Mass. online sports betting posts impressive numbers for first month

It appears online/mobile sports betting will be a clear favorite moving forward for gambling in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission released its March 2023 casino and sports wagering revenue report on Tuesday. The report provides the first look at the state’s new online sports betting market that was launched in March.

Online sports operators handled $548.1 million in total bets for the first month of action in Massachusetts leading up to the NCAA basketball tournament. Add $19.9 million from sports betting at the state’s three casinos and you get a total of $568 million for the month.

Massachusetts launched retail sports betting at its three casinos on Jan. 31, followed by MA online sports wagering starting March 10.

Retail Sports Wagering Drops

Sports wagering at Plainridge Park Casino (PPC), MGM Springfield (MGM) and Encore Boston Harbor (EBH) are considered Category 1 Sports Wagering Operators, which allows them to operate a retail sportsbook at their respective property. Category 1 operators pay 15% in taxes to the state from their winnings.

Those three locations generated a total handle of $25.7 million in February but dropped to $19.9 million in March with the launch of online sports wagering, known as Category 3 Sports Wagering Operators.

For March, Encore Boston Harbor recorded the biggest handle at $13.4 million in sports bets, while MGM Springfield had the lowest handle at $1.6 million.

All three locations combined contributed $218,295.96 in taxes to the state.

Online Sports Wagering Post Big Numbers

Six online sports wagering operators are live in Massachusetts right now: Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM MA, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and WynnBet. These companies are licensed as Category 3 Sports Wagering Operators, which allows them to operate a mobile or online sportsbook. Category 3 operators are taxed at a rate of 20%.

Boston-based DraftKings Massachusetts recorded the biggest handle for online sports betting in the Bay State, coming in at $257.6 million.

Caesars Sportsbook recorded the lowest handle at $16.3 million.

Combined, the six online operators paid $9.1 million to the state in taxes. Add in the retail side and the total collected is $9.3 million.

“We had projections initially for $50 million to $60 million for the year,” Massachusetts state Senator John Velis (D – Hampden and Hampshire) said during an interview with Western Mass News. “So, $9.3 million for one month, that’s impressive. That is beyond projections. I will say it’s early, so it’s the first month, people are excited.”

Velis added that revenue collected by the state will go towards roads, general funds, workforce development, and education, all the things the commonwealth needs money for. “That’s where this stuff is gonna go,” Velis added.

In addition, the three casinos in Massachusetts generated a total of $104.5 million in Gross Gaming Revenue from slot machines and table games. The three brick-and-mortar locations are the main locations in the state where the public can legally play slots and table games since there are no online casinos in Massachusetts.

For a grand total, approximately $38.8 million in taxes was collected from casino gaming, retail sports betting, and online sports wagering in March.

Of the total taxed amount for all operators, 45% is allotted to the General Fund, 17.5% to the Workforce Investment Trust Fund, 27.5% to the Gaming Local Aid Fund, 1% to the Youth Development and Achievement Fund, and 9% to the Public Health Trust Fund.

To date, Massachusetts has collected approximately $9.65 million in total taxes and assessments from the sports wagering operations of licensed operators since sports wagering began in January.

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Political Editor

Keith Stein is a freelance journalist based in Virginia. He has experience in freelance writing, full-time journalism and supporting monthly and weekly news publications. He has also worked as a contributing writer with United Press International.