Wynn reaffirms WynnBet online sportsbook launch plans in Massachusetts
Wynn plans to launch a mobile sportsbook in Massachusetts, company officials reaffirmed Tuesday, positioning WynnBet to go live in one of the nation’s most anticipated new markets.
Wynn has targeted an online sports betting launch in Massachusetts since the 2019 opening of its Encore Boston Harbor property. With statewide mobile wagering set to be approved as soon as this week, Wynn officials said the company is positioning itself to not just launch, but to be a market leader.
“We have the land-based presence there, and you’ve seen market share from fellow market participants in places where they had brick and mortar presence, this obviously warrants prioritizing Massachusetts,” CEO Craig Billings said during a conference call Tuesday announcing the company’s Q2 2022 earnings.
Wynn had originally sought to compete with other US market leaders including FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and BetMGM, which have combined to lose billions in a high-spending promotional and marketing blitz. The company earlier this year announced it would drastically curtail widespread player acquisition spending and instead focus more narrowly on sustainable, high-value customers.
Wynn Interactive, which includes the company’s online casino and sportsbook divisions, still lost more than $160m in the first half of 2022.
Wynn has a smaller market share than the aforementioned market leaders in all markets it operates, including New York, the nation’s largest by handle. WynnBet has low single-digit handle share in the nine-operator New York market, and an even smaller percentage of that figure by gross gaming revenue.
But Massachusetts could be different, according to management.
“Massachusetts was always an important bootstrapping event for WynnBet,” Billings said.
Encore Boston Harbor is only a few miles from downtown Boston, far and away the region’s largest population center. Company officials believe this prominent location has already built brand recognition in Massachusetts and throughout New England, which will help give it a leg up in the digital gaming arena.
Wynn CEO Craig Billings: “Massachusetts was always an important bootstrapping event for WynnBet.”
Wynn, MGM and Barstool Sportsbook parent company Penn Entertainment are all effectively guaranteed two online sports betting licenses under the state’s sports betting bill passed earlier this month. The law will permit as many as 15 online sportsbooks in the state.
Massachusetts’ online sportsbooks are set to launch within the next three-to-six months. The state’s first retail books, including a nearly completed venue at Encore Boston Harbor, could open in the coming weeks.
Billings said Tuesday he expects WynnBet to go live in Massachusetts on the opening day.
“Sports betting will soon be a significant opportunity for property-wide acquisition in Boston,” said Billings, who formally led Wynn Interactive before being promoted to CEO earlier this year.
As with other online sports betting operators, Wynn sees WynnBet’s digital sportsbook as a way to attract players to its more profitable online casino.
Though online casino legalization in Massachusetts is likely years away, Wynn envisions the pending sportsbook launch, combined with the success of its retail casino, as a way to be a digital gaming leader in the state.
Covid-19 restriction repeals helped Encore Boston Harbor see operating revenues increase from $162m to $210.2m from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022, an increase of nearly $45m. Adjusted Property EBITDA from Encore Boston Harbor for the second quarter of 2022 was $63.7m, compared to $46.9m for the second quarter of 2021, according to the company’s earnings report released Tuesday.
While revenues at its Boston casino and its Las Vegas properties increased dramatically year-over-year, Wynn’s overall operating revenue decreased $81.3m from the second quarter of 2022 compared to the second quarter of 2021. Like all other Asia-heavy operators, the company has seen massive revenue declines from its Macau properties due to the Chinese government’s continued Covid-19 restrictions.
Wynn stock ended regular trading up slightly Tuesday. It was trading down more than 2% after hours following its Q2 earnings announcement.