Massachusetts wrapped up its first year of sports wagering in record-setting fashion after the state’s gaming commission reported all-time monthly highs for handle and gross revenue for December on Tuesday.

Sportsbooks in the Bay State accepted $658.7 million worth of wagers to close out 2023, an increase of $4.3 million from November’s short-lived standard of $654.4 million. Massachusetts had an overall handle of $4.97 billion for the year, falling short of $5 billion due only because betting apps were not available until right before the NCAA Tournament in March.

Operators completed the double of monthly record totals with $62.2 million in gross revenue, an increase of $88,666 on May’s previous high. It was the third time Massachusetts sportsbooks topped $60 million in revenue, as the three retail venues and eight digital apps combined for close to $483.7 million for the full year.

The hold landed at 9.4% for December, just off the year’s mark of 9.7%. The state was able to tax $60.6 million in adjusted gross revenue, resulting in a windfall of $12 million-plus into state coffers. The 15% tax on retail operator revenue and 20% levy on mobile operator winnings generated $93.9 million in state taxes, well above the initial annual estimate of $60 million that lawmakers offered during the path to legalization.

ESPN BET makes strides in first full month

While Massachusetts is DraftKings‘ playground — the mobile juggernaut led the eight mobile operators with $315.9 million handle in its home state — ESPN BET solidified its third-place standing in its first full month of action. Handle cycled 27.9% higher to $50 million, and its market share of mobile handle improved from 6.1% to 7.8%.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission does not disclose the amount of promotional credits and bonuses offered by operators since they cannot be deducted from gross revenue for tax purposes, but ESPN BET’s month-over-month handle increase in terms of percentage was nearly identical to Maryland. The $42.4 million worth of accepted wagers there was up 27.3% from November, while promotional outlay shrunk 55% to $5.8 million.

The PENN Entertainment-powered sportsbook had a solid hold of 8.4% to claim $4.2 million in revenue, but that was down 27.6% from November, as the win rate that month was just shy of 14.9%. The $89.1 million handle for the final two months of 2023 represented 38.6% of the $230.6 million in accepted wagers, while the $10 million in revenue was 47.2% of the $21.2 million in winnings from PENN’s sportsbooks.

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DraftKings’ outsized lead in handle allowed it to top $30 million in revenue for the second time in 2023, reaching $30.7 million on the strength of a 9.7% win rate. That was just above its 2023 hold of 9.66%, which helped it post $237.5 million in revenue from $2.46 billion handle.

FanDuel had its best month in terms of handle at $187.4 million, while it missed out on a third month with $20 million revenue by just over $200,000. It finished $106,000 shy of $150 million in winnings in its first year while crafting a 10.7% win rate on $1.4 billion worth of bets placed.

The gap between ESPN BET and BetMGM for third lengthened from close to $150,000 in November to $10.8 million in December, as the latter’s handle only inched higher to $39.2 million. After opening business with eight consecutive months of near-11% holds or better, the public again held BetMGM in check in December by pegging it to an 8.1% win rate.

BetMGM claimed $3.2 million in revenue in December, while its 2023 hold of 12% was tops among mobile books. Fanatics’ win rate jumped by more than 2.3 percentage points to 7%, which provided a bounce of 30% in revenue to nearly $950,000 despite a 13.7% dip in wagers.

Betr, meanwhile, leveraged co-founder Jake Paul’s first-round knockout of Andre August in mid-December to post its biggest month of action since launching in May. The platform best known for microbetting finished $1,103 shy of $500,000 handle, and its $39,000-plus revenue trailed only its $45,623 accrued in May.

Retail books close 2023 on positive note

The Bay State’s three brick-and-mortar venues combined to claim $1.3 million from $15.5 million handle. The 8.6% hold was more than two percentage points above the full-year win rate of 6.5%, as the trio had a narrow band ranging from 6% at Encore Boston Harbor to 7.2% at Plainridge Park

Plainridge Park shook off a rough November to lead the group in revenue at more than $552,000, crafting a 7.6% hold against $7.2 million in wagers. MGM Springfield made the most of its sub-$2 million handle, as its 13.8% win rate resulted in more than $264,000 in winnings.

Encore’s 8.1% hold and $515,360 in December winnings was just enough to push its 2023 win rate to 6%, as it led the three venues in handle at close to $85.1 million.



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