Michigan sportsbooks quick out of the blocks to extend record-breaking debut into February

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Michigan’s online sportsbooks extended their record-breaking debut into February with more than $300m 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 landmark, with Michigan becoming just the third state to reach more than $75m in gross receipts. It adds up to an online debut unlike any other in US 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 US gaming markets. Operators’ enthusiasm for the state before launch has proven prescient.” 

Anchored by Super Bowl betting, February brought $301.9m into Michigan’s online sportsbooks, up 162.1% from $115.2m in bets taken during the final 10 days in January, though the per-day average dipped slightly to $10.8m in February from $11.5m in January.

February’s bets yielded $9.5m in total gross sports betting receipts, down from $13.3m in January. With the Super Bowl as a typical promotion-heavy event, taxable revenue fell to a $10.8m loss after a combined loss of $5.2m 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 US sports betting markets. Combined with $23.7m generated by retail casinos, Michigan sportsbooks took in $325.6m in bets in February. That supplants Indiana, which tallied $273.9m in online and retail bets in February, as the nation’s No. 5 market. 

“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 $87.2m in online handle, up from in the first month with $32.6m 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 $75.7m handle was second, up from $22.8m in January. But BetMGM topped gross receipts with $5.3m, up from $5.1m, which led to $2.4m in taxable revenue, by far the most in the state.

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

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

Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms combined to win $2.8m per day over the 28 days in February, down slightly from $2.9m per day in January. Adjusted gross receipts of $75.2m yielded $14m in tax revenue for the state. BetMGM/MGM Grand Detroit once again led the market with $26.9m in gross receipts, which yielded $5.3m 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 $79m 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.”