The first few months of sports betting in Massachusetts may be having an impact on the amount of money being wagered in New Hampshire.
For the month of May, total sports betting handle in New Hampshire declined by $24 million compared to last May.
Online sports betting in Massachusetts launched on March 10, meaning unlike last year, Bay State bettors no longer have to cross state lines in order to place their wagers.
No more MA residents betting in NH
New Hampshire sports betting has been legal since 2019. Like Massachusetts, both online and retail sports betting are legal in the state.
According to numbers from the New Hampshire Lottery, bettors wagered over $76 million last May. This May, sports fans in New Hampshire wagered a total of $52.1 million, a drop of 32%.
State law requires anyone wagering on sports in NH to be at least 21 years of age and physically located within state lines. That means that you do no have to be a New Hampshire resident to bet on sports in the Granite State.
Last year, that stipulation allowed Massachusetts sports fans to travel into New Hampshire to place bets. Now, that is not needed.
New Hampshire is a much smaller betting market than Massachusetts. In fact, Massachusetts generated a total handle of $443.6 million in May, more than eight times as much as New Hampshire.
In addition, DraftKings enjoys a monopoly over legal sports betting in New Hampshire. In Massachusetts, seven sportsbooks are available, while an eighth, Fanatics, has its beta product available.
But just because the two states have vastly different markets doesn’t mean they can’t impact one another.
“I think there was the initial first wave of activity. I’m sure you saw the massive media buying from all of the sports books in Massachusetts,” New Hampshire Lottery executive director Charlie McIntyre told WMUR. “So I assume that would have an impact.”
Cross-state betting is a very real thing
In April, GeoComply, the leading geolocation service in the sports betting industry, gave PlayMA an exclusive report on out-of-state bettors trying to bet using Massachusetts online sportsbooks.
From launch on March 10 through April 9, nearly 187,000 accounts from neighboring states tried to access Massachusetts apps.
Maine residents made up 4,400 of those accounts, for instance. And 3,000 came from Vermont.
The GeoComply report also showed that 3,441 bettors actually crossed state lines to bet in Massachusetts (including 1,266 bettors from New Hampshire likely looking for Massachusetts sportsbook promos and options other than DraftKings).
The point of all this? Yes, you’d better believe Massachusetts bettors crossed state lines into New Hampshire to bet online and at retail sportsbooks before sports wagering became legal in their own state.
New Hampshire not worried in the long run
Despite the drop in May betting handle, McIntyre still expects $38 million in profit for state education this fiscal year. That would be $14 million higher than last year.
“I think it will settle down. I don’t have a reason to be concerned sitting here,” McIntrye said.
So for now it seems that Massachusetts launching is likely having a small effect on New Hampshire, but still an effect. Only time will tell if that effect becomes larger.
In addition, another northeastern state will be added to the sports betting scene soon. Last month, Vermont became the 38th state to legalize sports betting. The state is eyeing an early 2024 launch.