In its first year of sports betting, Massachusetts sports betting could generate $4.2 billion in bets.
The 2023 estimate is lower than the expected annual handle at maturity, which PlayMA projected could reach $5.7 billion, in part because the online market will be live for only 10 months.
PlayMA’s projections reflect the swift ramp-up in Massachusetts sports betting handle that other markets have experienced. Other states have had fast ramp-up times, influencing handle projections for markets’ first and mature years.
When does sportsbook handle peak?
Sportsbook handle — the amount of money wagered — follows a seasonal pattern. Handle is high from September to March because of football and basketball. It falls when March Madness betting ends.
Customer acquisition follows a similar pattern. Sportsbooks acquire many of their customers during football and basketball season because that’s when fans are most engaged in sports and most receptive to using bonus credits to put numbers to their superior sports knowledge.
High customer engagement and highly visible advertising opportunities are why sports betting industries that launch during the peak season can generate most of their projected handle so quickly.
For example, Arizona launched online sports betting in September 2021. Its sports betting handle plateaued after two months and settled into the normal seasonal pattern:
New York’s growth in handle was even faster. Online sports betting handle made it to its normal fluctuation after one week:
|Week Ending 1/9/2022||$171 Million|
|Week Ending 1/16/2022||$432 Million|
|Week Ending 1/23/2022||$573 Million|
|Week Ending 1/30/2022||$449 Million|
Weekly handle is more volatile than monthly handle because bettors wager on certain games and events more than others. However, New York’s handle growth showed how quickly a major sports market can funnel sports bettors to new sportsbooks.
Massachusetts sports betting handle pattern
With MA online sports betting launching amid March Madness, Massachusetts sportsbooks can expect to penetrate a significant amount of the market. The sportsbooks that launch on March 10 will also be able to acquire customers during the 2023 NFL and basketball seasons.
Massachusetts’ sports betting market has plenty of room to grow after its first year. The jump from $4.2 billion to $5.7 billion is still a 36% increase. Handle won’t grow dramatically from year to year as handle does in the first weeks of legal sports betting.
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