Massachusetts Sportsbooks Post Record Numbers in December

Posted on: January 18, 2024, 10:50h. 

Last updated on: January 18, 2024, 11:31h.

The chill of winter hasn’t dampened the hot Massachusetts sports betting market. Although it is a very short history, Massachusetts sportsbooks recorded their highest handle ever in December.

The sportsbook at Encore Boston Harbor
The sportsbook at Encore Boston Harbor helped drive record sports betting handle last month in Massachusetts. (Image: CBS Boston)

The December revenue report from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) shows Bay State sports bettors wagered $658.6 million with online and retail operators. That’s a record number since online sports betting launched in the Bay State in March 2023, and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks began operations in January.

Not even the disappointing 4-13 Patriots record could slow the momentum. Operators generated $60.5 million in taxable sports wagering revenue out of the December handle. The state received $12 million in sports betting tax payments.

Since the launch of legal sports wagering, Massachusetts online and retail sportsbooks handled just under $4.9 billion in bets. Taxable sports betting revenue totaled $471.1 million, and operators paid about $93.8 million to the state.

Casinos Second-Highest Revenue Total

Massachusetts casinos closed out 2023 with a strong showing. The state’s three brick-and-mortar casinos combined for $103 million in wins from bettors. That is the second-highest monthly revenue total of 2023.

The three locations, including Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino, generated more than $29 million in tax revenue for the Commonwealth in December. It is believed online casinos could generate much more tax revenue, but online casinos aren’t legal in Massachusetts.

The momentum of casinos and sportsbooks has attracted attention from legislators on Beacon Hill and from the governor.

Gaming Revenue Helps Fill Budget Gap

The expansion of gambling in Massachusetts has opened up a new revenue stream for Governor Maura Healey (D). Healey, a one-time opponent of casinos, is now planning to close a $1 billion budget shortfall with gaming revenues.

Since casino-style gaming began in Massachusetts in 2015, the state has brought in $1.623 billion in taxes and assessments from casino operations.

In FY 2023, total gaming revenues were about $330.7 million. That’s up from about $310 million in FY 2002 and $233.1 million in FY 2021, according to the state. Add that to the $93.8 million in the year since legal sports betting began, and the outlook appears bright.

The Healey administration says it expected net profit from the lottery of around $1.2 billion, and has since added another $75 million to the expectation.