Are Massachusetts Sports Bettors Actually Leaving The State To Bet?

Written By Jason Schaumburg on June 7, 2022
Sports betting neighbor states

Whether Massachusetts has missed out on revenue by sitting on the sports betting sidelines is a certainty. But how much business neighboring states have gained as a result is up for debate.

Massachusetts bettors undoubtedly have crossed state lines to wager on sports while state lawmakers continue working on a Massachusetts sports betting bill. Available data suggests geography and big events largely define where and when Bay Staters cross state lines to place a bet.

Four of the Bay State’s five neighbors have legal sports gambling within their borders. Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island allow for betting on sports in retail and online. Vermont remains the lone holdout among the states that Massachusetts shares a border.

Follow the people to follow the money

Play MA reached out to the 10 operators that offer mobile sports betting in Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. Eight of those operators either declined to participate in this story or said they did not have data to show how many Massachusetts residents placed bets across state lines.

One only needs to look at the commonwealth’s population center to decipher where the masses in Massachusetts have the easiest access to legal sports betting.

Nearly 772,000 people live in Boston and Cambridge, representing 11% of Massachusetts’ population (6.985 million), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. From downtown Boston to the New Hampshire border is less than an hour’s drive. The more north you live from downtown Boston, the shorter the drive.

Such close proximity to the New Hampshire betting market gives diehard sports fans in the Boston area easy access to legal sports betting, especially for big events.

Bay Staters betting in New Hampshire

Boston-based DraftKings, which offers legal sports betting in New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire, said Massachusetts bettors have accounted for 35% of all Celtics bets in New Hampshire as the team has made its playoff run to the NBA Finals.

Bay State bettors also accounted for 28% of DraftKings’ New Hampshire handle for March Madness and the Super Bowl. DraftKings is the state’s only mobile operator. It also operates the state’s three retail sportsbooks.

Based on data reported by New Hampshire, $7.7 million was wagered on the Super Bowl in the Granite State. That translates to $2.156 million in wagers placed by Massachusetts residents in New Hampshire.

March Madness brought in nearly $23 million in wagers in New Hampshire, the state announced. That would result in $6.4 million in bets placed by Massachusetts residents.

A New York-New Jersey scenario?

Much of the speculation before New York launched mobile sports betting in January was how Empire State bettors propped up the New Jersey sports betting market.

It was estimated New York bettors represented 18.3% of New Jersey’s record $4.58 billion handle in 2019, Legal Sports Report reported. New Jersey’s handle has continued to grow, however, even after New York’s mobile launch.

In April, the Garden State’s sportsbooks handle was $926.9 million. That was nearly a 24% increase from April 2021, when New York was not legal.

GeoComply, a geolocation solutions company that works with a number of gambling operators, told Politico only 9% of New York players had placed bets in New Jersey.

It’s likely estimates about New Yorkers heading to the Garden State to bet were overstatements. The same seems like a possibility in Massachusetts.

FanDuel, which operates legal mobile sports betting in New York and Connecticut, told Play MA it doesn’t see large groups of Massachusetts bettors in either state.

From April 25 to May 25, GeoComply told Play MA it saw “really small” transaction and user numbers in Connecticut within 5 miles of the Massachusetts border and found “nothing compelling” when it examined locations such as gas stations or rest stops located after the first exit when leaving Massachusetts.

How are neighboring states faring?

Legal sports betting in states that share a border with Massachusetts dates back to 2018. Here’s a closer look at sports betting in the four neighboring states where betting is legal:

  Connecticut New Hampshire New York Rhode Island
Launch date Sept. 30, 2021 (retail); Oct. 12, 2021 (online) Dec. 30, 2019 (online); Aug. 12, 2020 (retail) July 16, 2019 (land based); Jan. 8, 2022 (online) Nov. 26, 2018 (retail); Sept. 4, 2019 (online)
Tax rate 13.75% on all sports gambling revenue 51% online and 50% retail 51% online and 10% land based 51% on all sports gambling revenue
All-time handle $867.4 million through April $1.2 billion through March $6.6 billion through April $1.1 billion through March
All-time revenue $65.4 million through April $81.8 million through March $65.9 million through April $94.8 million through March
All-time taxes $5.7 million through April $37.9 million through March $220.5 million through April $48.3 million through March


  • License fees: Initial and annual license fee for online operators is $250,000 and $100,000, respectively, and $20,000 each for lottery retailers
  • College betting: Yes, excluding in-state colleges
  • Retail sportsbooks: Six (Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in Windsor Locks, Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in Stamford, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mohegan Sun, Shea’s Pizzeria and Sports Bar and Sports Haven)
  • Online operators: DraftKings, FanDuel and PlaySugarHouse
  • Where does state money go? Lottery operations and the General Fund, with an exception for payments to the Connecticut Teachers’ Retirement Fund Bonds Special Capital Reserve Fund

New Hampshire

  • License fees: None
  • College betting? Yes, excluding in-state colleges and events
  • Retail sportsbooks: Three (DraftKings Sportsbook at The Brook, DraftKings Sportsbook at Manchester and DraftKings Sportsbook at Filotimo Casino)
  • Online operator: DraftKings
  • Where does state money go? Education programming

New York

  • License fees: None for land-based; one-time $25 million for online
  • College betting? Yes, excluding in-state colleges and events
  • Retail sportsbooks: 11 (Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady, Tioga Downs Casino Resort, Point Place Casino, Turning Stone Resort Casino, Yellow Brick Road Casino, Del Lago Resort & Casino, Resorts World Catskills, Akwesasne Mohawk Casino, Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino and Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel)
  • Online operators: BetRivers, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, Resorts WorldBET and WynnBett
  • Where does state money go? Education programs, local municipal and county governments and property tax relief

Rhode Island

  • License fees: None
  • College betting? Yes, excluding in-state colleges and events
  • Retail sportsbooks: Two (Twin River Lincoln Casino and Twin River Tiverton Casino)
  • Online operator: Sportsbook Rhode Island
  • Where does state money go? General Fund

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Jason Schaumburg

Jason Schaumburg is the managing editor of He has more than 20 years of journalism experience and spent nearly four years as communications director at the Illinois Lottery.

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