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FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 01: Devin McCourty #32 of the New England Patriots misses an interception against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on January 01, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Winslow Townson/Getty Images/AFP

The highly anticipated launch of online sports betting in the Bay State will have one fewer marquee operator going live. 

PointsBet has withdrawn its application to offer a Massachusetts sports betting product after being one of the first 6 operators to receive an untethered online sports betting license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC).

A PointsBet spokesperson said the operator has “chosen this path to emphasize our continued focus on our 14 live states of the US (plus Ontario)” in justifying the decision to exit the Massachusetts sports betting market.

This is not the first significant downshift we've seen from the Australia-based sportsbook, which appears to be shifting its focus to a more regional approach. PointsBet dropped out as the exclusive odds provider for the Football Night In America pregame show early in the 2022 NFL season, subsequently replaced by BetMGM.

Around that same time, PointsBet and NBC Universal renegotiated their partnership so the operator could focus more on localized TV advertising in markets where it is currently live as opposed to buying space in the national distribution.

PointsBet even ended its tenure as one of four NFL-approved operators to fully shift to a local, regional targeting strategy in states where it already has active customers. All of these moves are creating what PointsBet leadership has termed their “path to profitability” as the operator only accounts for just over 2% of the total handle for the U.S. online sports betting industry.

Who's left in the MA online sports betting landscape?

The departure of PointsBet from the MA online sports betting landscape now leaves 10 sports betting sites still in play ahead of the intended March 10 launch date for the mobile wagering marketplace – including most of the best sportsbooks in the industry.

In January, Bet365 announced its decision to withdraw its bid to operate in the Massachusetts sports betting arena. Betway is working through its acquisition by Super Group which is slowing down its application review process with the MGC, and a spokesperson from the company said this could delay its launch by about one year.

Fanatics recently announced that it would not be prepared to go live with the rest of the pack, joining Bally Bet as another operator targeting a later launch date.

Caesars has officially made its Caesars Sportsbook mobile app available for download and is also preparing to launch its retail sports betting facility at Raynham Park. The Caesars Sportsbook mobile launch is just one development to keep an eye out for as the March 10 go-live date approaches.

DraftKings and FanDuel have also received untethered licenses to stake their claim in the MA online sports betting market. BetMGM has one of the tethered licenses, and the location it is tied to, MGM Springfield, was one of the first to accept legal bets on January 31 when Springfield mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Boston Bruins legend Ray Bourque cast in-person wagers.

WynnBet should be able to expect some local traction from its loyalty program tied to its tethered casino at the Encore Boston Harbor. Barstool Sportsbook is also a local brand that comes with a local following in addition to its brick-and-mortar location at Plainridge Park Casino, which is the oldest active place to make a bet in the Bay State.

Betr rounds out the field of approved operators that will be vying for market share when online sports betting in Massachusetts launches. 

With PointsBet exiting, there is an extra license up for grabs so another operator to enter the MA sports betting space. Who might we see jump into the action?