Legal Sports Report

Will NH Sports Betting Play Chicken With Rhode Island On Boston Market?

NH sports betting

With New Hampshire sports betting now online through DraftKings Sportsbook, which New England state will best tap into the Massachusetts market?

Previously, Rhode Island was the only state close enough for Massachusetts residents, especially those in Boston.

DraftKings officially went live with NH sports betting last Monday. Even with little public information available, it looks like New Hampshire could win the battle for Boston’s bettors.

NH sports betting signups start fast

Pent-up demand for sports betting in New Hampshire appears to be very high.

DraftKings Sportsbook registered more than 6,000 players on the first day of NH sports betting. They all combined to bet more than $250,000, a significant amount for a Monday without an NFL game.

That demand did not slow in the first full week of wagering:

https://twitter.com/GovChrisSununu/status/1214580521214337029

Many of those bets likely went on now-dead futures wagers for the New England Patriots, just like Gov. Chris Sununu‘s ceremonial first bet. He bet $82 – he’s the 82nd governor of the Granite State – on the Patriots to win this year’s Super Bowl.

It was the last step for Sununu and New Hampshire to maintain his earlier word that he’d place a bet on the Patriots in his state before season’s end. At that time, regulators hadn’t even decided on what company would be getting a New Hampshire sports betting contract.

DraftKings wound up winning exclusive mobile and retail rights outside of the lottery’s smaller offering through Intralot.

MA players ‘significant’

The New Hampshire Lottery didn’t break out specifically how many of those accounts were from out of state, but the total from Massachusetts was “significant,” according to The Associated Press.

Overall, the first day’s results are very promising, lottery reps added.

It seems natural that Boston-based DraftKings would seek the more than 4.5 million people in the metro area. Not only is it DraftKings’ backyard, but it’s also more than three times larger than New Hampshire’s 1.4 million population.

Rhode Island not out yet

Just because NH sports betting got off to a quick start doesn’t mean Rhode Island is throwing in the towel.

The Rhode Island Lottery launched its mobile sports betting product through IGT and William Hill at the beginning of the NFL season.

Account registrations have been slow to grow, however, because of Rhode Island’s in-person registration requirement. As of Dec. 2, Rhode Island had fewer than 8,000 people complete the registration process at one of Twin River‘s two casinos.

That pace could grow if a new trial program currently being tested by Twin River succeeds. Potentially ready within the next week, the unidentified program was developed as the next evolution of the RI sports betting product to get more activations completed, a Twin River spokesperson said.

The spokesperson did not provide additional details about how the program would function, but said it was not designed in response to New Hampshire.

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- Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.
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