Detroit Casinos: Sports Betting Handle Down 17% in May To $20.2 Million

Written By Matt Schoch on June 8, 2021
Detroit Sportsbooks May 2021 Revenue 02.jpg

After three months of steady sports betting handle at the Detroit casinos, the May numbers ticked back 17% from April.

Greektown CasinoMGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino accepted $20.2 million in sports bets in May after three consecutive months coming within $1 million of the $24 million range.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board released the May sports betting numbers after its public meeting Tuesday.

Barstool Sportsbook first to worst; BetMGM climbs to top

In the horse race for the city’s most popular retail sportsbook, the May order completely flipped from April, as the casino with the lowest handle jumped to highest and vice versa.

After two months in the top spot, the Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown slid to third place in handle, taking $5.8 million in bets (a 28.6% market share). The BetMGM Sportsbook led the way with $7.9 million in bets (39.4% share), and FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino was second with $6.5 million in bets (32.1% share).

LicenseeRetail HandleRevenue (GGR)PromosState TaxLocal Tax
MGM Grand$7,948,435$402,820$597$15,204$18,610

MotorCity leads the year-to-date race with $46.6 million in wagers (36.4% market share), followed by Greektown ($41.4 million, 32.3% share) and MGM Grand ($40.1 million, 31.3% share).

For the year, Detroit casinos have now taken $128.2 million in sports bets, nearly hitting the 2020 amount of $130.8 million from the sector’s first year. Of course, 2020 featured a March launch, a nearly five-month pandemic shutdown, and then limited capacity in the Detroit casinos for most of football season.

Tribal casinos across the state also take sports bets on site, but those numbers aren’t reported by the MGCB. Since January 2021, Michigan sports betting has also included online wagers. Through April, $1.03 billion was wagered online on sports in Michigan.

Sports betting revenue, tax payments up from April

The casinos reported $1.8 million in gross receipts from sports betting, up from $1.5 million in April.

From May, the Detroit casinos paid $66,096 in retail sports betting taxes to the state and reported submitting $80,784 in taxes to the city of Detroit. Those numbers are up from April.

Detroit casinos lifted the mask requirement for fully vaccinated individuals on June 1.

As for overall casino revenue, MGM Grand Detroit had a 42% market share of the $109.7 million the halls brought in. MotorCity was at 36% market share and Greektown earned 22%.

The $109.7 million of May revenue was down 12.8% from May 2019 when casinos were not under any pandemic restrictions. The Detroit casinos were closed in May 2020.

DraftKings again leads fantasy contests revenue

The MGCB also reported fantasy contest operator revenue and taxes from April. (Fantasy contest numbers run a month behind reporting for other revenue sources.)

In all, $1.5 million of revenue was earned and $124,727 in state tax revenue. DraftKings had $784,302 in April revenue (52.8% market share) to lead the way, and FanDuel was second at $675,118 (45.5% share).

Through April, fantasy contests reported $5.7 million in revenue and paid $480,199 in taxes for 2021.

Resolution removes red tape for some non-gaming vendors

At Tuesday’s meeting, the MGCB adopted a resolution to allow businesses to conduct up to $100,000 in non-gaming business with Detroit casinos in a 12-month period without notifying the board. The MGCB also will grant longer, five-year licensing exemptions to non-gaming vendors.

“The changes approved by a 4-0 Board vote allow more small businesses to supply things like food and beverages, snow removal or laundry services to the Detroit casinos without disclosing information to the MGCB,” said Henry Williams, MGCB executive director, in a news release. “If you are a non-gaming vendor already registered for internet casino gaming or online sports betting, your firm can provide up to $400,000 in goods and services to each Detroit casino and skip added paperwork.”

Williams was attending his first regular meeting since taking over as executive director last month.

Photo by Associated Press file
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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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