How Boston Sports Betting Will Compare To Other Markets

Written By Chris Gerlacher on December 7, 2022
Skyline of Boston MA For Future Sports Betting In MA Governor

When Massachusetts sports betting launches, Boston will be a major sports betting market. Boston is home to major sports teams including the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins. Passionate fans of those teams are prime targets for sportsbook advertising. While states don’t break sports betting levels down by city, it’s reasonable to conclude that Boston will have many enthusiastic sports bettors among its rabid sports fans.  

In states that have legalized sports betting, stadiums in major cities have become hubs of sports betting activity. GeoComply found that NFL stadiums are among the highest-volume login locations for online sportsbooks. For example, at the Cardinals/Chiefs game earlier this year, GeoComply recorded 66,100 sportsbook logins at State Farm Stadium. 

Legal sports betting is a popular social activity at stadiums, so these locations will see particularly high betting activity during games. So, Fenway Park and TD Garden are expected to become betting hubs, too. 

Massachusetts And Boston Sports Betting 

Boston’s sports betting revenue will be tied to the sports betting policies that Massachusetts puts in place. Along with retail betting at Massachusetts casinos, the state will allow online sports betting, so betting will be convenient for users.  

However, bettors will still visit games where they’ll be exposed to bonus ads in the stadiums. The time limit on these bonuses will attract experienced bettors who want to take advantage of those bonuses and new bettors who want to try sports betting for the first time.  

GeoComply ranked the stadium check-ins from the first two weeks of the NFL season earlier this fall. Its top five stadiums for GeoComply volumes were: 

  • Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, PA
  • State Farm Stadium – Glendale, AZ
  • Ford Field – Detroit, MI
  • MetLife Stadium – E. Rutherford, NJ  
  • Acrisure Stadium – Pittsburgh, PA 

Two games at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey saw the fourth and fifth highest geolocation volumes in the first two weeks of the NFL season.

The bottom of the chart included stadiums in Denver, Nashville, Buffalo, Chicago, and New Orleans. These are other cities with major sports franchises. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Boston in a top ten list of sportsbook logins in a future list. However, Boston’s sports betting activity will depend on Massachusetts’ enthusiasm for sports betting. 

Also read: Will Any Of The 15 MA Sports Betting License Applications Be Rejected

Sports Betting In Massachusetts

Massachusetts sportsbooks have a lot going for them. Sportsbooks only have a 15% tax rate, which is well below the 51% tax rate that New York and Rhode Island tax their sportsbooks. State Senator Eric Lessor estimates annual tax revenue in Massachusetts could be $60 million per year. 

That estimate is probably a little high. Indiana has a similar population as Massachusetts, and Indiana has a thriving sports betting industry. In FY 2022, Indiana generated $31.2 million in tax revenue from $4.5 billion in handle. Indiana taxes its sportsbooks at 9.2%, so its tax revenue is expected to be lower than in Massachusetts. 

In FY 2022, Indiana’s taxable sports betting revenue was $328 million. ($31.2 million is 9.2% of $328 million.) $328 million is also 7.3% of $4.5 billion, almost exactly the national average sportsbook hold. 

Working from State Senator Lessor’s $60 million estimate, Massachusetts would need higher betting activity than Indiana, one of the most lucrative sports betting industries outside of the northeast. For $60 million in tax revenue with a 15% tax rate and a 7.2% hold, Massachusetts sportsbooks would have to generate $5.3 billion in handle.     

If Indiana taxed its taxable sportsbook revenue at Massachusetts’ tax rate, its sports betting tax revenue would’ve been just under $50 million. So it makes sense to revise tax estimates downward. $45-50 million is probably a better estimate of Massachusetts sports betting tax revenue than $60 million.

Massachusetts will still be a large and active sports betting market. So, the city of Boston is expected to be as well. But unless there’s something about the northeastern United States that increases participation in sports betting, it’ll be hard for Massachusetts to eclipse Indiana’s sports betting handle.  

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Chris Gerlacher

Christopher Gerlacher is a lead writer for Play MA. He is a versatile, experienced writer with a portfolio that ranges from political and legislative pieces to sports and sports betting. Gerlacher is a devout Broncos fan, for better or for worse, living in the foothills of Arvada, CO.

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