Business By The Books: Higher Wynn Sports Betting Expectations In MA

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WynnBET has not yet taken much of US sports betting market share, but Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings expects something different in Massachusetts.

“The most significant upcoming launch is Massachusetts, where obviously, we have Encore Boston Harbor, and I would hope and expect that we will have a reasonable market share because of that – the presence of that property as our competitors have in other markets,” Billings said on Wynn’s fourth-quarter earnings call Wednesday.

WynnBET is one of three in-person Massachusetts sportsbooks that opened Jan. 31 and has the benefit of being minutes from downtown Boston.

Massachusetts is considering a March 10 launch for mobile sports betting, which is four days before March Madness begins.

Growing business but being prudent

Wynn is driving the business the best it can while also being financially responsible, Billings said. He reminded listeners that the long-term strategy is to be focused on Massachusetts while positioning the brand to gain share in iGaming.

The Interactive segment could turn positive at some point later this year, but that depends on how much Wynn spends on user acquisition in Massachusetts, he added. The company notably pulled back on sports betting spend and reportedly explored a sale of that part of its business in 2021.

The cash burn is “really, really well under control” at this point, Billings said. Wynn reported an adjusted EBITDAR loss of $28.3 million in the fourth quarter, which was negatively impacted by a $12 million win by Mattress Mack on the Houston Astros. Without that impact, the loss would have been a slight improvement over the $17.7 million lost in the third quarter.

Still, fourth-quarter burn was better than last year. Wynn Interactive reported a negative adjusted EBITDAR of $79.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. For the full year, Wynn improved losses for the segment to $98.5 million compared to $267.4 million in 2021.

Wynn took most bets on day 1 in MA

Considering in-person Massachusetts sportsbooks opened at 10 am on a Tuesday, it is hard to extrapolate too much from one day of data. Still, Encore Boston Harbor and its WynnBET Sportsbook took the biggest share of the day’s $511,000 in handle.

Encore Boston Harbor took $371,000 in bets but lost $73,300 in revenue for a negative hold of 19.8%. PENN‘s Plainridge Park ranked second in handle with $82,800 and first in revenue with $58,800.

MGM Springfield and its BetMGM Sportsbook took $57,000 in bets and $12,300 in revenue.

The one day of in-person betting resulted in nearly $10,000 in taxes.

This week’s conference calls

There are four key calls for those interested in US sports betting this week (all times Eastern):

Genius, XFL partner to offer free sports betting game

The XFL signed an agreement with Genius Sports to bet its Official Betting Data Distribution Partner and free-to-play provider.

The two will launch the XFL Pick’Em game to drive engagement online.

The game will ask for predictions on upcoming games and offer free prop betting opportunities on games, players and teams with parlays available.

Sports betting ad spend falls in 2022

Data from major advertising agencies shows ad spending for online betting brands fell 8% in 2022, according to Standard Media Index.

That is compared to a 167% jump in 2021 over 2020. The pullback reflects the new sports betting environment where marketing is down and promotions are more rational as most companies eye digital profits in 2023.

Traditional TV spending accounted for 87.9% of ad spend, down from 89.3%. Digital grew 0.6 percentage points to 4.7%.

Will WV crack down on harassment?

A recent sports betting bill from West Virginia would give the West Virginia Lottery the authority to ban bettors over harassment.

HB 3310 from lead sponsor Del. Shawn Fluharty essentially just adds one sentence to the state’s sports wagering act, but that sentence does a lot of work:

A patron may be banned from sports betting pursuant to subsection (d) of this section if the commission determines that the patron has harassed or shown a harmful pattern of conduct directed at a sports official, coach or any participants of a sporting event.

The topic of banning bettors over bad behavior was most recently brought up in Ohio after University of Dayton‘s men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant spoke up about the issue. Ohio Casino Control Commission Executive Director Matt Schuler reminded the commission they can involuntary ban bettors.

NJ regulator to analyze sports betting player data for risk

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is working with its sports betting operators to identify and address at-risk bettors.

The plan has been in the works since March 2022 and went live Jan. 1. Operators now have to analyze player data to see if a bettor is showing signs of problem gambling.

The DGE is looking for specific warning signs:

The new initiative will include an automated outreach message first. The second step includes the bettor watching a video about responsible gambling and the resources available. If signs continue, an operator will speak directly with the bettor.

Vanguard raises DKNG stake in Q4

Institutional investor Vanguard now owns 35.3 million shares, or 7.86% of DraftKings, as of Dec. 30.

That is up from 34.6 million shares, or 7.72%, as of Sept. 29.

More Vanguard holdings as of Dec. 30 compared to holdings as of Sept. 29:

Playtech jumps into Ohio kiosk sports betting business

Playtech and Gold Rush Gaming began rolling out kiosks for Ohio sports betting Feb. 1.

The initial rollout of more than 50 locations was completed by the Super Bowl.

It is the first entry into US sports betting for Playtech, which has been in the US iGaming market for two years.