New Hampshire should enjoy the monopoly it has on northern New England sports betting while it lasts. Because it’s looking increasingly likely that Massachusetts will join the fray before the end of the year, and possibly as soon as this summer.
A sizable chunk of the near 30,000 users that have signed up with DraftKings Sportsbook in New Hampshire so far are Massachusetts residents that hopped over the border and bet on their phones.
Action in Mass
Massachusetts is pushing forward a bill that will legalize sports betting, though the Senate still has vote on it before its summer recess. It is no guarantee that the Senate will give the green light, though backers of the bill are optimistic that things will be up-and-running by the start of the 2020 NFL season in September.
“We didn’t rush this process. We took a very deliberative approach, recognizing that there were goals to this legislation and above all else was to protect the consumer and the taxpayer. We always said that we wanted to be in the black on this bill and not suffer losses like other states have done,” said House chair of the committee Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante to the State House News Service last week. “The second thing was that we wanted to make sure we put protections in for athletes and recognizing that bets are usually taken on horses and, in some states, dogs and other animals. With people, we really stepped back and said, ‘what provisions can we give the people who participate in these sports and especially for the college athletes?'”
NH took a different approach
New Hampshire is a bit of an anomaly in that one online sportsbook (DraftKings) was first to market. Elsewhere in the country, the majority of states that have legalized sports betting begin with several brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Those sportsbooks then link up with online providers like DraftKings or FanDuel.
Massachusetts looks like it will roll-out everything all at once, with up to five online sportsbooks available immediately. The Bay State also features large casinos like Encore Boston and MGM Springfield. Both locations are expected to feature sportsbooks as soon as state legislators give the thumbs up.
New Hampshire locations like Ocean Gambling Casino in Hampton, and The Brook in Seabrook are also currently pushing for sports betting to be allowed on their respective properties.
A numbers game
Massachusetts is by far the most populous state in New England, with 6.8 million residents. Connecticut is second with 3.5 million. Both New Hampshire and Maine have around 1.3 million residents. Rhode Island had 1.05 million people and Vermont has a population of around 624,000.
Massachusetts would obviously be the New England leader in sports betting handle, when and if it becomes legal.