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Michigan online sportsbooks drive record $500M+ handle in Dec., nearly $4B in debut year

NFL's Detroit Lions.
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Michigan’s sportsbooks and online casino reported their numbers for December 2021, thus concluding a year 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 developments in the state. December’s results were the closure to a debut year that brought $4 billion in sports bets and more than $1 billion in gross gaming revenue from online casinos. 

Online sportsbooks alone drew $484.6 million in December, topping the record $473.8 million set in November, according to official data released Tuesday. Combined with $30.1 million in retail wagering at Detroit-area casinos announced mid-January, 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 operators won $34.8 million in gross revenue during the last month of the year, 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. Taxable revenue for both online and retail wagering reached $12 million, yielding $1.2 million in taxes. 

Michigan’s online sports betting and online casino gaming will see its first full year in January 2022, and the debut was among the best in U.S. history. For the year, Michigan’s sportsbooks produced: 

  • $3.97 billion in online and retail wagers.

  • $319.5 million in gross revenue.

  • $13.6 million in state taxes.

Matt Schoch, lead analyst for PlayMichigan.com, stated: “Bettors fared much better on their bets than in November, but it was still one of the best months yet for Michigan’s sportsbooks. 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”. 

Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayMichigan.com, added: “Sports betting still has plenty of room for growth. 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”. 

In December, DraftKings edged FanDuel with $120.3 million in online wagers. Those bets generated $7.3 million in gross revenue. FanDuel followed with $119.9 million in bets and a market-best $9.6 million on gross revenue.

"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. 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”, Schoch added.

When it comes to online casinos and poker rooms, the state became the third in U.S. history to generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue - and the first to do it in its first year - after generating $121.8 million in gross gaming revenue in December. 

December’s revenue easily topped the previous record of $109.7 million set in October. For the year, Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms generated $1.1 billion in gross revenue 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. 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”. 

Other highlights from December include revenue growth reaching $3.9 million per day over the 31 days of December; wins yielded $31.2 million in state and local taxes; and BetMGM topped the market with $46 million in gross gaming revenue. 


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