Why BetRivers Didn’t Apply for Massachusetts Online Sportsbook License

Written By Kris Johnson on January 4, 2023 - Last Updated on July 16, 2024
Why BetRivers didn't apply for Massachusetts online sportsbook license

At first blush, BetRivers appeared to be conspicuously absent on the list of mobile sportsbooks that applied for licenses to offer Massachusetts sports betting apps.

A total of 15 sports betting operator applications were received before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s deadline of Nov. 21, 2022. DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet were among the 12 operators seeking mobile licenses.

Wither BetRivers?

With mobile wagering (hopefully) launching here by March, Play Massachusetts wanted to get some clarity on Rush Street Interactive’s decision not have its BetRivers brand as an operator in Massachusetts.

A spokesperson for Rush Street Interactive responded to an interview request this week by saying that RSI “will not be commenting regarding the Massachusetts market at this time.”  

LOOKING AHEAD: Best Potential Massachusetts Sportsbook Bonuses

But there were strong indications during RSI’s most recent earnings call in November that the company was starting to view state sports betting launches differently compared to past years. With RSI pushing for profitability in the second half of 2023, its online casino product has become a big driver in that quest. 

“I think we’re very mindful of how much we allocate to sports markets with what the economics are around each of those markets that we enter,” RSI CEO Richard Schwartz said on the call, “and what the trade-off is between investing there versus investing in iCasino markets.”

Keeping Market Share & Customer Acquisition Cost in Perspective

The intense competition between commercial sportsbooks to acquire new users in the months following state launches has become a focal point in the industry at large. It’s incumbent on potential operators to drill down on the costs to secure new users relative to their potential value as long-term customers.

Otherwise, they leave themselves open to fiscal burn from the churn that typically accompanies these arms races for new customers. 

“We’re not going to get caught up in a game of trying to hit a certain market share target in a state (without knowing) cost to acquire players and the value that they generate,” Schwartz said. 

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a critical component of any sportsbook’s success, and BetRivers changed its sign-up bonus for new sports betting customers in part to help reduce CAC.

The New BetRivers Welcome Bonus

BetRivers previously offered one of the most attractive welcome offers in the US with a deposit match up to $250 that only required a 1x playthrough, which was a rarity in the industry. It’s now offering a $500 second chance bet that’s triggered only if the new user loses their first wager at BetRivers.

BetRivers, which launched on Jan.1, 2023, in Ohio, offered the $500 second chance bet as its sign-up bonus for new users in the Buckeye State. It was the same welcome offer used for the launch of online sportsbooks in Maryland last November. 

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“The second chance bet was something that we believed would be attractive to the consumer, where essentially it was a [bonus] bet where if they were to lose the first bet, they get it back as a free bet to try again,” Schwartz said. “And so what we (found) is that the value to us was stronger in this area. The ROI was a better result for us by using this program here. So we have tested it out, we wrote it out across a bunch of markets, and we like the results that we’re seeing so far on that new promotion.”

The $500 second chance bet would likely have been offered in Massachusetts. Despite RSI’s decision not to have BetRivers join the online competition in the Commonwealth, Massachusetts sports bettors will have several top options to choose from after launch. Check out some of the sign-up offers and betting bonuses you can expect to find in the near future.

READ MORE: These Steps Must Happen for MA Sports Betting to Launch on Jan. 31

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Kris Johnson

Kris Johnson is a Lead Writer at PlayMA with more than 15 years of experience as a sports journalist. Kris' work has appeared in Sports Business Daily, Sports Business Journal, NASCAR Illustrated, and more. Kris also authored a sports betting novel entitled The Endgame.

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