$24.2 Million March Retail Handle Closes Year 1 Of Sports Betting For Detroit Casinos

Written By Matt Schoch on April 13, 2021
Michigan Sports Betting Handle March 2021

Although it was a complicated year, we now have a full calendar’s snapshot of the Michigan sports betting handle total from physical downtown Detroit locations.

With March’s numbers of revenue reported Tuesday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, more than $214.4 million of sports bets have been made at Greektown Casino, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino since last year’s March 11 sports betting launch.

In all, $25.3 million of retail revenue has been raised by the casinos since the launch, and $961,063 in state taxes and $1.2 million in taxes to the city of Detroit have been paid.

Of course, the coronavirus pandemic turned the annual sports calendar upside-down. Five days after sports betting launched, the Detroit casinos closed for nearly five months. They were then closed for a shorter period again over the winter. They have resumed operations, albeit with restrictions, since right before Christmas.

These numbers don’t account for betting done at physical tribal casinos across the state, which do not report MI sports betting numbers. They also don’t include bets made though legal online sports betting operators. Those monthly totals will be released later in April.

Greektown Casino takes most monthly sports bets for first time

March Madness was certainly one of the drivers of March sports betting handle, which reached $24.2 million in the three casinos.

Of the three, Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown led the way with $9.5 million of the Michigan sports betting handle, a 39.1% market share. BetMGM Sportsbook at MGM Grand was second at $7.5 million, good for a 30.9% share. FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity was third with $7.3 million of sports bets for a 30.0% share.

This was the first month that Greektown led the way in retail sports betting handle. MGM had the lead for the first five months of reported handle, and MotorCity took the top spot for the past three months.

CasinoHandleRevenueState tax (3.78%)City of Detroit tax (4.62%)
Greektown Casino-Hotel$9,470,669$825,479$31,203$38,137
MGM Grand Detroit$7,487,916$868,206$32,818$40,111
MotorCity Casino$7,283,146$1,276,470$48,251$58,973

In March, the Detroit casinos earned just shy of $3.0 million in sports betting revenue and paid more than $112,272 in taxes to the state and $137,221 to the city from wagering.

The March sports betting figures were up across the board from February, when the Detroit casinos reported a collective $77,627 loss. Sporting events such as Super Bowl LV went in the favor of the betting public.

In February, $23.7 million was wagered in Detroit’s retail sportsbooks, meaning there was a slight 2.2% increase in handle.

March online sports betting numbers for Michigan due soon

March was also the second full month that Michigan offered online sports betting, which launched Jan. 22.

Through the state’s first 38 days of online sports betting, $417.0 million was wagered on Michigan’s 12 legal sports betting apps.

Numbers for March should be released soon — perhaps as early as this week, according to the MGCB.

Detroit table games, slots revenue rises 93% from March 2020

After a year of wondering just how much casino revenue would drop year-over-year during the COVID-19 pandemic, March provided a little relief from that pattern.

In Detroit, the casinos earned $113.8 million of March revenue. The revenue from table games and slots was up 93% from last year, when the casinos were closed half the month. March was also up 28.2% in slots and table games revenue from February.

Table games and slots revenue was down 5.1% for the first quarter of 2021, compared with 2020.

MGM Grand had a 39% overall market revenue share, followed closely by MotorCity (38%) and Greektown (23%).

Fantasy sports operators raise $1 million in February revenue

The MGCB also reported revenue Tuesday from fantasy sports contests, noting operators earned $1.0 million in revenue and paid $87,004 in state taxes.

DraftKings took $595,481 in revenue, while FanDuel was second at $499,863. Those operators accounted for more than 100% of the total revenue, because of another operator reporting a loss.

Photo by Carlos Osorio/AP
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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