Michigan sportsbooks on a roll with record online revenue in March

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Michigan online sportsbooks established new records for handle and revenue in March, reaching nearly $400m in online and retail bets and surpassing $30m in online revenue, while online casino revenue approached $100m. 

The continued surge in sports betting put Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks near $1bn in lifetime handle, another milestone in the state’s rewriting of the US’ legal gambling record book, according to PlayMichigan

The NCAA Tournament proved to be the big draw in March, helping Michigan’s sportsbooks reach $359.5m in online handle, up 19.1% from $301.9m in February. Combined with the state’s $24.2m retail handle, which was released last week, Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks collected $383.7m in bets. That overall total is up 17.8% from $325.6m in bets in February.

“With nearly $1bn in lifetime bets now, it’s hard to understate just how unprecedented Michigan’s gaming expansion has been so far,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “The growth in online casino gaming has been off-the-charts. No other state has enjoyed a launch of online casino gaming and sports betting quite like this.”

Only New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Illinois have collected more in a single month, and none has generated so much so quickly after launching online sports betting. Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks have now combined to take in $990.9m in bets since legalization, including $860m through the first three months of 2021.

The record handle produced record revenue, too. March’s online bets produced $32.3m in total gross sports betting receipts, up from $9.4m in February. But even with heavy promotion around the NCAA Tournament, taxable revenue rose to a record $19m, which was up from a $10.8m loss in February. 

Online sportsbooks generated $535,930 in state taxes, but promotional credits continue to dampen the state’s take. So far this year, the state has collected $819,866 on $3m in taxable revenue. MGM Grand/BetMGM, Greektown/Barstool, and Grand Traverse/William Hill are the only three online operators that have posted three months of positive taxable revenue so far. 

“As successful as the launch has been, those promotional credits are starting to stack up, which could take some time to work through,” said Matt Schoch, analyst for PlayMichigan.com. 

He added: “The summer months will likely end up being more fruitful for the state, even as betting predictably slows with a lighter sports calendar. If tax revenue remains lackluster, however, it could grow into a larger issue that may need to be fixed going forward.”

Online betting accounted for 93.7% of the state’s overall handle, and no operator was more responsible for that percentage than FanDuel, which partners with MotorCity Casino in Michigan. The nation’s largest sportsbook operator extended its Michigan-leading run to three months with $107.2m in online handle, up from $87.2m in February. 

Those bets gained $7.8m in gross sports betting receipts, up from a $78,889 loss in February and $5m in taxable revenue, up from a loss of $5.4m in February.  

BetMGM/MGM Grand Detroit was second with a $92.6m handle, up from $75.7m in February. BetMGM again topped gross receipts with $8.7m, up from $5.3m. Those receipts generated a market-best $6.4m in taxable revenue. DraftKings/Bay Mills Indian Community was third with a $76.5m handle, up from $72.9m in February. That led to $6m in gross receipts.

“Michigan is the most competitive online sports betting market in the country right now, and that has shown in the heavy promotional spend by most operators,” Schoch said. “The top three have separated themselves from the pack, but BetMGM has differentiated itself in generating heavy action while preserving its win with less in promotions.”

As strong as the online sports betting launch has been, the start for online casinos and poker has been even stronger and far more profitable for Michigan. In March, Michigan became just the third state to generate more than $90m in online casino and poker revenue in a single month with $95.1m in revenue, up from $79.7m February. 

March’s results left Michigan as the nation’s third-largest online casino market, behind New Jersey ($113.7m) and Pennsylvania ($97.7m).

Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms combined to win $3.1m per day for the 31 days of March, up from $2.8m per day over the 28 days in February. That total yielded adjusted gross receipts of $88.7m, $17.2m in tax revenue for the state, and $4.9m in local taxes. 

BetMGM/MGM Grand Detroit led the market again with $30.8m in gross receipts, which yielded $6m in state taxes.

“Michigan’s online casinos have been nothing short of a huge success,” Gouker said. “The state’s online casinos launched with more robust game libraries than in Pennsylvania, so residents had no reason to hold out and wait for games such as blackjack. Also, with the pandemic surging in Michigan, online casinos have been an appealing alternative for many.”