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US – Michigan’s online sportsbooks increase in August with online gaming reaching new heights

By - 17 September 2021

Volume at Michigan’s online sportsbooks narrowly ticked up in August to more than $192m, pushing Michigan past $2bn in online and retail wagering for the year. The modest gain did not lead to more revenue, though, as sportsbooks set the stage for four of the busiest months of the year.

“August marks the beginning of the most important stretch of the year for sportsbooks,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayMichigan.com. “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.”

Michigan’s online sportsbooks took in $192.3m in bets in August, up 2.3 per cent from $188m in July, according to official data released Thursday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. With $16.3m in retail wagering in August, which was announced earlier this week, Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks accounted for $208.6m in wagering, up 1.1 per cent from $206.3m in bets in July.

Gross gaming revenue from online betting fell 18.8 per cent to $15.9m from $19.6m in July. With retail revenue included, the state’s sportsbooks combined to win $17.5 million for the month, a drop of 15.6 per cent from July. Taxable revenue from online bets landed at $9.2m, which generated $757,405 in state and local taxes.

The relatively modest bump in sports betting volume was enough to push past $2bn in online and retail wagering all-time, and for the year. Michigan sportsbooks have tallied $2.2bn in wagering since launch, including $2.1bn this year alone.

“The hot start after launching online betting in January was the key in hitting $2bn in wagering this soon, but it is remarkable growth, no matter how you view it,” said Matt Schoch, lead analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “Tax revenue has been somewhat underwhelming so far. As the market continues to mature, and promotional spends begin to slow, hopefully tax revenue improves.”

DraftKings took the online market lead with $61.4m in wagers. Gross gaming revenue rose to $4.4m. FanDuel fell to No. 2 in the state with $47.7m in wagers. The bets in August produced a market-best $4.8m in gross sports betting revenue.

“Football is not only the main draw for most existing bettors, it is also the primary vehicle for each sportsbook to grow its customer base,” Schoch said. “The promotional offerings and seemingly wall-to-wall advertising that we’ve already seen shows how aggressive Michigan’s operators are and will continue to be over the next couple months.”

Gross gaming revenue at Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms rose to a record $97.2m in August, up 5.3 per cent from $92.3m in July. That total yielded $17.9m in state taxes and $6.9m in local taxes.

August marked the first full month of live dealer online casino games, which launched in late July, helping to boost revenue. Since launching in January, online casinos and poker rooms have generated $672.6m in revenue and $166.6m in state and local 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,” Ramsey said. “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.”

BetMGM/MGM Grand Detroit topped the online casino and poker market with $39.m in gross gaming revenue, which yielded $10.5m in state and local taxes.

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