Michigan Is Proof Both Retail And Online Casinos Can Flourish

Written By Corey Sharp on April 11, 2024
Two rocks perfectly balanced in front of a backdrop of Michigan's Mackinac Bridge. One rock is labelled Detroit casinos. The other is labelled online casinos. Strong revenue by online casinos and Detroit retail casinos proves both can flourish and cannibalization concerns are overblown.

Michigan is proof that both online and retail casinos can thrive.

There has been fear that online casinos cannibalize retail properties in states across the country, especially in New Jersey. And, that concern is one reason more states haven’t legalized online casinos.

Uneasy lawmakers need only look at Michigan to see both can flourish.

A PlayMichigan analysis finds the proof is in the numbers.

Both Michigan’s online platforms and the three Detroit retail casinos have both posted impressive revenue numbers lately.

Michigan online casinos recorded a state record in February revenue, while Detroit casinos turned in the best month in more than four years in March.

That alone indicates that online and retail casinos in Michigan are coexisting just fine.

Both casino verticals post near record revenue totals over last two months

bar graph showing Michigan online casinos vs. Detroit casinos in average monthly revenue 2022-2024

Questions may have started to surface in Michigan, too, about the cannibalization debate. January and February revenue for Detroit casinos was soft. However, casinos rebounded in a big way in March.

For all of the talk of online casinos impacting the land-based business, Michigan is showing that both verticals are performing well during the same period of time.

Three Detroit casinos combined for $122.3 million in revenue from slots, table games and poker last month. Casinos had not produced earnings of that nature since December 2019, when they generated $127.7 million. It was also the casinos’ best March since 2019 which produced an all-time monthly record of $140.4 million.

Through three months of 2024, Detroit casinos are averaging nearly $107 million a month, which is greater than the previous two years.

While Detroit casinos are more than holding their own, it’s no secret that online casinos in Michigan have skyrocketed. The Great Lakes State launched iGaming in January 2021 and has reached new heights in each year.

Average monthly revenue from online casinos has increased from $122 million in 2022 to nearly $185 million through the first two months of 2024. Michigan recorded a state record $188 million in February revenue.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is releasing online casino revenue next week, which should continue to be around the $185 million mark, if not higher.

Michigan tax revenue up 18.5% in two years

bar graph showing Michigan average monthly gambling tax revenue 2022-2024

While both retail and online operators benefit from huge revenue totals, residents all across Michigan are also reaping the benefits. First responders and schools throughout Michigan are the major beneficiaries of gambling tax revenue.

Because of the success of online and retail casinos, average monthly gambling tax revenue is up 18.5% from 2022.

That is a net benefit to Michigan residents as gambling revenue continues to flourish and the proceeds of it are distributed to good causes within the state.

Meanwhile, the numbers further prove retail and online casino players are different customer bases.

According to a recent study from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG), just 7% of customers play both online and at retail casinos. The vast majority are participating in one or the other.

Two of the three Detroit casinos, MGM Grand Detroit and Hollywood Casino at Greektown, also operate online casinos. That can help both properties reach more customers, especially because they are doing one form of gaming or the other.

Whether it’s iGaming, retail casinos or gambling taxes, each category is experiencing growth within Michigan.

Photo by PlayMichigan
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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.

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