A new PlayMA survey found that 51% of Massachusetts sports fans are already betting ahead of Friday’s launch of legal online sports betting.
These bettors may be betting at the retail sportsbooks that have been live since Jan. 31. They may also be betting offshore, out of state, or with a bookie or friends. They may also consider daily fantasy sports as betting.
No matter how they’re betting, these customers are already targets for sportsbook advertisements. PlayMA’s survey found that 81% of sports fans knew Massachusetts online sports betting apps were going live on Friday. The online sportsbooks planning to launch Friday have already been advertising to and pre-registering fans with MA sportsbook sign-up bonuses.
Of the 49% of sports fans who are not currently betting:
- 43% don’t know whether they’ll use sportsbooks
- 37% won’t bet on sportsbooks
- 21% will bet on sportsbooks
While the non-bettors are largely unsure whether they’ll use legal online sportsbooks in Massachusetts, this large segment of potential customers could be swayed by the intensity of their sports fandom.
MA sports betting activity should mirror sports fandom
When asked to describe Massachusetts sports fans, survey respondents recognized the intensity of their fellow Bay Staters:
- “They’re sports fanatics. … I’m a sports fan, but not like other people though.”
- “(They’re) very loud, proud and passionate. Can easily become annoying and obnoxious after a certain point.”
- “They are very fanatical and willing to spend money.”
Respondents also bandied about other strong words such as crazy and cocky.
Across the country, sports betting has already integrated itself into mainstream sports. Odds and bonuses are advertised during national sports broadcasts. Some sports broadcasters include segments where a betting “analyst” breaks down spreads, explains odds and makes picks.
Additionally, if a fan wants to show how much more they know about sports, betslip histories provide a way to literally show the receipts of their superior sports knowledge. Nothing says, “I’ll show you,” like winning a bet on +500 odds.
Overall, 44% of survey respondents said their sports fandom would impact their betting. High levels of “homerism” have shown up in other states, too.
From the 2022 Orange Bowl to the College Football Playoff national title game, PointsBet saw a 107% increase in bets globally. There’s a segment of sports bettors that only or mostly bets on championship games. Championship events are also prime customer acquisition opportunities. So, it’s unsurprising to see an increase in activity from the semifinals to the championship.
In Michigan, however, PointsBet saw less than a 10% increase in bets. Michigan lost to Georgia in the Orange Bowl, kicking Michigan out in the CFP national semifinals. Bettors were still interested in the championship game, but were less enthusiastic about a game their team could’ve been in.
Fans aren’t only interested in their teams. But they are more interested in games that their teams are playing in.
Homefield advantage for DraftKings Sportsbook?
When asked whether they were more likely to bet on DraftKings Sportsbook because it’s a Massachusetts brand, 62% of respondents said yes.
While FanDuel Massachusetts could very well lead the market — as it has pretty much everywhere else — perhaps there could be some home-cooking simmering for DK.
In its Q4 announcement, FanDuel said its market share was 50%. This can vary widely across all sports betting markets, but FanDuel Sportsbook was the market leader in 15 of its 18 states. Its highest market share was in Kansas at 59%, and its lowest market share was in Wyoming, where it was 18%.
FanDuel secured this market-leading position by making early strategic investments that built on themselves over time.
For example, FanDuel spent each market launch figuring out how to acquire more customers quickly during each launch. In the first 12 months of the 2018-19 wave of legalization, FanDuel’s customer penetration rate was 1.8%. In the 2022 wave, its customer penetration rate was 4.4%.
FanDuel’s most cost-effective customer acquisition technique is a customer referral. A more significant customer base results in more referrals, which result in even more customers, and so on. This is one of several snowball effects that weren’t obvious in 2018 but have borne evident fruit in 2023.
Corporate allegiance may not outweigh the cumulative advantages that pushed FanDuel to the top of the sports betting market in 83% of its active states.
But if there’s any way DraftKings could level the playing field, could it be in its backyard?
PlayMA sports fandom survey methodology
Except where noted, all data in this article comes from a survey commissioned by PlayMA.com and conducted by Pollfish, an online survey platform. In total, we surveyed 600 American adults over the age of 25 residing in Massachusetts, with a margin of error of ~5%.
To qualify for the survey, we used a screening question to determine whether each respondent identified as a sports fan. The survey was conducted from March 2 to March 7, 2023, and included multiple choice, ranking and open-ended questions.
All respondents were asked to answer questions honestly. Overall, 47.8% of respondents identified as male and 52.2% identified as female. The respondent age breakdown is as follows: