Michigan iGaming Revenue Outpaces Casinos in February

Michigan iGaming Revenue Outpaces Casinos in February

Normally, a state that implements internet gambling – sports betting, online casinos, online poker, or all three – sees a steady growth in the market. Of course, there are new players excited to be able to access their favorite games online, but the player base takes a while to grow.

That is not the case in a pandemic. Land-based gambling remains limited in states like Michigan. The waves of Covid-19 cases continue to compel many businesses to proceed with caution when reopening, and casinos are certainly among those businesses. February was another setback in the reopening process.

For example, the total amount wagered at the three Detroit casinos in February 2021 was $23,711,983, which was down 33.5% from January. The total adjusted gross receipts figure wasn’t nearly as bad, as the $86,461,688 was down only 0.37% from the previous month. And the Michigan Gaming Control Board attributed some of that loss to a decrease in retail sports betting.

As for internet gaming, that part of the industry showed $89.2M in revenue for February in comparison to the $86.4M total for land-based casino gambling. That’s one way to demonstrate worth right out of the gate.

First Full Month of Internet Gaming

Last month was the first month that internet gaming became a real factor in Michigan’s gambling revenue. The online casino sites operated for ten days in January, and the singular online poker operator – PokerStars – launched on January 29 for three days of action.

As we reported, the sites delivered:

–Total igaming gross receipts: $29,354,294.98

–Total igaming state tax payments: $4,285,722.64

Those sites then operated for the full month of February. Though that month only consisted of 28 days, it gives some idea of what Michigan can expect from the burgeoning industry. Its first full month offered these figures from February 2021:

–Total igaming gross receipts: $79,729,343.32

–Total adjusted gross receipts: $$75,188,016.02

–Total igaming state tax payments: $14,031,628.54

At this point, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) doesn’t separate online poker from other forms of internet gaming. Hopefully, they will show poker rake and fees separately at some point.

What is known is that PokerStars partners with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, which put them in the top five of the 11 tribes and casinos currently partnered with online gaming operators. For February, the top revenue earners were:

–BetMGM with MGM Grand in Detroit: $26.9M

–FanDuel with MotorCity in Detroit: $16.6M

–DraftKings with Bay Mills Indian Community: $14.5M

–PokerStars and FOX Bet with Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians: $5.7M

–BetRivers with Little River Band of Ottawa Indians: $5.2M

First Full Month of Internet Sports Betting

The bettors had been chomping at the bit to log some sports wagers online. And they did so in massive numbers in February.

–Total internet sports betting handle: $301,857,053.99

–Total gross internet sports betting receipts: $9,472,018.72

–Total internet sports betting state tax payment: $142,239.58

Judging by handle, MotorCity Casino took in the most online bets in February with $87M. MGM Grand Detroit followed with $75M and Bay Mills Indian Community with $73M.

Second Poker Site on Its Way

The word on the street is that BetMGM will be the next operator to launch online poker in Michigan.

Pokerfuse broke the story on February 11, reporting that BetMGM Poker MI would launch in February. Since the company already operates an online casino and a sports betting platform in Michigan, both of which are live, BetMGM plans to add online poker to its offerings. It will do so in conjunction with PartyPoker’s US network.

More than halfway through March, though, PokerStars remains the sole poker operator online in Michigan. Neither BetMGM nor WSOP have indicated their readiness to launch in Michigan, much the same as has been their notable absence from the Pennsylvania market.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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