Michigan online sports betting volume drops to monthly low during July

A Map of Michigan
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Michigan’s online sportsbooks experienced their lowest volume ever for a full month, dropping to less than $200m for the first time since the state’s online sports betting launched in January. 

July’s wagering was enough, however, for sportsbooks to nearly reach $2bn in lifetime online handle, while casino revenue surpassed $500m lifetime, according to PlayMichigan, which analyzes and researches the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.

The final count saw online sportsbooks generate $188m in bets in July, down 20% from $235.1m in June. Combined with $18.3m in retail wagering in July, which was announced last week, Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks accounted for $206.3m in wagering. That total is down 20.5% from $259.4m in bets in June.

It’s also the lowest volume recorded in a month since sportsbooks collected $150.8m in January, when online betting first launched. Nonetheless, Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks have now accepted $1.99b in wagers since retail sportsbooks launched in March 2020.

“Pursuits other than gaming are priorities for many in July, whether that is a trip to the lake or a backyard barbecue,” said Matt Schoch, analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “The good news for sportsbooks is that with the July dip now out of the way, operators can look forward to Michiganders returning from their summer vacations and for the excitement for the football season to build.”

Gross gaming revenue from online betting fell 21.6% to $19.6m from $24.9m in June, pushing the state’s combined win to $20.8m for the month. After promotional credits, $12.4m in taxable revenue remained from online bets, down from $16.8m in June. July’s online revenue produced $1.1m in state and local taxes.

Volume has remained low since April, due to an expected seasonal slowdown. But sportsbooks have countered the loss in wagering with a gain in hold percentage, which is the money the house keeps after paying out winning bets. The hold in July for online and retail sportsbooks was 10.1%, joining June as the only two full months with a percentage above 10% since online betting launched in Michigan in January. 

Eric Ramsey, data analyst for PlayUSA.com, which includes PlayMichigan.com, noted: “Bettors interact with summer sports like golf and even the Olympics differently by placing more futures and novelty bets, which win less frequently than a conventional single-game bet on football. For this reason, sportsbooks can bridge the slower betting months.”

The race for the online market lead drew closer in July. FanDuel led all online operators in July with $54.5m in wagers, down from $77.3m in June. FanDuel also topped Michigan operators with $7.8m in gross sports betting revenue, down from $10.3m in June.

DraftKings was second in the state with $53.4m in wagers, down from $56.5m in June. Gross gaming revenue fell to $3.1m from $5m in June. BetMGM was third with $41m in wagers, down from $52.1m in June. That produced $5m in gross receipts, down from $6.1m in June.

“The Olympics were never going to drive enough volume for operators to overcome a typically slow summer month, especially with the time-zone difference between Michigan and Tokyo,” Schoch said. “But the Olympics did offer an opportunity for sportsbooks to reach a new segment of customers that they wouldn’t have otherwise. That could pay dividends down the road.” 

Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms combined to produce $92.3m in gross gaming revenue, up 3.5% from $89.2m in June. Casinos took in $3m per day in wagers over the 31 days of July, a rate consistent with the $3m per day in June. That revenue was enough to yield $17.1m in state taxes and $6.4m in local taxes.

Live dealer online casino games launched July 22 in Michigan, likely driving additional wagering later in the month. Since launching in January, online casinos and poker rooms have generated $575.4m in revenue and $141.8m in state and local taxes.

“Many of the same forces that slow sports betting in the summer, including summer vacations, also affect online casinos,” Ramsey said. “Michigan is still a young market that hasn’t yet reached maturity. The addition of live dealer games will make a difference going forward. And as the summer turns to fall, we should once again see the revenue at online casinos grow.”