March 10, 2023
Massachusetts Madness: Snapshot of a New Online Sports Wagering Market
Today, Massachusetts will finally launch legal online sports wagering. It’s taken a while to get implemented by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission since Governor Charlie Baker signed An Act to Regulate Sports Wagering (House Bill No. 5164) into law on August 10, 2022. But that day is finally here, just four days before March Madness kicks off.
March Madness is one of the largest betting periods of the year, akin to the Super Bowl. WalletHub estimates that sports bettors will wager over $10 billion on the 2023 NCAA tournament. (The NCAA’s cut of that in 2022 was $1.14 billion.) Over 52% of Americans are expected to place a March Madness bet online.
Under Massachusetts state law, residents and visitors will have a variety of sports betting apps to choose from. Licensed companies making such wagering available immediately include digitally-native giants DraftKings and FanDuel, apps associated with traditional mega-casino companies BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, and WynnBET, the smaller Barstool Sportsbook that is part of Penn Entertainment (which also operates casinos under brands such as Hollywood Casino), and finally, Betr, “the world’s first micro-betting app.”
And as many options as that seem like, there will be new entrants in a matter of months. Bally Bet (associated with casino brand Bally’s) is one of those, as is Fanatics Sportsbook, which will be a new offering of sports merchandise retail behemoth Fanatics. While it’s hard to predict how these offerings will fare, DraftKings was the most-searched one on Google within the state.
|Rank||Digital Sportsbook||Within-State Google Searches (last 12 mo.)|
|7||Penn National / Barstool||32,280|
Economically, this should be a boon for the state, though comparing actual numbers with projections is always insightful. That said, Massachusetts sportsbooks are projected to handle $5.2 billion in wagers in their first year. And, significantly, all of this legal wagering in the state gets taxed – at a 20% rate for digital and mobile betting. MA lawmakers estimate sports betting could generate about $60 million in annual tax revenue and an additional $70-80 million in initial licensing fees, which must be renewed every five years.
Dr. Mark Drapeau is Editor In Chief of the Data Catalyst Institute.