bet365 drops plans to launch mobile sports betting in Massachusetts

UK-based sports betting giant bet365 is dropping its bid to offer sports gaming in Massachusetts as an online wagering partner of Raynham Park, the company announced in a meeting last week with the state’s Gaming Commission. The decision follows recent news that Raynham has forged a deal with Caesars Sportsbook for in-person wagering.

bet365’s initial agreement with the simulcast center was first reached last November and called for the launch of the operator’s online sports betting app in the Bay State. The bet365, which has a major position in Europe, is currently available in the US in Colorado, New Jersey and Ohio, its latest state after going live there on New Year’s Day in 2023.

While the company has not commented on its reasons to drop the bid, it is worth noting that bet365’s worldwide expansion plans have come at a cost. In its financial results for the year ended March 27, 2022, the operator announced profit fell to £33.1 million ($40.9 million), down more than 90% from the year before, amid “significant” costs of raising brand awareness in new markets. 

The state’s sports betting law allows both Raynham Park and Suffolk Downs – Massachusetts’ only two horse racing simulcast centers – to apply for sports gaming licenses that permit both in-person and online wagering. But while Raynham’s deal with bet365 fell through, and a new mobile sports betting partner has yet to be announced, officials for the center have already secured a partnership for their ambitious on-site sportsbook plans.

Caesars Entertainment confirmed last week that it is partnering with Raynham Park on a new 30,000-square-foot Caesars Sportsbook retail location, which the company says will become “one of the largest free-standing race and sports wagering facilities” in the US. Ahead of the opening of the new building, which is expected to be completed at some point this year, the parties will first launch a temporary sportsbook inside the current simulcasting facility.

“Caesars Sportsbook is the strongest retail sports gaming brand in the industry and we are extremely proud to announce our partnership,” said Raynham Park owner Chris Carney. “Our sportsbook will be one of the largest sports gaming destinations not only in Massachusetts but in the United States. With Caesars’ legendary commitment to quality and integrity, Raynham Park will be a world-class venue that will set a new standard for gaming in Massachusetts.”

Massachusetts will launch retail sports betting at 10 a.m. on Jan. 31, while online sports betting is expected to debut in March. Experts project Massachusetts could deliver as much as $400 million in total handle this year. Caesars Sportsbook already has an online license agreement in place with Encore Boston Harbor, reason why it will not be seeking such a deal with Raynham.