Sports Betting Handle and Revenue Soars in October Despite Detroit Strike



  • Online and retail sportsbooks in Michigan combined to amass a record-breaking $551.1 million in wagering handle for October.
  • The revenue from sports betting came to about $46.1 million, indicating an aggregate hold of 8.4% across 14 sportsbooks.
  • FanDuel Sportsbook emerged the leading sports betting operator both by handle and revenue in what turned out to be its best month.

Michigan sports betting had an abysmal run, with handle and revenue figures steadily declining over the course of the first eight months in 2023. However, September proved to be a turning point for the industry, a positive trend that has now been carried over into October.

Unlike the case with the revenue from Michigan online casinos, sportsbooks in the Great Lakes State managed to shatter an all-time record. This comes despite the Detroit casino workers’ strike that rendered most retail sportsbooks largely unprofitable for about 17 days in October. Many stakeholders believe that the Detroit Lions and Michigan Wolverines may have contributed to this feat.

Online Sportsbooks Generate Over $500 Million in Betting Handle for the First Time 

In October, Michigan online sportsbooks broke a 21-month record when they amassed over $500 million in online wagers. The former online betting handle record was set in January 2022 with a total of $496.8 million worth of bets collected.

All 14 online sportsbooks combined to report $533 million in wagering handle last month. When added to the wagering handle generated from retail sportsbooks, the total amount of wagers collected came to $551.1 million.

Compared to September 2023, October’s total wagering handle rose significantly by 15.8%. Online wagering handle also jumped by 10.9% from October 2022 when sportsbooks brought in wagers worth $480.8 million.

There has been a general uptick in sports betting handle across the country, though. Michigan managed to catch on quite earlier as its improved run started in September when the state witnessed a 25.6% year-over-year increase in online sports betting handle.

Despite the record-breaking month, Michigan’s growth pales in comparison to other states. New York, for instance, saw a 30% increase in online betting handle month-over-month, while New Jersey recorded a 25% jump on similar metrics in October.

Year-to-Date Betting Revenue Outpaces 2022’s Figures Despite Poor Start 

Sports betting hold fell from 9.6% in September to 8.4% in October. That meant total revenue across Michigan sportsbooks stood at $46.1 million, with $45 million of this figure coming from mobile sport betting operators.

The online revenue earned year-to-date is now $325.3 million. During the same period in 2022, Michigan sportsbooks could only manage a revenue of $309.9 million. This indicates that online revenue is up 5% from 2022, despite the poor start that the state’s sportsbooks had at the start of the year.

Quite shocking also is that year-to-date online sports betting handle is lower than handle for the same period in 2022. The simple interpretation is that sportsbooks paid out more to bettors last year than it has this year. Betting hold for the first 10 months of 2023 is 9.4% and this is in sharp contrast to a betting hold of 8.6% achieved between January and October 2022.

Performances from the Detroit Lions who currently top the NFC North standings and Michigan Wolverines have accounted for improved financials in October. Aggressive promotions and parlay wagers are also factors that have informed this increased revenues and betting handle.

FanDuel Retains Position as Sports Betting Leader with Record-Breaking Performance 

October was a rollercoaster for individual sportsbooks in Michigan. BetRivers Sportsbook MI seemed to have it worse as it recorded both its record betting handle and record revenue loss in October. The sportsbook received $45.5 million in bets but gave more to the public, subsequently ending up with a negative $749,275 revenue.

FanDuel Sportsbook MI further retained its position as Michigan’s number one sports betting operator. It reported an online handle of $173.4 million, surpassing its previous monthly handle record of $154.2 million by 12.4%. The sportsbook now accounts for about one-third of the total online handle generated across Michigan with its $1.18 billion online handle year-to-date.

DraftKings Sportsbook MI ($147.4 million), Four Winds Sportsbook ($1.2 million) and Caesars Sportsbook Michigan ($42 million) also reported record monthly online betting handles.

On the flip side, PointsBet Sportsbook MI, which finished October with its best betting handle all-year ($12.5 million) and a positive monthly revenue, ended up with a negative adjusted gross revenue. SI Sportsbook and FireKeepers also faced the same fate.

All sportsbooks combined to pay $1.8 million in sports betting taxes to the state and another $715,736 to local authorities for October.

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, and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments