February 17, 2021 Sports Betting, Technology, Online

Michigan makes big January splash in online gaming

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Bettors make $115m in mobile sports bets in 10 days after launch.

Online gaming and sports betting made a big debut in Michigan last month, breaking the first-month handle record set by Tennessee in November.

The debut was all the more impressive considering online betting did not launch until 22 January, allowing just 10 days to take wagers.

Online sportsbooks took in $115.2m in bets in that 10-day period, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Retail sportsbooks added $35.7m in January, for a total sports betting handle of $150.8m.

Tennessee had set the record for handle in a state launching online sports betting with $131.4m two months earlier.

The MGCB said due to promotions associated with the launch, taxable revenue was a loss of $5.2m, but the handle still generated $111,696 in taxes for the state.

Analysts with PlayMichigan.com said the state countered the late-month launch by having 10 online sportsbooks available to bettors, more than any state making its debut. This group included the nation’s two largest operators, FanDuel and DraftKings, plus Penn National’s Barstool, BetRivers and BetMGM.

FanDuel, which partnered with MotorCity Casino (pictured), accepted $32.6m in bets, with $622,372 in gross sports betting receipts. DraftKings/Bay Mills Indian Community was second with $28.2min handle, $3.4m in gross receipts.

BetMGM/MGM Grand Detroit was third in handle with $22.8m, but first in gross receipts with $5.1m.

“The circumstances for Michigan’s online launch could not have been better ahead of two of the biggest sports betting holidays of the year,” Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayMichigan.com, said in a statement. “Ultimately, it is a small sample size, and the results of which are less important than sportsbooks launching and engaging sports bettors and setting the groundwork to flourish for years. By that metric, Michigan’s launch was a success.”
Online sports betting accounted for 76.3% of the state’s handle. PlayMichigan’s Matt Schoch pointed out the handle seen in 10 days of online sports betting was almost as much as the entire retail handle during 2020, which was $130.8m, but that total was limited by pandemic-related restrictions on brick-and-mortar casinos.
“There is no questioning the power of online sports betting at this point,” said Schoch. “January was just a snapshot, but online betting will eventually account for 90% or more of the state’s total handle, which would put it much more in line with other legal jurisdictions that offer both online and retail betting.”

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