Will Massachusetts NFL Sports Betting be Bigger than in New York? | Inquirer

Will Massachusetts NFL Sports Betting be Bigger than in New York?

/ 01:06 AM September 15, 2023

It can’t have escaped the notice of most people that sports betting is enjoying something of a moment across the US.

Massachusetts NFL Sports Betting be Bigger than in New York

More and more states are legalizing the activity following the US Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to overturn the long-standing federal law forbidding the activity. A number of states, led by New Jersey, were the catalysts for the change which was opposed by all of the major sport leagues including the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Ironically, it’s these self-same leagues and the teams that they represent that are now benefiting hugely from the tie-ups being made with leading sportsbooks all across the country.

Many of the states who introduced the legislation began relatively cautiously, only allowing sportsbooks to operate through licensed casinos. But the rules are gradually being loosened with more and more now allowing online betting too. This is especially useful for fans who can now bet on their way to a game, at the event itself or even if they’re watching at home.

Legalization for New York and Massachusetts

Although neither state was among the first tranche to allow sports betting following the landmark ruling, New York and Massachusetts weren’t far behind.

In the case of New York, the first sportsbooks that players could use in person started to appear in July 2019, in plenty of time for fans to prepare for the NFL 2019-2020 season.

Early in 2021 a motion to permit online sportsbook betting was included in the annual budget bill. This passed into law having been signed off by Governor Andrew Cuomo in April of the same year with the first licences being granted for operation in January 2022.

On the other hand, Massachusetts was a little slower out of the blocks than New York. The first legislation was tabled in Spring 2022 and only became law in August of that year. It wasn’t until January 2023 that the very first “brick and mortar” sports betting operations first opened their doors. The addition of online activity was relatively soon after that, arriving in March of this year.

The story so far

Legalization for New York and Massachusetts

January 8th, 2023, saw the end of the first year of sports betting in New York State. It would be fair to say that the results have far exceeded even the most optimistic predictions.

The headline news is that in the first year of existence the Empire State set a new benchmark against which all sports betting revenues must now be measured.

At $16.2 billion it massively outstripped the previous record of $10.9 billion which the neighbouring state of New Jersey had set in 2021. What makes this all the more remarkable is that New York achieved this through its nine licenced sportsbooks while New Jersey boasts no less than 25 of them.

For ten consecutive months the figure exceeded $1 billion with December being the most successful four-week period nothing up a staggering $1.62 billion in wagers.

It’s not just the sportsbooks who are celebrating this phenomenal success, the state government is too. From a gross gambling yield of £1.36 billion this generated well over $693 million in tax receipts. Considering that Governor Cuomo had confidently predicted a figure of $500 million this provided a very welcome and unexpected bonus.

Much of the focus of New York betting in its initial year had been on the NFL. With both the Giants and the Jets there’s no shortage of fans in the 19 million population.

Bus as any follower of football will know, neither team had a very distinguished season over 2022-23, falling by quite a considerable margin to get anywhere near the playoffs.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether this has an effect on the amount of money wagered in the state on its two teams over 2023-24. However, the signs are that activity on certain New York sports betting apps for NFL action this season might not be as intense.

Even so, it will be quite a stretch for Massachusetts to mount a significant challenge to the New York figures.

Early days for the Bay State

No-one could deny that at the moment the Bay State is still dipping its toe in the waters of sports betting.

Estimates suggest that when the market matures it will be worth somewhere in the region of $5.7 billion a year. At current standings this would make it number eight in the list of sports betting markets with some way to go before it becomes a contender against New York.

In terms of what could have a boosting effect, all eyes could be on the New England Patriots. If their draft rookies and other more experienced players enjoy a great season, the bets could start rolling in.

And, while It may still not be quite up to Big Apple levels, it could still account for a very considerable chunk of revenue.

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TAGS: gp, NFL, sports
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