Why Caesars Finishing Last In Massachusetts Is — And Isn’t — Surprising
Caesars Sportsbook reported just $16.4 million in handle in the first month of Massachusetts online sports betting, which equates to 3% of the market share. That’s sixth place — last place — out of the six apps.
For comparison, the top dog, DraftKings Massachusetts, reported $257.6 million in total handle for 47% of the market.
These numbers indicate that Caesars has gotten off to a rough start in Massachusetts sports betting. For a company that’s assumed the No. 4 spot in the US sports betting market, this March performance is disappointing.
However, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
Caesars has slow start in Massachusetts
On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission released online sports betting handle and revenue for March 10-31.
The six MA online sportsbooks reported a total of $548.1 million in betting handle. Caesars finished sixth out of six in both handle and revenue.
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In addition to mobile betting, Caesars has an in-state partnership with the simulcast center Raynham Park, where there are plans for a retail Caesars Sportsbook. The facility is on its way to becoming one of the biggest retail sportsbooks not only in Massachusetts, but nationwide.
Conservative marketing budget
That brick-and-mortar presence will only help Caesars’ overall visibility in Massachusetts.
However, the company has so far been very conservative in its marketing spend in the Bay State. Recent Celtics and Bruins broadcasts have featured a litany of sportsbook ads — but mostly from DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM. Not Caesars.
Heck, Betway — which won’t launch in Massachusetts until January 2024 — even got more screen time than Caesars.
Shrinking welcome promo offer
Caesars may have hoped its lucrative MA sportsbook welcome offer of up to $1,500 in bonus bets — the highest value in the state — would compensate for its lack of ad spend. It didn’t, and that welcome promo has shrunk to $1,250 in bonus bets.
Outside of the Commonwealth, Caesars also had a relatively disappointing February in Ohio, which launched online sports betting in January. There, Caesars took in $31.5 million in handle for 2.9% of the market share in the first month. That was good for fifth place, just ahead of Barstool Sportsbook but behind bet365.
Other sportsbooks outperform expectations
Most industry experts expected DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM to be the top three platforms in Massachusetts.
That is exactly what happened.
Even seeing Caesars dip below Barstool Sportsbook, a Massachusetts brand, wasn’t jaw-dropping.
But dropping below WynnBET, which owns less than 1% of the US sports betting market share? That was eye-opening.
Barstool Sportsbook took fourth place in the first revenue report. The platform reported $29.5 million in handle and 5.4% of the market share.
WynnBET came in fifth place, reporting $18.2 million in handle (3.3% of the market). There is a retail WynnBET Sportsbook at Encore Boston Harbor, which is the state’s most popular casino. That retail presence most likely helped WynnBET’s numbers in the first month.
What does this all mean?
Here are some thing to look for moving forward:
- Will Caesars alter its welcome promo in Massachusetts?
- Will Caesars devote more advertising money to Massachusetts?
- Is Caesars, overall, shifting more focus to its online casino product and, thus, letting its sportsbook fall behind?
Although the March numbers revealed a lot, they still don’t represent a full month. The MGC will release April online sports betting numbers on May 15. Let’s see where Caesars ranks during a more regular month of sports betting, compared to the sign-up frenzy of a launch month.