After its legalization in August and a lengthy preparation period, online sports betting is officially live in Massachusetts.
It’s been a long time coming for the sports-obsessed state.
“Massachusetts’ new online sports betting market is expected to perform well given the pent-up demand,” Gambling.com Group’s VP of Sports Max Bichsel told Front Office Sports. “One of the most exciting elements of the Massachusetts sports betting launch today is that March Madness starts next week, the Celtics are playing well, and the Bruins are atop the Eastern Conference.”
Getting online sports betting up and running for the biggest time of the year for college basketball was likely a priority for state officials after they couldn’t get it done for football season as initially planned.
In the run-up to launch, the six major sportsbooks that went live on day one — Barstool, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, and WynnBet — have made pushes to advertise their presence in the Commonwealth.
Caesars’ first mobile bet in Massachusetts was a $15 wager on Alabama A&M (+130) to beat Texas Southern in the SWAC men’s basketball tournament. Its first parlay was $1,000 on the Purdue and Alabama moneylines (-149).
Meanwhile, FanDuel announced a multiyear partnership with the Boston Bruins on Friday.
Books have been going all in on traditional advertising as well.
“The ad blitz has been for real; I can tell you that,” Massachusetts-based sports betting marketing executive Adam Rosenberg told FOS. “It’s like nothing I’ve seen before.”
Consumer acquisition could be lucrative for the state: In its first full year of legal online sports betting, New York recorded a handle of $16.6 billion for a total tax revenue of $709.2 million — the most of any state in the country.
Massachusetts carries a “very competitive” sports betting tax rate of 15% in-person and 20% online.
Success in Massachusetts could serve as an example for states looking to legalize.
“Massachusetts may be the last state in the US to launch online sports betting in 2023 and, as a result, many other state lawmakers and policymakers will look to Massachusetts to observe how they regulated, launched, and operated successfully,” says Bichsel. This will create a much-needed push to get pending legislation in other states across the line.”
One state that didn’t make the cut in 2023? Georgia struck down sports betting legislation for the third time in as many years.