March Handle Increases Nearly 20% MoM In Michigan Thanks To NCAA Tournament

Written By Corey Sharp on April 17, 2024
Zach Edey dunks during the second half of a Sweet 16 college basketball game against Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Detroit. Michigan recorded the best month of March in its history because of the NCAA Tournament and playing host to Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games.

While the NFL season is completely in the rearview, March Madness brought Michigan sports betting back near the $500 million mark in handle last month.

Michigan sportsbooks recorded $497.6 million in total bets in March, which is a 19.7% month-over-month increase and an 18% year-over-year increase. Though it came close, it’s the sixth straight month Michigan online sports betting failed to cross $500 million in handle.

While March doesn’t produce the handle of a full slate of NFL games, it’s one of the best months outside of football. And last month was the best March in Michigan sports betting history.

Online sports betting handle alone was 96.5% of the total sports bets made in the state (counting retail and online sportsbooks together).

March 2024 Michigan sports betting revenue numbers

bar graph showing Michigan sports betting handle for March

Here are the top-line numbers for Michigan sports betting in March from the Michigan Gaming Control Board:

  • Handle: $497.6 million ($480.4 million online)
  • Revenue: $43.5 million ($41.9 million online)
  • Hold: 8.7% (up from 7.3% last month)
  • Month-over-month: Handle increased 19.7%
  • Sports betting taxes: $2.47 million, total, to state and local taxes.
  • Top online sports betting app by handle: FanDuel Sportsbook MI with $190.2 million
  • Top online sports betting app by revenue: FanDuel Sportsbook MI with $19.2 million

bar graph showing Michigan sports betting handle January 2023 - March 2024

Three takeaways from March sports betting revenue report

Fanatics’ first full month operating in Michigan

Fanatics completed its first full month in the Great Lakes State, generating $19.3 million in total bets last month. Despite the total being rather low, it already finished ahead of BetRivers, which produced $11.6 million in handle.

Fanatics, after taking over PointsBet in late February, has a steep mountain to climb. FanDuel and DraftKings, alone, accounted for 63.7% of market share in March. Including BetMGM, ESPN BET and Caesars, those five operators made up 92.1% of the market.

It’s going to be difficult for Fanatics to crack the top five in Michigan, who make up nearly the entire handle in the state. However, if Fanatics has one thing going for them, it’s an established brand.

Fanatics sat more than $12 million behind the fifth spot, occupied by Caesars last month. The new operator is hoping to close the gap in April.

Detroit played host to three NCAA Tournament games

Perhaps the excitement March Madness brings helped produce the best March ever in the Great Lakes State. Two Michigan teams, Michigan State and Oakland, each won a game in the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Bears captured the hearts of many in the state, upsetting Kentucky as a 14-seed in the first round.

Detroit also played host to the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8 rounds last month. It brought the national finalists, Purdue, to Little Caesars Arena, along with strong programs such as Gonzaga, Tennessee and Creighton.

Purdue obviously attracted tons of attention as the second No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed the year prior. It won both games in Detroit as a No. 1 seed again this year, with 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey leading the team.

ESPN BET handle fluctuates back and forth

ESPN BET, which took over for Barstool in mid-November, has been up and down to begin its tenure in Michigan. The operator recorded $40.3 million in March handle, up from February’s $35.8 million.

While it’s a good sign ESPN improved month-over-month, its been all over the map in terms of handle. Here are the results since December 2023:

  • December: $65.2 million
  • January: $61.3 million
  • February: $35.8 million
  • March: $40.3 million

It’s no secret that ESPN BET went wild on promo spending in December and January to establish itself. While it had to dial it back in recent months, February took a steep dip. However, March is an indication that the operator is gaining its footing without large amounts of promo spend.

March 2024 total sports betting revenue in Michigan by operator

LicenseeOnline BrandHandleRevenueHoldTaxes
Bay MillsDraftKings$126,684,049$10,861,4158.60%$573,461
MGM Grand DetroitBetMGM$69,654,953$6,431,8459.20%$465,058
GreektownESPN Bet$40,297,236$3,147,3027.80%$61,437
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and ChippewaCaesars$31,521,766$1,451,2204.60%$60,508
Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior ChippewaFanatics$19,342,720$1,357,4417.00%$0
Little River Band of OttawaBetRivers$11,557,784$652,9625.60%$0
Sagniaw ChippewaEagle$2,898,354$168,2045.80%$0
Nottawaseppi Huron Band of PotawatomiFireKeepers$1,665,253$2,4750.10%$0
Pokagon Band of PotawatomiFour Winds$1,129,692$67,5736.00%$0
Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of PottawatomibetParx$1,089,015$94,2688.70%$0
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of ChippewaWynnBet$134,193$5,7784.30%$485
Photo by Paul Sancya / AP Photo
Corey Sharp Avatar
Written by
Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp joined Catena Media in 2022 and is the go-to expert for Michigan gambling. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, he previously worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia as a sports journalist and content producer. In Corey’s role as Lead Writer for PlayMichigan, he works alongside a talented team of expert journalists and analysts to bring you the most comprehensive and accurate coverage of gambling news in Michigan. Corey’s contacts around the industry makes him a trusted source. Corey produces daily stories and features about the gambling space. Corey graduated from Holy Family University in Philadelphia with a bachelor’s degree in sports management.

View all posts by Corey Sharp
Privacy Policy