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Happy belated first birthday to legal sports betting in Michigan, a young, lucrative market that just celebrated a year of operation last weekend with a reported $3.6 billion handle, not too surprising given that the Great Lakes State is the third biggest market of 21+ year old bettors in the U.S.
Born on January 22, 2021, the newly legalized Michigan sports gambling market launched after the bill that former state Representative Brandt Iden created was signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in December of 2019, and this first year of operation has been financially promising.
The outlook for 2022 looks even brighter for Michigan sportsbooks and bettors alike, that’s according to industry experts who are quick to point out that the sports betting market is still in its infantile stages so as it matures, the handle and tax revenue will also continue to grow.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the billions of dollars being gambled in Michigan last year equated to billions in tax revenues, because, according to Iden, huge tax profits were not the primary goal here, not as much as it was to protect the consumers, saying:
This is a low-margin industry, so primarily for Michigan our concerns were with regulation.
Still, that low margin equates to millions in annual tax revenue that can be used to benefit Michigan residents.
According to Michigan sports betting legislation, operators in that state pay a 9.65% tax rate on adjusted gross sports betting receipts, and in the first year of operation, those ‘adjustments’ can be major, including huge write-offs for freebies and discounts offered to attract new bettors to sign up.
Once the receipts of that $3.6 billion handle were thoroughly ‘adjusted,’ the state of Michigan’s Treasury Department received $7.2 million in tax revenue for 2021, a small fraction of the state’s nearly $70 million budget, but still, it is income that didn’t exist before last year, a cash flow that could grow exponentially as the market develops and the freebies cease.
In an interview with Gaming Today, Iden made it clear that consumer safety, not money, was the primary motivator of his bill and of most of his fellow lawmakers, saying:
The biggest reason we wanted an online sports betting bill to be passed in Michigan was to safeguard citizens. The revenue is nice, but most importantly, with unregulated offshore betting options out there, we wanted to protect consumers in Michigan.
Revenue and regulation aside, it has been Michigan’s methodical implementation of this entire sports betting process that’s got other states following suit.
According to Iden, other states like Arizona and Connecticut have adopted what he calls the “Michigan Model” for implementing their sports betting market by emulating their “careful legislation, consumer protection, and a fair tax rate and low license fee.”
Iden also hopes to see more done in his state about “problem gambling,” telling the press that he would “like to see Michigan implement a Gambling Addiction Court, similar to what we see in Nevada.”
Keep checking back for the latest news and updates as Michigan begins its second exciting year of legal sports betting.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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