Published in Economic Development

​​Online casino gaming has record month in August as sports betting lags

BY Thursday, September 16, 2021 03:46pm

Online casino gaming and poker play achieved record revenues for statewide operators in August, bringing in $97.2 million during the month, according to figures released Thursday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

The tally was a 5.3-percent climb from the $92.3 million operators took in over the month of July. Since Michigan rolled out online gaming in late January, online casinos and poker rooms have generated $672.6 million in revenue with $166.6 million going toward state and local taxes.

When adjusted for the deductions from free play incentives, online gaming grossed $87.6 million in August, contributing $17.9 million in state taxes.

“Michigan’s online casinos continue to grow, and with live dealer games now in the fold, there is no reason to believe that will end soon,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayMichigan.com. “For all the interest in sports betting, it is the state’s online casinos that have proven to be the bigger benefit to the state, dwarfing sports betting in tax revenue.”

Online sports gambling, however, continued to tread water in August with a slim selection of sports to choose from.

Online sports betting operators handled a total of $192.3 million in online wagers for the month, and grossed $15.9 million as a result. This was a 2.3-percent increase in bets placed compared to July, but it resulted in an 18.8-percent drop in revenue for operators.

Still, analysts expect a major spike in online sports gambling as college and professional football seasons ramp up.

“August marks the beginning of the most important stretch of the year for sportsbooks,” Ramsey said. “It only takes a few college games, the NFL’s preseason and futures bets to show the importance of football to the industry. But the small number of games in August is merely a precursor for the next four months.”

When adjusted for the deductions from free play incentives, sports betting grossed $7.5 million across the state, and operators paid $540,706 in combined state taxes.

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