MI online casinos, sportsbooks and poker rooms brought in a total of $107.7 million in adjusted revenue after promotions in March.

Two Full Months In, Michigan’s Online Gambling Market Is Quickly Erasing Pennsylvania’s Head Start

Michigan iGames didn’t get going until this January. So Pennsylvania gamblers had a long head start on creating revenue for the commonwealth. Although for the second straight month, Michigan’s online gambling revenue ($95.1 million in March) rivaled Pennsylvania’s ($98 million), even though that state’s online casinos launched in July 2019.

The numbers from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) released today show the state’s online gambling gross receipts for March total $95.1 million. In addition, the state’s sports betting receipts reached $32.3 million – meaning online betting in the more general sense brought $127.4 million into state coffers.

Adjusted to deduct bettors’ free play incentives, Michigan’s actual online revenue in March was $107.7 million. So it remains behind Pennsylvania’s $124 million, but is catching up quickly.

During the shorter month of February, Michigan’s adjusted $75 million in online casino revenue also rivaled Pennsylvania’s $78 million.

It’s possible Michigan’s online gamblers may soon help speed past revenue from Pennsylvania’s online casino players, despite Michigan’s lower population. Pennsylvania houses nearly 13 million people, while Michigan has just shy of 10 million.

Perhaps it’s because Michigan synchronized its launch of online casino, online poker and online sports betting. Maybe it’s because Michigan has a lower tax rate on slots than Pennsylvania and its operators may feel more inclined to market the product. It could even be simple luck.

Meanwhile, some operators seem to be getting the hang of Michigan online casino wagering better than others. Of Michigan’s 12 license holders, the top three generated $66.3 million in online casino revenue, or 70% of the state’s total.

MI online gambling revenue highlights – March 2021

Using the adjusted income, Michigan saw more than $88.7 million in online casino revenue in March. While that far exceeds the February total of $75 million, that was a shorter month.

It’s even less of a fair comparison to put Michigan’s January revenue next to March’s. That was its first month of operation and was thus only 10 days long. To get a real sense of the market’s performance, it’s necessary to use a daily average.

After deducting promotional expenses, the daily average for March was $2.9 million vs. February’s $2.7 million. Michigan’s online casino revenue appears to be in good shape. The full month revenue marks an 18% increase from February, as tallied MGCB Executive Director Richard S. Kalm. Taken as a daily average, it is still an improvement of around 7%.

iGaming taxes and payments generated $17.3 million for Michigan. There is a further $535,930 from online sports betting earmarked to help Detroit, the state’s K-12 schools, economic development and tribal communities.

MI market analysis, by operator

As was the case in February, BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings are dominating the marketplace in Michigan. They generated $66.3 million of the online casino totals in March. The nine other operators combined generated $28.8 million – less than half of the iGaming gross receipts of the top three.

What may add a bit of drama come July is FanDuel’s IPO.

In addition to possibly helping licensee MotorCity Casino be more competitive with MGM Grand Detroit, the IPO could add confusion about Odawa casinos’ skin, Fox Bet. As part of the negotiations with media partner Fox before the IPO, primary FanDuel owner Flutter may be trying to merge Fox Bet with FanDuel to eliminate some competition.

Meanwhile, for the sake of argument, let’s take a look at that scenario if it had played out in March. FanDuel’s licensee MotorCity and Fox Bet’s Odawa adjusted revenues for March added together are $29 million. MGM Grand’s BetMGM brought in $31 million. All of that’s interesting, but DraftKings would still reign – at $35 million with Bay Mills Indian Community.

MI sports betting – March 2021

Even appointed officials aren’t immune to sports puns. Kalm credits March Madness basketball with adding “a bounce to the sports betting handle.” Bets received increased 19.1% from February to March.

In dollar terms, handle increased by $60 million, month over month. Here too, we can look at the daily average to confirm that the gains are real. Handle for March worked out to an average of $11.6 million per day, which is again a 7% improvement over February’s pace of $10.8 million.

However, March’s $359.5 million handle isn’t the only way to analyze Michigan’s sports gambling prowess. Revenue is the other piece of the puzzle.

There too, Michigan showed that it’s got game, posting $32.3 million in gross sports betting receipts. A big chunk of that got paid out in promotional free bets however, leaving $19 million total after that adjustment.

On that front at least, Pennsylvania performed far better in March, with $26 million in sports betting revenue.

However, Michigan is really only competing against itself. Considering the state saw negative revenue from this vertical in January, sports betting is doing far better than it did straight out of the gate.

MI online gambling revenue breakdown

For readers who want to do their own research about Michigan’s online casino revenue, here’s a handy chart. The figures given are taxable revenue, which is adjusted from gross revenue by deducting promotional expenses.

OperatorMar. TotalFeb. TotalChange (Daily Avg.)
MGM Grand$30.8M$26.9M+3.3%
Bay Mills$14.9M$13.7M-1.9%
Little River$6.1M$5.2M+6.3%
Little Traverse Bay$5.2M$4.7M-0.2%
Sault Ste. Marie$4M$3.9M-7.8%
Grand Traverse$0.6M$0.2M+173%
- Heather Fletcher is the lead writer with OnlinePokerReport. She's a career journalist, with bylines in The New York Times, Adweek and other publications. Reach her at [email protected]
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