Published in Economic Development

Michigan emerging as top market for sports betting, online gaming

BY Tuesday, March 16, 2021 03:23pm

Another busy stretch of sports betting and online casino gaming in Michigan has put the state among some of the top markets in the country.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board released a report on activity for the month of February, showing that internet sports betting operators grossed $9.5 million while handling $301.9 million in bets. 

MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm COURTESY PHOTO

This was a 162-percent increase from the $115.2 million licensed operators took in during the last 10 days of January and a slight drop in per-day averages, from $11.5 million in bets per day in January to $10.8 million per day in February.

Combined with retail sports betting inside casinos around the state, Michigan sports books took in $325.6 million in bets for February.

The totals push Michigan to the fifth largest market in the country, where it is expected to settle after overtaking Indiana, which handled $273.9 million in sports bets for February. However, the country’s top markets in New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Illinois have yet to report February numbers.

“Michigan has long had the potential to be a top five market, but its rapid ascent shows just how much pent-up demand was unleashed,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayMichigan.com, which reports on sports and casino gambling in the state. 

“As exciting as the early returns are, though, we’re still in a period where enthusiasm is in part a product of legal betting still being novel. That said, there is no reason to believe that the market’s growth will stop after enthusiasm normalizes,” Welman added

FanDuel, which partners with MotorCity Casino in Detroit, led the way for sports betting in Michigan once again, handling $87.2 million in bets after handling $32.6 million in January. FanDuel ended up losing $78,889 for the month.

Meanwhile, operators brought in $79.9 million for internet gaming after grossing $29.4 million in the last part of January.

The latest online casino gaming and poker revenues put Michigan among some of the largest and most mature markets, including New Jersey, which grossed $103.8 million in January, and Pennsylvania, which grossed $80.4 million in January.

Overall, operators have delivered $14.1 million in taxes and payments to the state, nearly all of it for online gaming.

“Michigan residents and visitors continued to show strong interest in internet gaming and sports betting during a snowy and cold February,” Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard Kalm said in a statement. “The internet gaming taxes more than tripled, but that’s what we expected with a full month of gaming. This means more funding for the City of Detroit, K-12 education, economic development and tribal communities.”

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