PlayMichigan.com: First full month a winner for online casinos, sportsbooks

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Michigan’s online sportsbooks extended their record-breaking debut into February with more than $300 million in bets in their first full month after launch, becoming the sixth — and by far the earliest — state to surpass that milestone. This total comes while online casinos hit their own impressive milestone, with Michigan becoming just the third state to reach more than $75 million in gross receipts. It adds up to an online debut unlike any other in U.S. history, according to PlayMichigan, a leading source for news and analysis of the Michigan gaming market.

“Michigan’s gaming industry traveled a winding road before January’s launch of online sportsbooks and casinos, but it is difficult to imagine how an online debut could have gone any better,” said Matt Schoch, analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “It took less than 40 days to transform Michigan into one of the largest U.S. gaming markets. Operators’ enthusiasm for the state before launch has proven prescient.”

Anchored by Super Bowl betting, February brought $301.9 million into Michigan’s online sportsbooks, according to official data released Tuesday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. That was up 162.1% from $115.2 million in bets taken during the final 10 days in January, though the per-day average dipped slightly to $10.8 million in February from $11.5 million in January.

February’s bets yielded $9.5 million in total gross sports betting receipts, down from $13.3 million in January. With the Super Bowl as a typical promotion-heavy event, taxable revenue fell to a $10.8 million loss after a combined loss of $5.2 million in January. The state still eked out a $142,240 injection into state coffers.

Michigan’s hot start has rocketed the state toward space only occupied by the largest U.S. sports betting markets. Combined with $23.7 million generated by retail casinos, Michigan sportsbooks took in $325.6 million in bets in February. That supplants Indiana, which tallied $273.9 million in online and retail bets in February, as the nation’s No. 5 market. The nation’s four largest markets, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Illinois have yet to report February data, but all four will likely top Michigan.

“Michigan has long had the potential to be a Top 5 market, but its rapid ascent shows just how much pent-up demand was unleashed,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “As exciting as the early returns are, though, we’re still in a period where enthusiasm is in part a product of legal betting still being novel. That said, there is no reason to believe that the market’s growth will stop after enthusiasm normalizes.”

Now with 12 operators, the race for market share is as intense in Michigan as anywhere in the country. FanDuel, which partners with MotorCity Casino in Michigan and is the nation’s largest online sportsbook operator, topped the market for the second consecutive month with $87.2 million in online handle, up from in the first month with $32.6 million in January. Those bets led to a loss of $78,889 in gross sports betting receipts, down from a $622,372 win in January. BetMGM/MGM Grand Detroit’s $75.7 million handle was second, up from $22.8 million in January. But BetMGM topped gross receipts with $5.3 million, up from $5.1 million, which led to $2.4 million in taxable revenue, by far the most in the state.

DraftKings/Bay Mills Indian Community was just behind with a $72.9 million handle, up from $28.2 million in January, but lost $161,496 in gross receipts.

The market leaders were followed by:

  • Barstool/Greektown Casino ($40.3 million handle, up from $27.5 million in January; $1.9 million in gross receipts, down from $3.3 million)
  • PointsBet/Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians ($7 million handle, up from $1.5 million; $1.1 million in gross receipts, up from $388,381)
  • Wynn/Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians ($7 million handle, up from $248,879; $1.1 million in gross receipts, up from $60,232)
  • William Hill/Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians ($5.6 million handle, up from $692,319; $449,316 in gross receipts, up from $125,659)
  • BetRivers/Little River Band of the Ottawa Indians ($3.6 million handle, up from $1.1 million; $120,306 in gross receipts, down from $191,261)
  • FOX Bet/Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians ($3.6 million handle, up from $160,052; $120,307 in gross receipts, up from $70,737)
  • Twin Spires/Hannahville Indian Community ($1.9 million handle, up from $327,661; -$277,365 in gross receipts, down from $39,792)
  • Golden Nugget/Keweenaw Bay Indian Community ($497,693 handle, up from $106,904; $69,788 in gross receipts, up from $21,698)
  • Four Winds Sportsbook/Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (launched Feb. 15: $12,680 handle; $3,840 in gross receipt)

“The promotional spend by most operators sapped taxable revenue in the short-term but shows just how competitive the market in Michigan is right now,” Welman said. “The extended roster of online operators is perhaps the most distinguishing aspect of the Michigan market. Having so many quality operators has clearly paved the way for this early success, and fierce competition will continue to benefit bettors as the market matures.”

Online casinos and poker

Online casinos and poker enjoyed another month of record receipts, generating $79.7 million in February, up from $29.4 million in January. February’s results will likely put Michigan as the nation’s No. 2 or 3 market, behind only New Jersey ($103.8 million in January), but on par with the far more mature market in Pennsylvania ($80.4 million in January).

Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms combined to win $2.8 million per day over the 28 days in February, down slightly from $2.9 million per day in January. Adjusted gross receipts of $75.2 million yielded $14 million in tax revenue for the state. BetMGM/MGM Grand Detroit once again led the market with $26.9 million in gross receipts, which yielded $5.3 million in taxes.

To put Michigan’s growth into perspective, it took New Jersey until April 2020 — more than six years after launching in November 2013 — to surpass $79 million in online casino revenue in a single month.

“The interest in online casino games in Michigan has been off the charts for a new market, but expect the growth to settle a bit in the coming months,” Schoch said. “Regardless, there has never been a more impressive debut.”

For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting in Michigan, visit PlayMichigan.com/news.

About the PlayUSA.com Network:
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. With a presence in over a dozen states, PlayUSA.com and its state-focused branches (including PlayMichigan.com, PlayNJ.com, and PlayPennsylvania.com) produce daily original reporting, publish in-depth research, and offer player advocacy tools related to the advancement of safe, licensed, and legal online gaming options for consumers. Based in Las Vegas, the PlayUSA Network is independently owned and operated, with no affiliations to any casino — commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.

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George Miller has started working in the gaming industry as an Editor/Content Manager in 2016 and since then he has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy subject covering. In 2017, he became Head of Content and he is responsible for the editorial team, press release and story covering on multiple websites that are part of Hipther Agency, including EuropeanGaming.eu.

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