Online Sports Betting Inflates Massachusetts Gaming Revenue In March

Written By Derek Helling on April 19, 2023
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It was just three weeks, but it was just about the best three weeks that DraftKings could have asked for. The latest Massachusetts gaming revenue reports show that the DraftKings online sportsbook made good use of its hometown advantage.

Legal online sports betting was available for the last three weeks of March in Massachusetts and during that time, DraftKings accounted for almost 47% of all dollars gambled online legally in the state. The state’s brick-and-mortar casinos also enjoyed a solid month in March.

Massachusetts gaming revenue clears $151 million in March

The expansion of legal online gambling in Massachusetts to include sports betting has shown its potential. According to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, play on poker, slots, and table games at the state’s two licensed casinos and slot parlor Plainridge Park plus all licensed sports gambling activity for March came to $151.5 million in taxable gaming revenue.

Off that total, the state collected around $38.8 million in privilege tax dollars. The state’s casinos and slot parlor pulled most of t
he weight again accounting for about $105.9 million of the total. That win from in-person sports betting, poker, slots, and table games represented an improvement of about 5.6% from February’s Massachusetts gaming revenue.

The total of $105.9 million also represents a year-over-year improvement of around 3.8%. However, the three gaming facilities’ physical sportsbooks did not exist at that time. Online sports betting brought in another $45.6 million in taxable revenue for March, undoubtedly buoyed by the NCAA D1 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

The state’s six online sportsbooks did not share equally in that $45.6 million, though. There was a clear hometown advantage for DraftKings.

Bay Staters gamble over $500 million in three weeks online

The six licensed sports betting apps started taking bets in Massachusetts on March 10. DraftKings, at least for the balance of March, successfully executed its plan to make good use of having its headquarters in Boston.

Across all six operators, people in the state gambled more than $563.6 million online on sports in Massachusetts in March. DraftKings accounted for $264.3 million of that total. However, FanDuel arguably showed a sign that it will at least seriously compete if not extend its leadership from other states.

FanDuel reported the highest taxable revenue total during March’s final three weeks. That app collected just over $16 million in that time from bettors, slightly besting DraftKings’ $15.5 million.

Combined, DraftKings and FanDuel represented almost 80% of all dollars bet online on sports in the state for March. Their taxable revenue also made up 69% of the statewide total.

The other four operators, including BetMGM, Caesars, and WynnBet, ranged from $7.3 million in taxable revenue to $1.8 million in the same category for March. Looking at the numbers, it seems a physical presence in the state has not necessarily translated to online success.

Several entrenched brands, different results

MGM and Wynn have operated casinos in Massachusetts for years. Penn Entertainment has done the same with Plainridge Park and the headquarters of its sports media arm is in Boston. Nonetheless, those presences did not guarantee a strong share of the online sports betting market in the state so far.

BetMGM led the way among those three brands by accounting for 8.3% of all dollars wagered in that category for March. Penn Interactive saw just 5.3% of the bucks go its way. WynnBet represented a mere 3.3%.

As already mentioned, all three operators reported taxable revenue of at least $1.8 million for the month. By that measurement, it’s possible to attribute a modicum of success, especially in just the first three weeks of the products being available in Massachusetts.

Especially for Penn Interactive, though, which ran a marketing campaign around being a Boston company, getting less than 6% of the action is probably far below the desired return. It’s uncertain what Penn will do to try to increase its market share.

The first online Massachusetts sports betting numbers just further the narrative of a rocky start in the state for Penn. Penn is already under investigation by the MGC for potential illegal marketing practices. Before that, whether Penn would even receive a license was seriously in question.

Should these numbers hold consistent moving forward, these operators will need to adjust to compete. For DraftKings and FanDuel, though, everything appears to be unfolding according to plan.

Photo by Playin USA
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of Playin USA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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