October marks a historical high for fledgling Michigan sports betting market

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Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks took nearly $500m in wagers in a single month during October, while the state’s online casinos reached a new high, marking a historic month for the still-fledgling market, according to PlayMichigan, which tracks gaming developments in the state.

The record $463.6m in October bets was up 30.8% from $354.3m in September, according to official data released Thursday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. That total easily topped the previous online high of $359.5m set in March. 

Combined with $34.2m in retail wagering at Detroit-area casinos announced last week, Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks set a record with $497.6m in wagering, up 28.6% from $386.8m in September.

Matt Schoch, lead analyst for PlayMichigan.com, noted: “Michigan-Michigan State, five full weekends of the NFL and college football, the opening of the NBA season, and baseball’s postseason all coalesced in October to create an unusually robust sports calendar. 

“Michigan bettors are increasingly comfortable with online sports betting. And with a game like Michigan-Michigan State that carries intense local interest, sportsbooks were presented a rare opportunity to expand their customer bases. The events of this month will continue to pay dividends even after the schedule slows.”

Online sportsbooks won $24.3m in gross revenue from October’s wagers, up 2.7% from $23.7m in September. Combined with $2.6m in retail revenue, sportsbooks won a total of $26.9m for the month, down 0.7% from $27.1m in September. Heavy promotion whittled taxable revenue to $7.3m, which yielded $1.1m in state and local taxes.

With October’s results, Michigan joined New Jersey, Nevada, Illinois, and Pennsylvania as the only states to generate $500m online and retail wagering on sports over a single month.

“After an explosive first few months earlier this year, the growth in the Michigan online market had really tapered off a bit,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayMichigan.com. 

“The results this fall have mostly erased that lull. The state’s online sportsbooks are again at a level we’d expect for a market with so much promise.”

FanDuel retook the online market lead with $124m in wagers, up from $82.1m in September. Those bets yielded $10.3m in gross sports betting revenue, up from $7.2m in September. DraftKings, which had topped the market for two consecutive months, was second with $120.4m in wagers, up from $106.9m in September. Those bets produced $2.9m in gross gaming revenue, down from $3m in September.

BetMGM was third in Michigan with a $102.2m handle, up from $81.8m in September. Those bets led to $7.5m in gross gaming revenue, down from $8.8m in September.

“The market remains crowded, and smaller operators have yet to gain much ground on DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM,” Schoch said. “But a growing pie is certainly good news for smaller operators who continue to fight for a better foothold in the state.”

Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms reached a new high in October with $109.7m in gross gaming revenue. That total is up 7.1% from $102.4m in September, and marked the third consecutive month that online gaming has set a revenue record.

Revenue per-day grew to $3.5m per day over the 31 days of October from $3.4m per day in September. 

October’s revenue produced $20.3m in state taxes and $7.8m in local taxes. Online gaming has now injected $220.8m in state and local taxes since launching in January, nearly 20 times more than the taxes generated by online and retail sports betting.

“Sports betting ebbs and flows depending on what sports are in season, but the growth in online gaming continues month after month,” Ramsey said. “Online gambling has proven to be a remarkably consistent and valuable revenue generator for the state, accomplishing one of the state’s primary goals when it was legalized and regulated.”