Massachusetts online sports betting launch commences with six sportsbooks taking bets
Six sportsbooks started taking bets in Massachusetts Friday, bringing another high-profile market in the growing number of US jurisdictions with legal sportsbooks.
Massachusetts joins 32 other states (plus Washington DC) taking legal bets. The Bay State’s launch comes days ahead of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, perenially the most wagered upon multi-game sporting event in the country.
Home to some of the nation’s highest per capita income rates and education levels as well as multiple high-profile professional sports teams, Massachusetts has been one of the most anticipated new betting markets. The state has a full range of bets permitted on professional teams, but it prohibits wagers on in-state college programs. Though several other states have similar bans, Massachusetts creates exceptions for in-state teams playing in large tournaments such as March Madness.
Massachusetts lawmakers approved sports betting legislation in August 2022. The state’s first retail sportsbook started accepting bets in January.
The six books taking bets include the nation’s market share leaders as well as multiple companies with deep Massachusetts ties.
FanDuel, the national leader in gross gaming revenue, started taking bets shortly after the 10 a.m. launch time. They were joined by Boston-based DraftKings, FanDuel’s rival daily fantasy sports operator-turned-sports betting giant.
BetMGM, the nation’s No. 3 operator by sports betting handle, also went live. Parent company MGM runs MGM Springfield in Western Massachusetts. Caesars, the No. 4 operator by handle, is also live.
Combined, these four companies make up more than 85% of US national handle.
WynnBet, a much smaller player on the national level, is also live. Wynn operates Encore Boston Harbor, the closest full-scale casino to the Boston metropolitan area.
Penn Entertainment’s Barstool Sportsbook is also taking bets. Barstool, Penn’s media brand, was founded in Massachusetts. Penn also operates the state’s Plainridge Park casino.
The six mobile books join the retail books at MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park. Caesars is set to open a sportsbook at the Raynham Park off-track betting facility later this year.
Betr, the microbetting-focused platform founded by Joey Levy and Jake Paul, is set to take bets in Massachusetts in the coming weeks. Fanatics is set to launch its first-ever mobile sportsbook in the state in the coming weeks as well.
Bally Bet is set to follow later this year while Betway expects to go live early in 2024.
Massachusetts’ 2022 sports betting law allows up to 15 sports betting licenses but it appears it could be years until Massachusetts reaches that level – if ever. Both PointsBet and bet365 decided not to launch in the state after initially applying.
Though it has many demographics that drew initial interest from more than 30 sportsbooks, Massachusetts could prove a tough market to succeed in due to tough regulatory conditions, high taxes and intense competition from the nation’s market leaders and their pre-existing ties to the state.
Even with just six operators live Friday, Massachusetts already has more legal betting options today than every other New England state has combined.
Connecticut is the only other state in the region with more than one legal betting option. Bettors there can wager on DraftKings, FanDuel and Rush Street Interactive’s PlaySugarHouse.
DraftKings is the only legal option in New Hampshire. Rhode Island’s lone legal mobile book is called Sportsbook RI.
Maine is set to start taking bets as early as this year. The state could have up to four mobile betting platforms but it remains to be seen which companies will pursue a launch in the state.
Vermont, the only New England state that hasn’t approved legal betting, is considering legislation this year.