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Massachusetts’ November revenue – are we seeing ESPN Bet’s first surge?

| By iGB Editorial Team
Massachusetts’ gaming revenue dropped during November despite seeing its monthly sports betting handle record smashed. More interesting, however, was Penn Interactive's surge in wagers.

Casino takings were pretty much flat compared to the previous month according to figures released by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. However, a good month for punters saw sports betting accrual win drop by $10m compared to October.

Total taxable gaming revenue of $143.0m for all casino and sports betting was down by 7.7% compared to the $155.8m generated in the previous month.

Total sports betting revenue hit by low hold rate

In reviewing aggregated sports betting performance, Massachusetts’ eight mobile and online sports wagering licensees and the three in-person licensees generated accrual win of $50.6m.

Some $654.4m was wagered by sports bettors during November, which was up almost 15% on the $571.8m spent in October. It was 12% greater than the previous best month for Massachusetts betting, which was $579.3m in April 2023.

Despite the spike in handle, win was actually down by more than 16% compared to the previous month. In a good month for punters, revenue hold in November was just 7.72% compared to a figure of 10.5% in October. May’s record handle for Massachusetts was accompanied by record win of $61.0m.

DraftKings again broke the state’s monthly handle record during November as players put down $320.0m. The business had broken the previous record with $304.8m in October. However, in a trend seen throughout the Massachusetts betting market, revenue fell from $34.3m to $27.2m.

FanDuel’s handle of $181.5m made for its best month yet in Massachusetts. However, hold rate of just 6.9% meant win was just $12.6m.

ESPN Bet – behind Penn Interactive’s surge?

Most interesting was Penn Interactive’s increase in wagers. While October saw only $13.9m in wagers for October, with a revenue hold of 10.65%, November seems to have changed the picture completely.

Just one month later, Penn Interactive handled $39.1m in wagers. This was an increase of close to $16m and taxable gaming revenue of $5.7m. Its revenue hold also jumped to 14.86%, the highest in Massachusetts.

ESPN Bet is the product of Penn’s $1.5bn (£1.2bn/€1.4bn) partnership with Disney-owned ESPN, the largest sports media brand in the US.

ESPN Bet has certainly made a splash since launching across 17 states in November during the middle of last month.

The app was downloaded over a million times over the first six days after launch, and DraftKings’ CEO Jason Robins conceded he was “keeping a close eye” on ESPN Bet’s progress.

Having fallen way behind the likes of Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM in October, only DraftKings and FanDuel bettered Penn in November for total wagers settled.

Whether it can maintain that growth remains to be seen, but the early signs are no doubt positive.

Massachusetts casinos make $94.0m

With casino meanwhile, the state’s three casinos generated approximately $94.0m in gross gaming revenue (GGR) during November. Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor made $32.1m from table games and $62.0m from slots.

The figure was down slightly on the $96.7m collected in October, although November is a shorter month.

Encore Boston Harbor accounted for $61.4m of the state’s casino GGR, which was down slightly on the $62.4m from October. The figure was up slightly on the $59.4m made in November 2022.

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