March Madness Drives Michigan Online Betting’s March 2021 Figures

Basketball On A Court On Left And March Madness Bracket On Right And Logo In Center

The 2021 March Madness was the first time that Michigan residents could bet legally on college basketball’s postseason and for the Wolverine State, it was a slam dunk.

Based figures released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the state’s foray into legal online gambling continues to gain momentum, exceeding expectations that were first thought to be too high.

Effect of March Madness

The MGCB reported that a total of $359.4M were wagered online in March. That represented a 19.1% mark up from the previous month and the driving force behind the increase was March Madness, where the University of Michigan Wolverines made it all the way to the Elite Eight.

Meanwhile, the gross sports betting receipts or the money kept by oddsmakers totaled $32.3M. Combined with retail sports bets, the total betting handle for the month of March was $383.7M, which is 17.1% up on February’s haul of $325.6M. Michigan’s March 2021 handle ranked third in the entire United States, behind only New Jersey ($860M) and Philadelphia ($560M).

Since the start of legal Michigan sports betting in March 2020, oddsmakers in the Wolverine State have generated a lifetime handle of close to $1B which easily surpasses the original projections when the Michigan sports betting bill was being discussed.

Michigan Online Betting Figures

Online gambling launched in the state in mid-January. As of March, there were a total of 12 operators authorized to offer one or both forms of online gambling. BetMGM led all online operators with a gross receipts of $8.7M.

BetMGM, the online platform tied to the MGM Grand Detroit Casino, led the internet pack with almost $30.8M in gross receipts for the month of March. Meanwhile, FanDuel, the online sports betting platform provider of the MotorCity Casino Hotel, paced the online sports betting side with a total handle of close to $107.2M.

Online casinos reported a gross gaming revenue of $95.1M in March which was a 19.2% increase from its February figures. Taxes tied to online gambling are based on adjusted gross receipts and for the month of March 2021, those totaled to $88.7M for internet gaming and $19M for online sports betting.

Michigan Online Sports Betting Took in $301.9M in Wagers During February 2021

Closeup of Man Making Sports Bets on His Phone
The Michigan Gaming Control Board revealed the state’s internet gaming and sports betting revenues for the month of February on Tuesday and the figures were solid.

According to the MGCB, the Wolverine State’s online sportsbooks took in a total of $301.9M in wagers during February 2021, including Super Bowl LV bets. The online handle was 130% higher than the retail handle of $23.7M for the same month.

The MGCB reported that the state’s 12 online betting operators had a total of $79.7M in gross receipts from internet gaming for February 2021 while also accumulating $9.5M in gross receipts from online sports betting. These resulted in a total of $14.1M in tax revenues for the state.

Said Michigan Gaming Control Board executive director Richard S. Kalm:

“Michigan residents and visitors continued to show strong interest in internet gaming and sports betting during a snowy and cold February. “The internet gaming taxes more than tripled, but that’s what we expected with a full month of gaming. This means more funding for the City of Detroit, K-12 education, economic development and tribal communities.”

Little Revenue from Sports Betting

MotorCity Casino Hotel, which has FanDuel as its platform provider, collected the most bets for February 2021 with a total of $87.2M. MGM Grand Detroit, powered by BetMGM, came in second with $75.7M in total bets. The DraftKings powered Bay Mills took in $72.9M while Barstool Sports at Greektown Casino had an online handle of $40.3M last month.

Interestingly, only BetMGM posted positive receipts among the Top 3 with $5.3M in gross receipts and $2.4M in adjusted gain or $140,000 in tax payments. FanDuel reported an adjusted loss of $5.4M for February while DraftKings posted a $5.1M adjusted loss for the same month. Neither Fanduel and DaftKings reported any state tax payments for the second consecutive month.

Emerging as a Top Market

Combined with retail sports betting in casinos around the Wolverine State, Michigan sportsbooks saw a total of $325.6M in sports bets during the month of February. That’s the fifth largest total for any state for the month of February, making Michigan the 5th largest sports betting market in the United States, at least for the month.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins raved about his company’s early iGaming success in Michigan. Per Robins, Michigan’s iGaming handle per capita on Super Bowl Sunday was nearly twice the per capita handle New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia iGaming Apps for their first Super Bowl despite the three states going live for for an average of 179 days and Michigan going up for only 17 days on the average.

MGCB Approves the Launch of 11th Online Sports Betting Operator in Michigan

Person Browsing a Sports Betting Site on a Tablet
The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced on Monday that it has approved another online gambling operator in the Wolverine state.

Four Winds Casino received the green light to commence online gambling activities through its platform provider Pala Interactive LLC. The new online Michigan sports betting and online gaming operator was permitted to go live as of noon on Monday.

Said MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm in a statement:

“We welcome the addition of Four Winds Casinos and Pala Interactive to Michigan’s growing online gaming and sports wagering market. Their participation will generate revenue to support education, economic development and the Pokagon Band’s tribal community.”

Four Winds Casino Brand

The Four Winds Casino and Pala Interactive LLC partnership is the 11th online operator to offer Michigan sports betting and online gaming. The Four Winds Casino brand is operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. It currently has three properties in the western portion of the state near Lake Michigan, namely Dowagiac, Hartford, and New Buffalo.

Although the Four Winds and Pala partnership missed out on the Super Bowl, it will have three weeks to prepare for the next biggest sporting spectacle in the United States in the NCAA Basketball tournament. The University of Michigan Wolverines are one of the top basketball teams in college basketball and their success could spark March Madness bets in the state.

First State to Open Three Verticals Simultaneously

Michigan sports betting was legalized on December 20, 2019 after Bills S4916 and H4311 were passed and signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Physical sportsbooks became operational after the Michigan sports betting bills were signed. However, it was only last January 22, 2021 when online sports betting commenced in the Wolverine state.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has been tasked to administer and regulate Michigan sports betting and online gaming. So far, it has approved a total of 15 mobile gaming licenses. Online poker and online gaming also launched on January 22nd, marking the first time that a U.S. state chose to open the doors on the three verticals simultaneously.