According to PlayMA projections, 87% of Massachusetts sports betting will be online.
Based on those projections, that would equal $5 billion in total wagers.
The high estimate of online sports betting handle in MA is consistent with other markets, where online sports betting generates most of the state’s handle. After all, it’s easier to open an app than drive to a casino, stadium or horse racetrack.
Massachusetts shares key features with other states that have high amounts of online activity, but whose retail sportsbooks generate a noticeable amount of revenue.
Massachusetts online sports betting compared with other markets
Compared with some states with sports betting, 87% of sports betting handle coming from online betting is high.
In January 2023, Nevada’s online sports betting handle was only 62% of total sports betting handle. That’s the lowest ratio of online to retail sports betting in the US.
Nevada is also unique. Casino revenue also comes from its extravagant casinos, entertainment revenue from performers, and the hotels and restaurants inside the world-class casinos. Las Vegas is built around in-person experiences, not online convenience.
New York’s sports betting market is the antithesis of Nevada’s. About 99% of New York sports betting is online. Resorts World Casino is in New York City, but it only offers electronic slots and table games. The drive from New York City to the retail sportsbook in Schenectady is almost three hours. Online sports betting is necessary for sports bettors in New York in a way that’s unusual in most other markets.
(Before New York legalized online sports betting, New Yorkers would take the ferry to New Jersey and gather at the same overpacked Starbucks to place sports wagers online.)
Massachusetts vs. a similar state
Massachusetts retail sports betting is likely to be similar to but more profitable than a market such as Colorado.
Both states have few retail sports betting options. There are only three Massachusetts casinos. Colorado limited its casinos to three cities. Massachusetts will allow many online sportsbooks, as Colorado has. Finally, Boston and Denver are large and culturally important cities with nationally recognized professional sports teams.
The main difference is that Massachusetts’ casinos are more easily accessible than Colorado’s. One casino is in Boston, and the other two are off major highways. Colorado’s casino cities are either in the mountains or otherwise far out of the way of Denver. Some of Massachusetts’ stadiums could also have retail sportsbooks down the road. These factors should boost Massachusetts retail sportsbook handle compared with Colorado.
Like the sports betting markets before it, Massachusetts will see most of its sports betting handle come from online sources. However, Massachusetts’ retail sportsbooks will also benefit from traffic that retail sportsbooks in other states lack. According to PlayMA projections, its retail sports betting handle could reach $741 million annually at full market maturity.
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