.

After February’s revenue report, Massachusetts online sportsbooks accepted $5.96 billion in online wagers through their first 12 months of data. Technically, this number accounts for the first 356 days of sports betting, meaning sportsbooks unofficially eclipsed the $6 billion milestone for their first year if they accepted another $39.4 million by March 10, 2024.

While the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) does not provide daily revenue statistics, its report confirmed that retail sportsbooks have accepted another $155 million in wagers since March 2023. Thus, Massachusetts sports betting volume officially exceeded $6.1 billion in the first year of mobile wagering.

Here are a few statistics from the first 12 months of Massachusetts sports betting:

  • Total handle: $5.96 billion
  • Average monthly handle: $496.7 million
  • Above-average months: 8
  • Months above $600 million handle: 3 (Dec. ‘23 – $643.2 million; Jan. ‘24 – $638 million; Nov. ‘23 – $636.8 million)
  • Lowest handle: July 2023 ($288.1 million)

MA sportsbooks reported $583.8 million in revenue through the first 12 months, resulting in $116.9 million going to state coffers. The nine-figure tax bill comes from the state’s 20% revenue tax for online sports betting operators, which has blazed a trail for states to follow with future launches. Massachusetts taxes retail sportsbook revenue at a similarly high 15%.

Not all Massachusetts sportsbooks experienced equal success

While sports betting revenue flourished statewide, not all Massachusetts online sportsbooks experienced the same triumphs.

Through December 2023, more than half of all wagers were placed via DraftKings Sportsbook. At that time, online wagers totaled approximately $4.12 billion, and DraftKings had a $2.13 billion handle.

FanDuel Sportsbook was second with a $1.18 billion lifetime handle. The remaining six Massachusetts sportsbooks had $815.8 million combined with BetMGM Sportsbook, which was the next closest at $299.4 million.

PENN Entertainment finished fourth, well behind BetMGM. The failed venture with Barstool Sports stunted its lifetime $180 million handle, but it’s positioning itself as the number-three sportsbook in the market after pivoting into a new venture with ESPN and the ESPN Bet Sportsbook.

Only two of the bottom four MA sportsbooks remain in business today. Betr, which accepted less than $3 million in wagers since launching in May 2023, called it quits in February. WynnBET, which went live on day one in Massachusetts, also closed in February as part of a greater effort to exit the nationwide online sports betting market.

Another day-one licensee, Bally Bet, remains on the sidelines a year later. It hopes to enter the market in July but still needs to give state regulators an updated launch schedule. Of course, Bally Bet will face stiff competition in a market that’s already shown where its loyalty lies.

A strong foundation for a sustainable future

The launch of Massachusetts sports betting has created over $100 million in new tax revenue, divided to the state’s General Fund (45%), Gaming Local Aid Fund (27.5%), Workplace Investment Trust Fund (17.5%), Public Health Trust Fund (9%), and Youth Development and Achievement Fund (1%).

Beyond creating a favorable tax structure, state legislators accounted for responsible gambling efforts when crafting Massachusetts’ sports betting bill, specifically around advertising. As a result, the MGC requires all advertisements to display that sports betting is only available to those 21 and up. The MGC has also implemented strict regulations regarding language implying that bettors will receive “free” promo offers.

Lastly, the state took a hard stance on in-state college betting and underage gambling. Some rules include:

  • Wagering on in-state college teams can only happen during tournaments like March Madness
  • All advertisements require a “21+” label and cannot use words like “risk-free” or “free wager” in their verbiage
  • Sportsbooks cannot advertise on college campuses or other platforms where the majority of people present are under 21
  • Bettors may not use credit cards from other states to fund their accounts
  • Bettors cannot wager on non-sporting events like the Grammy Awards, prop bets like what color Gatorade will be dumped on the Super Bowl-winning coach’s head, or controversial sports like slapfighting

Massachusetts sports betting may have taken longer to come to fruition than other states, but it’s laid a framework to create sustained success moving forward. Year two will prove it, too.

Photo by PlayMA
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Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of safe, legal betting, and is grateful to be able to contribute to growing the industry. He has a background in poker, sports, and psychology, all of which he incorporates into his writing.

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