It’s been a year since Michigan bettings apps began in earnest, and the state’s marketplace isn’t looking back.
Michigan has already eclipsed the $500 million mark in terms of handle twice, with the state raking in $500.5 million during November followed by $514.7 million in December. Those two milestones followed a $497.5 million October, showing signs an even stronger 2022 could be on the horizon.
Michigan online sports betting pulled in north of $3.5 billion in handle during its first calendar year of operation, netting more than $13 million in state and local taxes.
Year 1 Shows Strong Signs of Progress
One of the overarching themes of 2021 for Michigan online sports betting operators was the steady growth in terms of revenue.
The total online sports betting handle in the state rose more than 60% by year’s end from the $301.9 million posted in February — the first full month of betting in the state.
In the interim, the state’s marketplace saw its share of ups and downs, with online handles in excess of $300 million in February ($301.9 million), March ($359.5 million), September ($354.3 million), October ($463.3 million), November ($473.9 million) and December ($484.5 million).
The market’s low point began in April, when the state registered five consecutive months with handles below $250 million.
Michigan Sports Betting Renaissance
Those peaks and troughs were all envisioned by state legislators like former Rep. Brandt Iden (R-61st district), who helped craft the Lawful Sports Betting Act & Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2019.
Iden, who served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2014-2021, said the state’s sports betting law paved the way for the marketplace to thrive.
“[The opening year of sports betting] has absolutely been fantastic,” Iden told GreatLakesStakes.com. “What I love most is that, when we were originally passing the legislation, various entities projected that by the end of the first year — between sports betting and iCasino — that [the total handle] would be somewhere around $50 million.
“And as you saw, we’ve greatly surpassed that. And I think for the year that we’ve exceeded expectations.”
Iden, who now serves as the head of governmental affairs for European-based sports data company Sportradar, believes Michigan’s successful sports betting and iGaming rollout paved the way for states like Arizona and Colorado.
“To me, it just shows that there's just first and foremost the desire from consumers to have this product, and Michigan has really become a model across the country,” Iden said. “So, it was my baby. And I'm glad it’s worked out as well as it has.”
Where Michigan’s Sports Betting Market Stands
Currently, there are 14 online sports betting operators in Michigan, including the big national brands like BetMGM Michigan, Caesars Sportsbook Michigan, DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan and FanDuel Sportsbook Michigan.
There’s also retail sports betting options at various tribal casinos and the three commercial casinos in Detroit — all of which opened in 2020.
Online sports betting in Michigan was legalized in December 2019, with operators coming on board in January 2021.
The state allows the three commercial casinos and 12 Native American tribal casino owners to partner with one online sports betting operator.
The Motor City Casino, which is partnered with FanDuel Sportsbook Michigan, had the most online revenue generated — $993 million.
Trailing them was Bay Mills Resort & Casino (partnered with DraftKings Sportsbook), which generated $951.1 million in 2021.
After that was MGM Grand Detroit ($828 million), Greektown Casino/Penn National Gaming ($350.5 million), and Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel/William Hill ($192.6 million).
What’s Next for Michigan’s Sports Betting Marketplace
One item on the horizon for Michigan’s Gaming Control Board is finalizing a multi-state poker agreement.
The agreement would allow residents to play online poker contests against people in other states, which could spark greater revenues for Michigan online casinos.
A spokesperson from the MGCB told GreatLakeStakes.com in early January the agreement is still being reviewed.
“A multi-state poker agreement remains under review by the states involved. We will know more when the review is completed,” the spokesperson said in an email to GreatLakeStakes.com. “While we don’t have a timeline, we hope Michigan can join soon.”
Regardless of whether Michigan gets the agreement in place, the opening year of legalized sports betting has been a positive one for people like Iden.
“The biggest surprise for me has been the immense popularity and seeing both mobile and retail [sports betting operators] come together, whether it's through the tribal properties, whether it's through the commercial properties," Iden said. “And it's one (a model) that I think that other states have replicated. We've seen Arizona replicate this. We've seen Connecticut replicate this. And it's become a success story, I think, across the country.”
Michigan Sports Betting December vs. November
|Total handle||Mobile handle||Revenue (GGR)|
|Change||Up 2.86%||2.3%||Down 69%|