Massachusetts Sports Bettors Driving To New Hampshire To Bet On Celtics

Celtics fans have waited 12 years for their team to be back in the NBA Finals. Now the wait is over, and after their win in Game 1 Thursday night, the Celtics are favored to win the 2022 NBA Championship. So why are so many Boston sports fans driving to New Hampshire to celebrate? 

New Hampshire has legal mobile and retail sports betting and Massachusetts does not.

On Thursday, New Hampshire Lottery Chief Charlie McIntyre told Baystate Business between 25% to 30% of his state’s sports betting dollars comes from Massachusetts. Mobile sports bets are placed through DraftKings in partnership with the New Hampshire Lottery. Bets can also be placed at three DraftKings retail sportsbooks, with sports betting at certain state lottery retailers also on tap. 

According to McIntyre, approximately two-thirds of sports bets placed on the NBA playoffs have been wagered on the Celtics. 

“Most of the activity is betting on the Celtics to win,” McIntyre told Bloomberg’s Kim Carrigan. For (those bettors), that’s been beneficial up to this point because they’ve won the last series against Milwaukee and Brooklyn, and now the Heat. So going into this series, two-thirds of the activity is on the Celtics to win.” 

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McIntyre said “there’s no question” that Massachusetts is adding to mobile and retail sports betting activity in New Hampshire.

“Ironically we have facilities in retail on the Massachusetts border,” he said. “Those have been remarkably busy and will continue to be, thankfully.”

He said many bettors are crossing the state line and betting by mobile in parking lots at liquor stores or the Mall of New Hampshire. Retail sports bettors from Massachusetts can also wager at any of three DraftKings in-person sportsbooks located in Dover, Manchester, and Seabrook.

“They’re crowded, and will be for the next week,” McIntyre said of the retail locations. “We certainly welcome your dollars up north.” 

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Massachusetts Sports Betting Legislation And New Hampshire

New Hampshire is expected to keep drawing legal sports bettors out of the Bay State for at least a while longer. That could change if a sports betting bill now pending on Beacon Hill passes this year. 

Massachusetts state lawmakers are working now to hash out differences on the legislation, which passed the House in 2021 and was amended and passed by the Senate in April. Action on the bill could come as soon as this month. 

According to McIntyre, the chances of the bill passing aren’t great. He expects Massachusetts state lawmakers are still far apart on key differences between the House and Senate proposals, specifically when it comes to tax rates and betting on college sports

The Massachusetts House has proposed a tax rate of 15% for online bets (12.5% retail) while the Senate has proposed an online tax rate of 30% (15% retail). 

“Those two bills look so vastly different it would surprise me if there’s middle ground,” McIntyre told Baystate Business.

But McIntyre admits that New Hampshire will work to keep their bettors from across the state line if Beacon Hill comes through. 

“There’s no hiding place in that one,” the lottery chief told Baystate Business. “We’ll absolutely do everything we can.” 

AP Photo/John Hefti

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Massachusetts Casinos. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.