It’s never too early to make assumptions and hypotheses. Based on very preliminary numbers, it seems that there might be a correlation between the launch of legal online sports betting in Massachusetts and a decline in online betting on sporting events in neighboring New Hampshire.
In terms of the bottom-line numbers for the New Hampshire Lottery and DraftKings, though, the math is actually quite favorable. The smallness of the sample size and volatility of New Hampshire sports betting during the spring months suggest that it’s too early to reach any firm conclusions.
New Hampshire collects $3 million in May sports betting revenue
According to an updated report from the New Hampshire Lottery, gross revenue from legal sports betting in the state for May amounted to just over $7 million. That includes both online wagers on DraftKings and bets at the state’s physical sportsbooks.
In New Hampshire, DraftKings is the only legal online sportsbook. It collects a 49% share of revenue. For that reason, New Hampshire received more than $3 million of that $7 million pot.
Across both in-person and online activity, New Hampshirites wagered the smallest amount of money since August. In fact, the amount of money that bettors put down in May represented a decline of nearly 20% from April New Hampshire sports betting numbers.
There’s no reason to fret about the state of New Hampshire sports betting for DraftKings and the Lottery, though. The decline in dollars wagered hasn’t translated to fewer dollars in their coffers. As a matter of fact, the opposite is true.
The $7 million in revenue was the highest such figure since February. Additionally, it represented a win rate of 13.4% for the sportsbooks with 10% equating to a good month. To put that amount of revenue in further context, it amounts to an improvement of over 13% compared to May 2022.
An even closer look at May’s numbers in a different context suggests that perhaps there is something to what’s going on across the southern border in Massachusetts.
New Hampshire’s unpredictable springs over the past three years
A comparison of spring months for sports betting activity in New Hampshire across the past three years plainly shows that the amount of money wagered from one month to the next and year-over-year is volatile.
For example, comparing April to May in 2021 reveals a 9.5% decline in the dollars wagered. However, in 2022, the amount of money bet actually went up by 4%. Additionally, despite the launch of legal online sportsbooks on March 10 in Massachusetts, New Hampshire set a record that same month for dollars bet.
DraftKings and the Lottery have seen more significant declines in the amount of money bet since Massachusetts sports betting apps went live. The betting total dropped by 37.1% from March to April of this year, for instance, followed by the aforementioned 20% decrease from April to May.
However, there are several caveats to note.
Why New Hampshire sports betting is doing just fine
As previously stated, March’s betting activity was a state record. That makes it an outlier or the extreme end of a pendulum swing. Comparisons to that will always have an implicit bias until such a time when betting totals around $100 million become more commonplace in New Hampshire.
Furthermore, conjecturing that online sports betting in Massachusetts has a causal relationship with the more significant month-over-month drops makes several unproven assumptions. Those include:
- that New Hampshirites are crossing the border to take advantage of the additional choices in Massachusetts (eight different apps are live in the Bay State)
- that Bay Staters who were previously traveling to New Hampshire to place legal bets have begun staying home
There is no available research on these possibilities to either confirm or deny them. Thus, there could be other factors behind why 2023 saw larger month-to-month declines in sports betting dollars than were recorded in the previous two years.
Perhaps most importantly for New Hampshire sports betting, actual revenue is actually performing quite well. That’s the only number that really matters for both DraftKings and the New Hampshire Lottery. It’s just as easy to postulate that if there is some loss of betting activity to Massachusetts, then it seems to be the people who are better at betting who have made the move.
The bottom line is that New Hampshire sports betting remains healthy and that more data is necessary to ascertain the impact of Massachusetts. For now, there are likely more serious things for Granite Staters to concern themselves with.