Michigan sportsbooks end first year with $4 billion in wagers

Photo of Shepard Price
The Monmouth Park Sports Book is viewed on the first day of legal sports betting in the state, in Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey. (Photo by Dominick Reuter/AFP via Getty Images)

The Monmouth Park Sports Book is viewed on the first day of legal sports betting in the state, in Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey. (Photo by Dominick Reuter/AFP via Getty Images)

DOMINICK REUTER/AFP via Getty Images

Michigan’s sportsbooks and online casinos ended 2021 on a record-breaking roll, with more than $500 million in sports wagers for the second consecutive month and more than $120 million in online casino revenue, according to PlayMichigan, which tracks gaming in the state.

December’s results were a fitting closure to a year in which online sports betting and online casinos debuted in Michigan, generating $4 billion in sports bets and more than $1 billion in gross gaming revenue from online casinos over the course of the year. December saw revenue grow to $3.9 million per day from $3.6 million in November, yielding $22.6 million in state taxes and another $8.6 million in local taxes and shares.

"Bettors fared much better on their bets than in November, but it was still one of the best months yet for Michigan’s sportsbooks," Matt Schoch, lead analyst for PlayMichigan.com, said in a statement. "Online sports betting and casinos hit the higher side of expectations in their first year, particularly online casinos. And the last four months for sports betting have really added an exclamation point to the first year."

Online sportsbooks alone drew $484.6 million in December, topping the record $473.8 million set in November, according to official data released Tuesday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Combined with $30.1 million in retail wagering at Detroit-area casinos announced last week, Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks hit $514.6 million in wagering for the month, up 2.8% from the previous record $500.5 million in November.
 
Online sportsbooks earned $34.8 million in gross revenue in December, which was down 35.8% from the record $54.1 million in November but still the second-most in state history. With $1.2 million in retail revenue, Michigan’s sportsbooks won $35.9 million for the month, down 38.9% from $58.8 million in November. After promotional credits, taxable revenue for both online and retail wagering hit $12.0 million, which yielded $1.2 million in state taxes.

"Sportsbooks got a boost in December from the excitement that came from Michigan’s appearances in the Big Ten championship and the College Football Playoff semifinal," Schoch said. "With bowl game appearances from four other Michigan schools and interest in college basketball in general and Michigan State specifically, sportsbooks were able to weather the struggles of the Lions and the Pistons."

For the year, the first for online sports betting and online casino gaming, Michigan's sportsbooks produced $3.97 billion in online and retail wagers, near the top among all U.S. states that allowed some form of legal sports betting; $319.5 million in gross revenue; $3.7 billion in online wagers, generating $292.2 million in revenue and $13.6 million in state taxes.

"Sports betting still has plenty of room for growth," Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, said in a statement. "It’s important to remember that Michigan’s bettors are still relatively new to mobile sportsbooks and online-specific forms of betting such as in-game wagering. Meanwhile, sportsbooks continue to expand their customer bases. As familiarity grows, so will the market."

Michigan's online casinos and poker rooms made it the third state in U.S. history to generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue and the first to do so in its first year, having generated $121.8 million in gross gaming revenue in December. December’s revenue was up 13.2% from $107.6 million in November and easily topped the previous record of $109.7 million set in October. 
 
Michigan joined New Jersey and Pennsylvania as the only states to generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue. For the year, Michigan’s online casinos generated $1.1 billion in gross revenue from online casino games and poker rooms and $279.3 million in state taxes.
 
"It took time for online sports betting to truly ramp up, but online casinos have flourished from the very beginning," Ramsey said. "Few saw Michigan hitting $1 billion in revenue over the first year, especially considering that no state had ever reached that level before. To do it in year one has been impressive, creating a significant stream of tax revenue from the state along the way."