Massachusetts Sports Betting’s December 2023 Handle Hit Record to End First Year

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Across the U.S. sports betting business, from New York to Kansas sports betting, bettors set records in December 2023 in almost every market. Massachusetts sports betting was no exception, as the Bay State reported a record-breaking wager handle of $658.7 million to cap off its first year of legal betting.

That took the total wagered for 2023 in the state to $4.97 billion. It would have hit $5 billion for the year if it weren’t missing some time before it launched in March.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission this week reported the record monthly handle, which resulted in $60.6 million in taxable revenue. That’s a 23.9% increase from November’s $48.9 million revenue for the ‘books, and just shy of May’s record of $61.0 million.

Online sportsbooks were nationally far more popular with bettors, accounting for $59.3 million in revenues, while retail betting contributed $1.3 million.

In terms of handle, players wagered $643.2 million through digital platforms, while Massachusetts retail sportsbooks contributed $15.5 million. That’s about 2.4% market share for retail betting, which is around average across the U.S.

The state collected $12.0 million in sports betting tax for the month, and $93.9 million for the year overall. Those tax revenues exceeded the estimates made by lawmakers during legalization, who hoped for $60 million a year. With a full year ahead in 2024, its hard not to see that record being broken again by next January.

DraftKings Dominates in Home State

In December, Boston-based DraftKings remained the clear leader in the online market, posting $29.9 million in revenue from $316.9 million in online bets. That’s despite the operator facing the ire of the MGC over credit card deposits, and a class action lawsuit in the state over its bonus offer terms.

FanDuel followed in second with $19.3 million in revenue off a $187.4 million handle, and ESPN Bet solidified third place with its first full month of operations in the state.

The Penn Entertainment-backed sportsbook continued its trend of outperforming its predecessor, Barstool Sportsbook, and in a big way in Massachusetts. It took in a $50 million handle and $4.2 million in revenue, comfortably beating previous third-place BetMGM on both accounts.

However, it’s hard to quantify how much of this wager spend was promotional dollars, as Massachusetts regulators don’t publish that information. We do know that Penn spent heavily on betting promotions for ESPN Bet’s November launch, but has since tailed that off somewhat.

Either way, it overtook BetMGM, which placed fourth, with revenue of $3.1 million from $39.2 million in total online wagers.

Last place, by a country mile, was Betr. The Jake Paul-backed betting app failed to reach $500,000 in handle at $498,000. That’s a cripplingly small 0.076% market share, although it actually remains an improvement on September’s figures.

It was Caesars Sportsbook that held the dubious honor of the lowest hold in Massachusetts for the month at just shy of 5%. It kept $1.01 million in revenue from a $24 million handle.

The retail sportsbooks at Massachusetts casinos took in $15.5 million in wagers for December, of which they held onto $1.3 million in revenues. Plainridge Park Casino led with $534,411 in revenue from a $7.2 million handle.

MGM Springfield’s BetMGM had the best December hold of any sports betting operation in the state at 13%, holding onto $264,000 of its $1.9 million handle.

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