Michigan sports betting slumps as casinos edge closer to a $100m month

Michigan’s sportsbooks have been “hit by the seasonality of sports betting and struggling local teams” throughout May, while its online casinos fell slightly shy of a $100 million revenue month.

Michigan sportsbooks took $237.6 million in online wagers during May – a 4.9% drop from April’s $249.9 million in April. Combined with $20.2 million in retail handle, Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks took in $257.7 million in bets. That total is down 6% from the $274.2 million recorded one month earlier.

“Online casinos don’t face the same dramatic seasonal variances as sports betting does, so they act as a steadying force for the industry,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayMichigan.com. 

“On the other hand, sportsbooks have been hit by the seasonality of sports betting and struggling local teams. It appears they will have to wait until the end of summer before substantial growth can be expected again.”

Gross operator revenue from online betting fell 4.5% to $19.5 million in May from $20.4 million in April. That produced $9.9 million in taxable revenue, down from $10.9 million, yielding $993,784 in state taxes.

With its 28.5% drop in wagering, Michigan’s 28.5% decline in April handle represented the steepest month-over-month decline among major U.S. markets.

Analysts stated that Michigan’s decline has been more pronounced because as the initial enthusiasm that came from the launch of online betting began to settle, the sports schedule also waned. Even more, all of Detroit’s professional teams that were in action in April and May struggled mightily.

“A lack of success from Detroit teams naturally saps interest, and Michigan is facing too many short-term factors to overcome completely,” said Matt Schoch, analyst for PlayMichigan.com. 

“Despite the declines in betting volume, there aren’t any systemic issues. Even if the Lions’ prospects are equally dim, substantial growth will almost certainly return with the beginning of football season.”

But despite the drop for the sports betting market, Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms hit $94.9 million during May, which is even with the prior month and a slight drop from $95.1 million in March. This equates to $3.1 million per day, down slightly from $3.2 million per day during April.

“Online casinos have become a powerhouse of revenue generation,” Welman said. “Revenue has remained high, even as retail casinos around Detroit have become more accessible. 

“Looking ahead, the popularity of these games should remain — and likely expand — over the next few months, even as retail casinos’ operations continue to steady.”