Maryland Online Sportsbooks Add $186 Million to November Handle

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Successful Eight Days

Mobile sports wagering in Maryland has survived its first couple of weeks in the state and now Maryland Lottery and Gaming is giving us a first glimpse at how it’s performing with the release of its November sports wagering data.

With online sports betting launching on Nov. 23, sportsbooks only operated for eight days, but still that was enough to make a splash. The state’s seven mobile operators generated a handle of just over $186 million (includes $63.9 million in promotional play) from Nov. 23 through Nov. 30. Including retail sportsbooks – which have been live since December of 2021 – the combined handle for the month of November was $219.1 million.

Retail sportsbooks paid out $28.2 million of their $33 million handle, for a hold of $4.75 million (14.4%). The seven mobile operators boasted an average 13.9% hold rate on the month and were left with just shy of $26 million before promotional deductions.

Promotions Killing Profits

Free promotional play amounted to almost $64 million across the board, which left six of the seven operators in the red at the end of the month. Combined taxable win across the seven online operators was -$38,276,855.

“We expect mobile sportsbook operators to continue to offer a lot of promotional wagers in the coming months as they venture into a new market and work to attract customers,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin, said. “There was tremendous pent up demand, and a lot of people are utilizing promotional offers from multiple operators simultaneously. But as many of the operators have acknowledged, this level of promotional play is not sustainable, and based on our regulations, it will be curtailed over time.”

Baltimore’s Bingo World, which operates BetRivers Sportsbook, was the only mobile operator to produce a net positive taxable win amount ($28,410) despite it posting the lowest handle of all seven operators. Coincidentally, it offered the least amount of free promotional play (by a long shot), so it didn’t incur the same losses as the other sportsbooks.

Tax Contributions

As a result, BetRivers contributed $4,261.65 in tax dollars to the state (15% of taxable win), which accounted for 100% of the month’s tax revenue from mobile sports wagering. Retail sports wagering brought in another $700,466.

“Deducting promotional play obviously has an impact on the bottom line, and that’s why we have a cap that takes effect after each operator’s first full fiscal year,” Martin said. “It protects the state’s interests and ensures that sports wagering will generate revenue for education, as intended.”

Tax revenue generated from both retail and mobile sports betting in Maryland goes to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, which seeks to enhance the state’s childhood and public school systems. Since the inception of sports wagering in December of 2021, the cumulative contribution to the fund is $6,129,760.

FanDuel Tops Handle

Unsurprisingly, FanDuel led the way in those eight days in November, handling $89.95 million in online sports wagers. However, it ate over $29 million in promotional playing costs and came out over $18.5 million in the hole.

DraftKings took the second-highest mobile handle in November at $69.6 million. It too invested heavily in promotional play, dishing out $26.6 million to customers. It wasn’t far behind FanDuel in its losses, totalling a $17.2 million deficit.

There’s a large drop between FanDuel and DraftKings and the rest of the mobile operators. The next-highest handle was from BetMGM, in the amount of $15.1 million. Following them in order is Barstool, Caesars, Riverboat on the Potomac, and BetRivers. With the exception of BetRivers, all of these operators finished with a negative taxable win, thus contributing $0 to the state.

It is not uncommon for sportsbooks to eat a lot of promotional costs in their first few months of operating as they try to gain relevance and market share in a particular state. So, the revenue findings aren’t cause for too much concern. This report did however show that Maryland is a lucrative market for sports betting as generating $186 million in eight days is no easy feat.

Mia Fowler is a graduate of Chapman University where she studied business marketing and journalism and played on the women’s soccer team. Following her 16-year journey with soccer, she started writing for Lineups.com. She specifically enjoys analysis of the NFL.

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