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Michigan March Sports Betting Momentum Massive

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Michigan March Sports Betting Momentum Massive
2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP

The state of Michigan continues to ascend up the list of bet-friendly states within the US legal sports betting scene. Sportsbooks in Michigan reported a record handle in March, thanks in large part to the second full month of a robust mobile wagering platform, and of course, the always exciting NCAA Basketball Tournament which featured their beloved Wolverines making a strong run up to the Elite Eight.

Michigan was able to join an exclusive club within the US legal sports betting industry thanks to March’s figures. Only New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Illinois have seen more action in a single month. None of those were able to get there as quickly as The Great Lakes State which rode the launch of what has already become a dominant mobile platform… and it has only been operational for two months.

More on the March Figures

The Michigan Gaming Control Board reported a new monthly handle record for the state in March. Michigan bettors spent $383.7 million at sportsbooks last month, up 17.8% from $325.6 million in bets in February.

The mobile portion of the overall handle came in at $359.5 million (93.7% of the overall handle) in just its second full month of operation, up 19.1% from February’s $301.8 million. Retail betting contributed just $24.2 million toward Michigan’s overall March handle.

Revenues from Michigan’s March sports betting also set a new standard for the state’s scene. March’s online bets generated $32.3 million in total gross sports betting receipts, up from $9.4 million in February. Total revenue climbed to $35.2 million for a hold of 9.2%.

Taxable revenue, despite some major promotional costs over the month hit $19 million, a nice surprise after the $10.8 million loss in February. Off of the taxable revenue, Michigan’s online betting platform contributed $535,930 in state taxes, even though promotional credits from the relatively new online scene continue to mitigate some of the profits.

Growth at a Glance

Michigan is home to one of the most successful sports betting launches seen so far in the US. Already, the state has seen a lifetime handle of $990.9 million – easily a record for the US legal sports wagering scene. $860 million of that has come in the first three months of 2021.

“With nearly $1bn in lifetime bets now, it’s hard to understate just how unprecedented Michigan’s gaming expansion has been so far,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “The growth in online casino gaming has been off-the-charts. No other state has enjoyed a launch of online casino gaming and sports betting quite like this.”

In just two months of legalized online sports betting, Michigan has seen sportsbooks report slightly over $660 million in mobile bets – the most ever for a state over its first two months of operation.

The $3 million in taxable revenue the state has seen so far this year has led to $819,866 in taxes that has been contributed to state and local coffers.

Thanking the Madness

Michigan’s mobile betting platform couldn’t have come at a better time. March Madness was being billed as the biggest betting tournament in the history of the US and it didn’t disappoint. While exact numbers for March Madness won’t be released in Michigan, it is widely accepted that the NCAA Basketball tournament provided a huge spark for not only the Great Lakes State but the country’s legalized betting platforms.

“It looks like March Madness added a bounce to the sports betting handle, which jumped 19.1 percent from February, and internet gaming seemed to increase in popularity with monthly adjusted gross receipts going up 18 percent from February,” Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director, said in a news release. “This led to increases in taxes and payments, which means more funding for the City of Detroit, K-12 education, economic development and tribal communities.”

Looking Ahead

Michigan has elevated itself into the elite category of bet-friendly states. It currently sits third on the list with a few Heavyweights like Illinois and Nevada yet to report. And there is little reason to think that they won’t continue to dominate.

“Michigan is the most competitive online sports betting market in the country right now, and that has shown in the heavy promotional spend by most operators,” PlayMichigan.com analyst Matt Schoch said. “The top three have separated themselves from the pack, but BetMGM has differentiated itself in generating heavy action while preserving its win with less in promotions.”

There will come a day that online sportsbooks see their current negative revenues due to heavy promotional costs stop. That, at this time includes about half of online operators in the state. Once that happens, revenues will spike and tax contributions off those revenues will grow rapidly. It could happen as early as April.

Michigan has yet to reach its projected legal sports betting potential, but March’s figures prove that it is on the right track. All eyes will be on the Great Lakes State from now on as the state becomes a measuring stick for other similar-sized sports betting jurisdictions.