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Published in Economic Development

Michigan online casino gaming holds strong as sports betting dips expectedly

BY Friday, May 14, 2021 03:28pm

 While Michigan’s online sports betting figures made an expected drop in April, the state continued to see strong performance from online casino gaming, making it one of the nation’s top markets.

On the heels of a month that featured the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, a favorite among sports bettors, internet sports betting operators saw a month-over-month decrease in both handle and gross receipts.

For April, internet sports betting operators handled $249.9 million in bets, which was down 30.5 percent from the $359.5 it saw in March. Revenue for these operators also took a 36.8-percent hit, with $20.4 million in receipts.

This was the first month-over-month decrease for the state’s nascent industry.

Despite the drop, Michigan on April 30 became the quickest state to achieve $1 billion in online sports wagers, signaling its ranks in the upper echelon of sports betting markets along with nationwide leaders such as New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania and neighboring Illinois.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which has partnered with MotorCity Casino in Detroit, was the leading operator for online sports betting, handling $74.2 million in wagers and leading to $7 million in gross receipts. DraftKings and its partnership with the Bay Mills Indian Community was behind with $61.5 million in wagers in addition to BetMGM LLC, along with MGM Grand Detroit, with $54.9 million in wagers.

Online sports gambling contributed $312,824 in taxes and payments to the state for the month.

“Sportsbooks are in a generally healthy position heading into the typical summer slowdown, especially considering Michigan’s pro teams have not done much to spur interest,” said Matt Schoch, analyst for the gaming trade publication PlayMichigan.com. “Tax revenue is still a concern, and we will likely have to wait until football season to see significant growth in sports betting again. But with the Olympics this year and the NBA Finals later than usual, sportsbooks can look forward to a busier-than-normal summer. Ideally, that will positively affect tax revenue, too.”

Meanwhile, online gaming remained strong, earning $94.85 million in receipts for April, which was down just slightly from $95.1 million in March. This equated to $3.16 million per day in combined revenue for operators in April.

Online gaming operators made $17.8 million in taxes and payments to the state as it positions itself as one of the nation’s top markets for online gaming.

“Sports betting gets the lion’s share of attention, but it will take years for Michigan’s sportsbooks to reach the kind of revenue that online casinos are already producing,” said Jessica Welman, another analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “In addition, online casinos aren’t susceptible to the same seasonal ebbs and flows like sports betting. That said, $1 billion in less than four months of online sports betting is no minor feat either.”

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