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Michigan’s Online Betting & Gaming Undergoes Historic Debut Topping $115-M in Sports Bets

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If you had any doubt whatsoever that the arrival of online betting and other legal gaming in Michigan would be well received you’ll do well to set aside that notion.

The reality of the situation is that Michigan’s online sportsbooks and casinos are off to a historic debut with more than $115 million in sports bets in the final 10 days of January, while online casinos generated $29.4 million in gross receipts. Combined with the state’s retail handle, Michigan’s sportsbooks are off to the best start of any state that offers both online and retail sportsbooks, but offers just a narrow window into the future for “one of the most promising legal markets in the U.S.,” according to PlayMichigan analysts.

Dustin Gouker, Analyst for PlayMichigan.com reports, “The circumstances for Michigan’s online launch could not have been better ahead of two of the biggest sports betting holidays of the year,” adding, “Ultimately, it’s a small sample size, and the results of which are less important than sportsbooks launching and engaging sports bettors and setting the groundwork to flourish for years. By that metric, Michigan’s launch was a success.”

Michigan’s online sportsbooks generated $115.2 million in bets in the 10-day period in January, according to official data released Wednesday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. That produced $13.3 million in total gross sports betting receipts. With a typically promotion-heavy debut that whittled taxable revenue down to a combined loss of $5.2 million, January’s bets yielded $111,696 in state tax revenue.

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Combined with January’s retail sportsbook handle, which reached $35.7 million in January, Michigan’s total sports betting handle hit $150.8 million. That makes Michigan the highest total monthly handle for a state debuting online sports betting in U.S. history, snapping Tennessee’s mark of $131.4 million which had been set in November.

In all, online sports betting accounted for 76.3-percent of the state’s handle. In fact, 10 days of online sports betting was almost as much as Michigan’s entire $130.8 million retail handle during 2020, a total which had been hampered by pandemic-related restrictions on brick-and-mortar casinos.

Matt Schoch, another Analyst for PlayMichigan.com, says, “There is no questioning the power of online sports betting at this point,” and adds, “January was just a snapshot, but online betting will eventually account for 90-percent or more of the state’s total handle, which would put it much more in line with other legal jurisdictions that offer both online and retail betting.”

Michigan got off to a quick start in large part because it launched on January 22nd with 10 online sportsbooks, more than any other state in U.S. history. That list includes the nation’s two largest operators FanDuel and DraftKings, as well as its main challengers, including Penn National’s Barstool-branded app, BetRivers, and BetMGM.

Of those, FanDuel, which partners with the MotorCity Casino, topped the market in the first month with $32.6 million in wagers. That produced just $622,372 in gross sports betting receipts. DraftKings/Bay Mills Indian Community was second with a $28.2 million handle, yielding $3.4 million in gross receipts. BetMGM/MGM Grand Detroit’s $22.8 million handle led to market-topping $5.1 million in gross receipts.

Since that initial spurt in Michigan, Four Winds Casinos have also joined the fray with both online betting and gaming opportunities just launched their platforms this past Monday, so their start-up numbers aren’t in the first 10-day report from January.

The market leaders were followed by:

  • Barstool/Greektown Casino ($27.5 million handle; $3.3 million gross receipts)
  • PointsBet/Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians ($1.5 million handle; $388,381 gross receipts)
  • BetRivers/Little River Band of the Ottawa Indians ($1.1 million handle; $191,261 gross receipts)
  • William Hill/Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians ($692,319 handle; $125,659 gross receipts)
  • Twin Spires/Hannahville Indian Community (327,661 handle; 39,792 gross receipts)
  • FOX Bet/Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians ($160,052 handle; $70,737 gross receipts)
  • Golden Nugget/Keweenaw Bay Indian Community ($106,904 handle; $21,698 gross receipts)
  • Wynn/Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians ($248,879 handle; 60,232 gross receipts)

Gouker says, “Launching with nine operators ready to go from the beginning is unlike anything else we’ve seen before,” and notes, “Having FanDuel and DraftKings, in addition to BetMGM, BetRivers, and Barstool, accepting bets on the first day of operation makes Michigan instantly one of the most competitive markets in the U.S. The vastness of choices is great for consumers, obviously. But it shows just how much confidence operators have in the future of the Michigan market.”

Online casinos and poker enjoyed an impressive debut themselves, hitting $29.4 million in gross receipts, more than any other in U.S. history in online casino gaming’s first month. That yielded $4.3 million in tax revenue in its 10-day debut in January.

Online casinos and poker racked up $2.9 million per day in gross receipts, a per-day tally that has only been topped by New Jersey, the nation’s largest online gaming market.

The BetMGM/MGM Grand Detroit easily topped the market with $11.1 million in gross receipts, which generated $1.7 million in taxes.

Schoch says, “Online sportsbooks draw more attention, but online casinos are typically a far more consistent revenue generator for state governments,” adding, “With nearly $30 million in 10 days, Michigan is well on its way to becoming one of the giants in online gaming.”

For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting in Michigan, you can visit online at: http://PlayMichigan.com/news.

The PlayUSA.com Network is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the United States. Based in Las Vegas, the PlayUSA Network is independently owned and operated, with no affiliations to any casino — commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.