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PointsBet announced Thursday it would not pursue a Massachusetts sports betting license just weeks before the state’s mobile sports betting launch.

PointsBet will surprisingly withdraw from Massachusetts, departing what many industry stakeholders considered could be one of the nation’s strongest per capita markets. It leaves one less potential market for the Australian-based operator that hoped to shake up the US through “pointsbetting” and could further consolidate revenue around the handful of existing American leaders.

More than 40 operators expressed formal interest in Massachusetts shortly after the state passed its sports betting legalization measure last summer. The legislation ultimately allotted 15 licenses, but now the state is set to see roughly half that total when mobile wagering goes live March 10.

Massachusetts structure

Thursday’s announcement during a Massachusetts regulatory meeting further detracts from what could have been among the deepest rosters of any legal sports betting state.

The four sportsbooks with more than 10% US handle market share – FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars – are still all set to go live. But Massachusetts will now be without PointsBet, among the top 10 nationally. Bet365, a small US player but a market leader across much of the globe, also withdrew, taking away what could have been one of the few names capable of upending the current quadropoly.

By the March 10 universal start date, only the four aforementioned companies, as well as Barstool, WynnBet and (potentially) the microbetting-focused startup Betr, could go live. The other licensees, Bally Bet and the pending Fanatics sportsbooks, aren’t expected to go live until later this year. Betway, the other remaining perspective applicant, said Thursday it would wait until 2024 or latter.

This means nine books have targeted a 2023 launch with no timeline for if – or when – any other operators pursue some of the six licenses still available. The four national market leaders have more than 80 percent gross gaming revenue market share (with the bulk of that going to FanDuel and DraftKings) and that figure could be even higher in Massachusetts.

PointsBet future

This could help explain why PointsBet pulled out despite the potential of one of the nation’s highest-educated, wealthiest and most sports-obsessed states.

FanDuel has dominated revenue totals in nearly every state it enters, capturing as much as 50% (or more) in several states. Boston-based DraftKings is also expected to be a major player, and BetMGM and Caesars have (like the DraftKings and FanDuel) showered hundreds of millions on player acquisition costs in nearly every state they enter.

PointsBet would also have to battle for market share with WynnBet, which already operates a retail sportsbook in the state and has invested heavily around its Encore Boston Harbor property, as well as Barstool, which also has a Massachusetts retail sportsbook and traces its roots to the Boston area.

Though it could make sense financially, the Massachusetts departure just weeks before launch still sparks questions about the company’s future.

Despite a high-profile deal with Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees and NBC’s Sunday Night Football, perenially the most-watched weekly program in America, PointsBet has failed to gain much traction in the US. Though it offers its patterned PointsBet, which allows bettors to win or lose more or less money depending on the discrepancy in the score compared to the original pointspread, it still has not been able to differentiate itself from names better known to American audiences.

PoitntsBet is still live in 14 states, among the highest totals of any operator in the country, and it publicly remains committed to being a major US player. Still, leaving a high-profile market shortly before it starts taking bets further complicates a path for its future.