Michigan Sportsbooks Set New Betting Handle Record for Second Consecutive Month

Jessica Aletor
By:
Jessica Aletor
26/12/2023/
Industry
Michigan Casino News

Highlights

  • Michigan online sportsbooks reported yet another record sports betting handle in November after accepting $568.8 million in wagers.
  • The total sports betting handle from the month, including from retail sportsbooks, amounted to $584.1 million.
  • Despite the improved amount of wagers accepted, online revenue was a rather meagre $33.9 million after sportsbooks combined for a hold of 6.3%.

Sports betting in Michigan was off to a great start at the beginning of the year, only for things to turn bleak as the year cut in half. Surprisingly, it appears the industry is off to a late boom this quarter as it has now reported back-to-back record-breaking months.

In October, Michigan sportsbooks accepted $551.1 million in wagers, which was at that point the highest ever monthly betting handle recorded.

However, in November, Michigan sportsbooks bested their previous record even as ESPN Bet made its debut in the state. Bettors got the most of operators, though, as hold dropped compared to recent months, leading to an even lower revenue.

Michigan Online Sportsbooks Generate Handle of $568.8 Million 

All 15 online sportsbooks in Michigan combined for a record-breaking betting handle of $568.8 million in November. In addition to wagers accepted from retail sports betting operators, the total betting handle in the Wolverine State rose to $584.1 million, also a state monthly record. November’s sports betting handle increased by 18.5% from the same month in the previous year when the state’s sportsbooks accepted wagers worth $480 million.

Total betting handle was $34 million more (approximately 6.7%) than October’s previous record-setting. October and November are the first months in the year and also the first months since October 2022 to see total wagering handle cross the $500 million mark.

Should accepted wagers from 2023 surpass the previous year, it would come as a surprise for most stakeholders, considering that figures from the first few months of this year had lagged behind 2022’s numbers.

Year-to-date mobile and online sports betting handle currently stands at $4.05 billion, 0.6% less than the first 11 months of 2022. Mathematically, the difference is around $25 million and another month of betting handle north of $500 million could see this year exceed the yearly total recorded in 2022. 

ESPN Bet Starts Off Strong with More Promotional Spend Than Competitors 

FanDuel Sportsbook MI remained the industry leader according to bets accepted in the month of November with a handle of $213 million. Its closest rival, DraftKings, rose to $151.8 million in betting handle but could barely close the gap between both operators. However, DraftKings Sportsbook MI bested FanDuel where it probably matters the most, that is in revenue.  

The Bay Mills tribal owned sportsbooks pooled in gross receipts of $10.5 million from its wagers while FanDuel dropped to an abysmal $9.7 million worth of betting revenue. Accounting for this complex difference is the betting hold of both sportsbooks. DraftKings came ahead with a betting hold of 7.0% while FanDuel could only manage to keep 4.6% of its bets.  

ESPN Bet, formerly Barstool Sports, pulled one of the biggest surprises of the month, as it launched midway into November. Barstool had ended October with a handle of $28 million and $1.3 million in revenue, its best month by wagers accepted since January. But thanks to a massive promotional spend of $16 million, the sportsbook ended the month with a handle of $49.8 million and $6 million in revenue.  

For context, ESPN Bet pooled more revenue than BetMGM Sportsbook Michigan, despite the latter having accepted $77.8 million in wagers. The revenue is also the highest ever for any Greektown online brand. On the flip side, the operator had to make do with negative $10.1 million in adjusted gross revenue from its promotional losses. Its promotional spend was more than FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM combined.  

Revenue Falls Below Expectation as Bettors Gained the Upper Hand in November  

Online revenue from Michigan sportsbooks was $33.9 million while total revenue from both retail and online operators stood at $37 million at the end of the month. Gross revenue dropped by 24.6% from October while adjusted gross revenue plunged beneath $295,000. Adjusted revenue was 98.7% lower than October and the lowest since February 2022.

All of these statistics are due to a decline in hold. Online betting hold fell from 8.4% in October to 6.3% in November. Retail hold was significantly better, though, with 20.3%. The online hold for the year now stands at 8.9%, about 0.25% higher than this same period in 2022.

Sportsbooks paid $856,825 in sports betting taxes to the state of Michigan while local authorities collected $323,590.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments