Could legal sports betting in Mass. take a bite out of NH revenue?

Apr. 29—The Massachusetts state legislature took another step toward legalizing sports betting this week, raising questions about what will happen when Bay Staters no longer have to cross the New Hampshire state line to place a bet.

Since sports betting was legalized in New Hampshire in 2019, Massachusetts gamblers have accounted for about 15% of mobile bets, according to the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, generating between $2 million and $3 million in state revenue in 2020 and 2021.

Gambling revenue, which helps fund state education aid, has not been steady

The state's three in-person sports books do not track the residency of gamblers, but Dick Anagnost, owner of the Filotimo Casino in Manchester, said the sports book there has only a handful of Massachusetts regulars.

"Our impact from Massachusetts is going to be minimal," he said. But he wondered if the Seabrook book, less than 10 minutes from the state line, will be more affected.

The state lottery director, Charlie McIntyre, did not express concern for losing revenue from Massachusetts gamblers.

"We're not surprised other states would look to replicate our success," McIntyre said in a statement.

Since New Hampshire legalized sports betting, New York and Connecticut have followed.

Sports betting could also be moving ahead in Maine, with a bill awaiting Gov. Janet Mills' signature or veto.

Massachusetts gamblers might still have to come to New Hampshire to make some bets.

The Massachusetts state Senate's bill would not allow for betting on college sports — and this year's NCAA basketball tournament was a big draw for New Hampshire's sportsbooks. The tournament attracted 300,000 bets, totaling $23 million.

Big events, like this year's Super Bowl, have drawn in even more Massachusetts dollars: DraftKings reported about 28% of Super Bowl bets placed in New Hampshire came from Massachusetts residents.

"MA is losing out to neighboring states on this, especially during big games," Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker wrote in a tweet in February.