Michigan online sportsbooks show modest improvement in wagering in August

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Michigan’s online sportsbooks saw a narrow improvement in wagering volumes during August to more than $192m, pushing the state past $2bn in online and retail wagering for the year. 

The modest uptick failed to yield higher revenue, however, as sportsbooks set the stage for four of the busiest months of the year, according to PlayMichigan, which analyzes and researches the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market. 

Online sportsbooks took in $192.3m in bets in August, up 2.3% from $188m in July. With $16.3m in retail wagering in August, which was announced earlier this week, Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks accounted for $208.6m in wagering, up 1.1% from $206.3m in bets in July.

Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayMichigan.com, explained: “August marks the beginning of the most important stretch of the year for sportsbooks. It only takes a few college games, the NFL’s preseason and futures bets to show the importance of football to the industry. But the small number of games in August is merely a precursor for the next four months.” 

Gross gaming revenue from online betting fell 18.8% to $15.9m from $19.6m in July. With retail revenue included, the state’s sportsbooks combined to win $17.5m for the month, a drop of 15.6% from July. Taxable revenue from online bets landed at $9.2m, which generated $757,405 in state and local taxes.

The relatively modest bump in sports betting volume was enough to push past $2bn in online and retail wagering all-time, and for the year. 

Michigan sportsbooks have tallied $2.2 bn in wagering since launch, including $2.1bn this year alone; $189m in gross gaming revenue, including $170m in 2021; and $8.9m in state and local taxes, including $7.4m in state and local taxes this year.

“The hot start after launching online betting in January was the key in hitting $2bn in wagering this soon, but it is remarkable growth, no matter how you view it,” said Matt Schoch, lead analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “Tax revenue has been somewhat underwhelming so far. As the market continues to mature, and promotional spends begin to slow, hopefully tax revenue improves.”

DraftKings took the online market lead with $61.4m in wagers, up from $53.4m in July. Gross gaming revenue rose to $4.4m from $3.1m in July. FanDuel fell to No. 2 in the state with $47.7m in wagers, down from $54.5m in July. The bets in August produced a market-best $4.8m in gross sports betting revenue, down from $7.8m in July. 

BetMGM was third in the state with $43.7m in wagers, up from $41m in July. That total produced $3.9m in gross receipts, down from $5mi in June.

“Football is not only the main draw for most existing bettors, it is also the primary vehicle for each sportsbook to grow its customer base,” Schoch said. “The promotional offerings and seemingly wall-to-wall advertising that we’ve already seen shows how aggressive Michigan’s operators are and will continue to be over the next couple months.” 

Gross gaming revenue at Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms rose to a record $97.2m in August, up 5.3% from $92.3m in July. August’s revenue was up to $3.1m per day over the 31 days of August from $3m per day in wagers over the 31 days of July. That total yielded $17.9m in state taxes and $6.9m in local taxes.

August marked the fifth time in the past six months that revenue topped $90m. August also was the first full month of live dealer online casino games, which launched in late July, helping to boost revenue.

Since launching in January, online casinos and poker rooms have generated $672.6m in revenue and $166.6m in state and local taxes. 

“Michigan’s online casinos continue to grow, and with live dealer games now in the fold, there is no reason to believe that will end soon,” Ramsey said. “For all the interest in sports betting, it is the state’s online casinos that have proven to be the bigger benefit to the state, dwarfing sports betting in tax revenue.”