WynnBET and Betr Exiting Massachusetts Sports Betting Market

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The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is set to meet Thursday, February 1, and two operators will likely tell the regulator they are leaving the Bay State sports betting market.

WynnBET and Betr are expected to officially inform the MGC of their decision to wrap up their operations in Massachusetts. That’s according to a scheduled meeting agenda published by the regulator.

Neither operator’s departure will come as much of a surprise to followers of the national sports betting scene.

Jake Paul-backed Betr announced its departure last week, bundling the bad news with a PR-laden release about its plans for expansion elsewhere.

Meanwhile, WynnBET has had its operations in the state on review for several months. In 2023, it closed down in eight states to focus on markets where it also has casinos and retail sportsbooks, such as Nevada sports betting.

Thanks to its Encore Boston Harbor venue, WynnBET will continue to operate Massachusetts retail sports betting, at least for now.

Outsized Marketing Spends

Despite a strong pace set in the first year of the Massachusetts market in 2023, neither WynnBET nor Betr gathered much interest from bettors.

In December, Betr picked up just 0.07% of the total handle, although that was a marginal improvement on September’s performance, where it held on to just $28k in revenues.

WynnBET was the perennial second-to-last in the market over 2023, just ahead of Betr.

Even the strong monthly performances from its WynnBET retail ‘book at the popular Encore Boston Harbor casino was not enough to save the brand’s online presence.

Wynn management has previously said that their reluctance to spend big on initial marketing and promotional offers cost WynnBET market share when it launched alongside the rest of the market in March 2023, and it never recovered.

The perceived wisdom among most U.S. sports betting operators has been to take big losses on promotions and offers during market debuts in order to attract long-term customers.

Nearly five years into the era of sports betting legalization in the U.S., and that strategy is just starting to pay off, with market leaders (and big spenders) FanDuel and DraftKings finally starting to post quarterly profits.

Even going into 2024, Penn Entertainment’s ESPN Bet has been running with this strategy aggressively. Such moves left operators like WynnBET in the dust, unwilling to invest in those tactics.

“In light of the continued requirement for outsized marketing spend through user acquisition and promotions in online sports betting, we believe there are higher and better uses of capital deployment for Wynn Resorts shareholders,” said Wynn Resorts CFO Julie Cameron-Doe, speaking on WynnBET’s closure in eight states last year.

Now, WynnBET remains in operation for Michigan, Arizona, and New York sports betting. Its December showing in New York saw it become the first operator in the nation’s largest sports betting market to make back-to-back monthly losses, so that operation might not be long for the world.

It was only a few years ago, in 2021, that WynnBET was given a $3.5 billion valuation by the company board. By 2022, rumors indicated the operator would accept $500 million on a proposed sale, which never materialized.

Must Do Betr

Meanwhile, Betr is also set to leave the Massachusetts market after consistently bottoming out on the revenue charts each month for most of 2023.

It finished the year with taxable revenues of $189,350 for eight months of operations. Compare that to Boston-based DraftKings, the most popular sportsbook in the Bay State.

DraftKings made $29 million in taxable revenues in December alone, which is around 153 times what Betr made for the whole year.

Despite its equally poor performances in Ohio sports betting and now leaving Massachusetts (the first two markets it opened in), Betr cofounder Joey Levy continues to be optimistic about the company’s future.

Betr recently announced it will be launching an online casino in Pennsylvania, and has obtained licenses to launch sports betting in Colorado and Kentucky.

State of the Market

As and when the departure of WynnBET and Betr is confirmed this week, there will be six operators remaining in the Massachusetts market.

That leaves eight positions to fill in what is looking like a lucrative market for the top players, but a challenging one for those at the bottom.

Sportsbooks can partner with Massachusetts casinos, horse race betting operations, or enter independently.

The MGC has been one of the more hands-on regulators since launching its market in March last year, not being afraid to take operators to task or introduce sometimes controversial new rules.

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