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First full month of legal sports wagering put $301,000 in tax revenue into state coffers

The Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett accepted $16.9 million in sports wagers in the first full month, a figure skewed by Super Bowl betting.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The first full month of retail sports betting in Massachusetts brought in just over $301,000 in taxes for the state, according to figures released Wednesday by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Encore Boston Harbor led the state’s three casinos in wagers accepted at $16.9 million, more than twice as much as Plainridge Park ($7.1 million). MGM Springfield handled just $1.7 million, for a statewide total of $25.7 million.

But because Encore’s hold rate (percentage kept of every dollar wagered) was only 5.3 percent, its $858,000 in taxable revenue was lower than the $891,000 in taxable revenue at Plainridge, which held onto 12.8 percent of bettors’ dollars.


The state collected $133,000 in taxes from Plainridge, $129,000 from Encore, and $39,000 from MGM Springfield.

Revenues from the casinos are taxed at a 15 percent rate.

A big bump in revenues is expected to be reported in mid-April, when figures from 22 days’ worth of March online betting will be included in the commission’s figures. Online betting began last Friday and is expected to eventually command approximately 80 percent of the state’s revenues from sports betting.

Online sports betting revenue is also taxed at a higher rate, 20 percent.

Two noteworthy sports-calendar items skew the small sample size of February and March’s returns for the new industry, thus thwarting any attempt to make realistic annual revenue and tax projections.

February’s figures include wagers on the Super Bowl, the single-biggest betting day in the nation.

March’s figures will include NCAA Tournament basketball, the single-biggest betting event in the nation. There will be revenue anomalies from the six mobile wagering operators’ voluminous launch promotions.

Mid-May’s release on April’s revenues will likely offer a first glimpse of what an “average” month of sports betting looks like in Massachusetts.

In a meeting Wednesday, the Gaming Commission decided to hold an adjudicatory hearing on a Barstool Sportsbook promotion that featured prohibited “can’t lose” language. Barstool’s owner, Penn, self-reported the violation to the commission and has since discontinued the promotion language nationwide.


Michael Silverman can be reached at michael.silverman@globe.com.