Online Wagering the Huge Difference for Michigan in State’s First Ten Days of Operation

  • Only 10 wagering days enough for Michigan to produce $42.7m in GGR & $4.4m in taxes
  • Online wagering difference-maker smashing Tennessee’s first betting month record
  • New sportsbook operators expected to debut later this year, helping to increase results

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It was hardly a surprise that sports betting was a smashing hit in Michigan right from the starting line.

Online wagering and online sports contributed $42.7 million in gross gambling revenue (GGR) during the first 10 days of legal play in Michigan, as announced by state regulators last Wednesday.

Officially, action in the state began at noon on January 22, when the Michigan Gaming Control Board authorized the launch of online gambling. The numbers for the month stretched through January 31, the end of the monthly reporting period. There are now 12 authorized operators of online gaming and sports betting platforms in Michigan.

Internet gambling gross receipts totaled $29.4 million. Internet sports betting operators had $13.3 million in gross betting receipts from a total handle of $115.2 million. Total taxes and payments for Michigan were $4.4 million. The three Detroit casinos reported city wagering taxes and services fees of $1.37 million.

Although any state vs. state comparison is tenuous due to different legislative rules, market size, etc., Michigan’s in-person and online sports betting hit a record $150.8 million, beating out Tennessee’s record of $131.4 million during its initial launch month last November. It should also be noted that Tennessee had a full calendar of 30 days in November 2020 for sports wagering operations.

Director Richard S. Kalm issued these encouraging words in a statement:

Internet gaming operators are off to a good start in Michigan. The taxes and payments from online gaming will provide funding for K-12 students, the city of Detroit, and Michigan tribal communities.

Good Timing for Launch

Michigan selected a good weekend to debut their online gaming launch. With the NFL playoffs on the board for Conference Championship Sunday along with a full slate of NBA and NCAA basketball plus NHL hockey action, there was plenty to choose from for avid sports bettors.

The opening ten days also previewed the revenue potential for the state, which will allow Michigan and especially its largest city Detroit to recoup some of the losses from the capacity limitations incurred from casinos currently in place due to COVID-19. Collecting $4.4 in taxes in only ten days is also a significant and positive sign.

By the Books

As expected, Michigan bettors put their trust in the major sportsbook operators, with DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel, Barstool (Penn National Gaming) and BetMGM combining to take in 96.4% of the state’s overall handle. The four well-known brands were not that far separated.

Considering the “bang for the buck”, Barstool might be the big winner, not sinking a large amount of dollars into television and radio advertising. Thus far the up-and-coming sportsbook brand has largely relied on their large social media status and word of mouth in building momentum and exposure in new United States markets.

Looking Ahead

The number of sportsbook operators in Michigan is expected to grow later this year with more partnerships increasing the exposure for bettors within the state.

It has been reported that the FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan, and Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant will be launching online sportsbook partnerships in March, although no exact date nor formal details have been made available yet.

No doubt Michigan’s February report will be robust and surpass January’s figures given a full month’s total of days plus expected big wagering dollars from the Super Bowl.

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Larry Gibbs

Expert on Sports Betting Industry

Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.

Email: [email protected]