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Michigan Sports Betting Handle Tops $497 Million For March


The Michigan Gaming Control Board reported sports betting handle totaling $497.6 million for March as operators totaled $43.5 million in gross revenue.

Handle was up 18% compared to the $421.7 million in wagers from March 2023 as both Michigan State and Oakland University reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Golden Grizzlies were one of the darlings of March Madness, upsetting Kentucky as a 14 seed and falling in overtime to eventual Final Four participant and 11th-seeded North Carolina State in the Round of 32.

Gross winnings were down 5.4% compared to 12 months prior as the 8.8% hold was more than two full percentage points lower. After counting deductions for promotional credits and bonuses, operator loss carryover from previous months and the federal excise tax, the state was eligible to tax $28.3 million worth of adjusted gross sports betting revenue. That led to an inflow of $1.7 million into state coffers, while the city of Detroit received nearly $737,000.

Despite gross revenue up 18.6% to $122.1 million in the first quarter of this year compared to 2023, adjusted revenue is up only 1% to $60.4 million as deductions have outpaced taxable revenue by roughly $1.3 million this year.

Some of that is due to ESPN BET carrying over losses from its heavy promotional spend in November and December upon launching its sports betting app, as well as Fanatics Sportsbook, which began taking bets in late February and had welcome offers to attract business.

Caesars and ESPN BET vie for No. 4 handle spot

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The top of Michigan’s pecking order for sports betting apps has been long and well-established with FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM owning the podium spots. After ESPN BET’s big splash upon entry, it is now locked in a clash with Caesars for the top of the second tier.

Caesars fended off the PENN Entertainment-owned sportsbook by $795,000 in handle, accepting $31.5 million worth of wagers. ESPN BET, though, had the better end result of the pair for March, crafting a 7.9% win rate to reap $2.4 million in gross revenue to Caesars’ $1.5 million from a 4.6% hold.

ESPN BET finished with $874,000 in adjusted gross revenue, reducing its 2024 deficit to $203,175. March was the first month ESPN BET finished with positive AGR after amassing a deficit of minus-$15.3 million since entering the Wolverine State. ESPN BET posted $17.3 million in gross revenue in its first five months while attaining a 7.9% hold.

FanDuel avoided its first back-to-back months with a sub-10% hold since a four-month run from December 2021 to March 2022, barely reaching double digits with $18.6 million in winnings from $186.2 million handle.

That pushed the online juggernaut above $500 million in all-time revenue while also crossing $4.5 billion in total handle since launch.

DraftKings extended its streak of $10 million in monthly winnings to seven, clearing the benchmark by $861,000 thanks to an 8.6% win rate from $126.7 million handle. It has accepted $400 million worth of bets through the first quarter of the year, up 31% from the same span in 2023.

BetMGM had its best hold of the young year at 9.3% in reaping $6.1 million worth of revenue from $66 million handle. Its 2024 totals, however, were down notably from March 2023 with winnings down 37.2% and handle off 13.6%. The year-over-year win rate was off by nearly 2.5 percentage points.

Fanatics Sportsbook’s first full month of action in the Wolverine State after migrating its platform from acquisition and predecessor PointsBet was largely positive. The $19.3 million handle was the highest by either licensee since PointsBet accepted $28.2 million worth of bets in December 2021, and Fanatics had a 7% hold in collecting $1.4 million in winnings.

It did finish with a small deficit in AGR at -$38,109, which made the overall deficit the last two months $331,396 as Fanatics took its first bets Feb. 22.

Fanatics pushed down BetRivers to seventh for handle among operators as the Rush Street platform accepted $11.6 million in bets. It was the sixth straight month BetRivers finished with a sub-6.5% win rate as the 5.7% win rate allowed it to top $650,000 in gross winnings.

Overall, mobile operators claimed $41.9 million in gross revenue from $480.4 million handle, good for an 8.7% hold. It was the fourth straight month the online win rate topped the 7% industry standard as the mobile hold in the first quarter was 8.2%, resulting in $120.1 million in winnings from $1.46 billion worth of wagers.

Greektown nearing break-even mark

The $1.6 million in retail revenue was a strong bounce back from the loss of $120,142 reported in February as Detroit’s three brick-and-mortar venues combined for a 9.3% hold from $17.3 million handle.

Greektown Casino, which began the year with a loss of more than $1 million in January, knocked out a large chunk of the deficit by winning $731,400 in March. It is now down $175,000 for the year.

MotorCity Casino, which has FanDuel running its brick-and-mortar sportsbook, had the best hold of the three Detroit casinos at 13.7%. It claimed $546,000 in revenue from $4 million handle and leads the trio with $1.6 million in winnings.

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