May Numbers Suggest Plenty Leaving MA For Legal Sports Betting

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MA sports betting

There is about a month left for legislators to find middle ground on a bill that would legalize MA sports betting.

According to monthly sports betting reports, bettors in Massachusetts are not waiting idly – they are taking their dollars out of state.

Data from Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island bucked the monthly trend of double-digit handle declines across US sports betting, likely from the Boston Celtics‘ run in the NBA Playoffs.

Whether these bettors must continue to travel next year is unclear, as there has been no update on negotiations. Legislators have until July 31 to pass a bill legalizing Massachusetts sportsbooks.

MA sports betting dollars leaving the state

As of Tuesday morning, 17 states reported their sports betting revenue and handle data for May.

Handle on average fell 11.8% compared to April. That is not a surprise, as sports betting naturally slows down as the sports calendar thins out in summer.

That is not what happened around Massachusetts in terms of handle, though:

DraftKings data shows MA bettor interest

DraftKings operates sports betting in New Hampshire under a monopoly and has seen plenty of business from Massachusetts in recent months.

Residents of Massachusetts accounted for 35% of all Celtics playoff handle this postseason, a DraftKings spokesperson confirmed to LSR.

It is not just local teams but also big events drawing bettors into New Hampshire. MA residents placed 28% of all Super Bowl bets in the state and accounted for 28% of all college basketball handle from March Madness betting.

DraftKings did not break out specific data for CT sports betting, where it is one of three operators along with FanDuel and PlaySugarHouse. The impact from Massachusetts on CT is “not insignificant,” the spokesperson said.

Poll: plurality wants legal sports betting

A new poll from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and local TV outlet WCVB found 42% of 1,000 respondents support legalizing sports betting.

Only 25% said they are opposed to legal betting. That leaves 33% unsure. That would be worrisome for supporters if the decision came down to voters like it will in California, but the legislature has the final say in Massachusetts.

Interestingly, respondents did not show much appetite for actually betting on sports. Only 26% said they would probably or definitely take part in NFL betting. Other pro and college sports saw interest range from 16% to 21%.

Of course, there is no guarantee legal MA sports betting will include college sports. The Senate’s total ban on college betting is one of the multiple areas that need to be negotiated.