WynnBET Leaving Massachusetts, Death Possible for Sports Bet App

Posted on: January 30, 2024, 02:12h. 

Last updated on: February 3, 2024, 12:46h.

Wynn Resorts’ (NASDAQ: WYNN) WynnBET is slated to exit Massachusetts, the latest sign the sports wagering mobile application could be dying a slow death.

Encore Boston Harbor and the WynnBet logo. The operator is leaving the Massachusetts online sports betting market. (Image: Casino.org)

An agenda for Thursday’s Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) meeting indicates WynnBET plans to ask the commission for permission to halt its online sports wagering activities in the state.

WynnBET Notice of Intent to Cease Operations pursuant to 205 CMR 258, including Request for Approval of Cessation Plan and Request for Waiver from 205 CMR 258.01(1),” according to the MGC agenda for the February 1 meeting.

The MGC will also consider a similar request on the same day from sports wagering startup Betr, the sports betting company cofounded by Joey Levy and Jake Paul.

WynnBET Could Be on Borrowed Time

News of WynnBET’s departure from Massachusetts arrived about six months after the operator said it was working with regulators in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

At that time, parent Wynn Resorts said it would focus WynnBET operations on the states where it runs land-based casinos, meaning Massachusetts and Nevada. However, market conditions change, and while WynnBET was the first online sportsbook approved in Massachusetts and Encore Boston Harbor is thriving, neither factor appears to be enough to keep WynnBET alive in the state.

In announcing the eight-state departure last August, Wynn added that WynnBET operations in Michigan and New York are also under review. With Massachusetts nearly removed from the gaming company’s online sports betting roster, Michigan could be next. That’s because there is no chance Wynn will ever run a land-based casino there.

New York could be a different situation because the Las Vegas-based gaming company is a viable contender to win one of three downstate casino permits in the fourth-largest state. But even that might not be enough to keep WynnBET alive there. In Massachusetts, retail sports betting will remain available at Encore Boston Harbor’s brick-and-mortar book.

Things Weren’t Supposed to Be This Way

To its credit, and perhaps to its detriment, Wynn long signaled that it wouldn’t engage in a cash “arms race” to acquire sports betting customers. As a result, the operator prudently conserved capital. But WynnBET also struggled to gain adequate market share in any of the states it operated.

There was a time when the internet gaming company had attractive prospects. In May 2021, it was revealed Wynn Interactive would merge with a blank-check company in a deal valuing the online betting entity at $3.2 billion. But that transaction collapsed in November of that year.

In early 2022, rumors surfaced that Wynn was shopping its digital betting unit at $500 million, but no deal materialized. Now, it appears WynnBET is on its last legs, and there will be no compensation for the parent company.