Michigan’s three commercial casinos in Detroit have been grossing, on average, less than $20 million in additional monthly revenue in Michigan online poker apps and online casino sites, according to data from the first 18 months of the market’s existence.
During that same 18-month timeframe, the commercial casinos — Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino partnered with Barstool, BetMGM, and FanDuel, respectively — have also led as many as 12 tribal operators across the state in terms of handle from sports betting.
Although the commercial properties’ have never trailed in online handle, their lead has fluctuated. Considering that there are currently eight times as many Class III casinos (24) run by tribal operators compared to commercial casinos (3), and that some heavy-hitter online sportsbooks have partnered with tribes in the Great Lakes State, it’s plausible that the tribal casinos could overtake their commercial rivals in handle from time to time.
Commercial Online Casino Revenue Down 4.3% in June
The three commercial real money online casinos in Michigan had $70 million in revenue in June, according to data from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). Revenue was down 4.3% month-over-month ($73.1 million) but was up 36.1% year-over-year ($51.4 million). The Detroit casinos had their best month for online casino revenue in April 2022 ($76.2 million).
Meanwhile, in June, the 12 tribal casino operators collectively had $51.5 million in online casino revenue. That marked a 5.1% decline from May ($54.3 million) but also a 36.3% increase from June 2021 ($37.8 million). The tribes also had their best month to date in April 2022, when they grossed $56.2 million.
In terms of handle from online sports betting, the three commercial casinos processed $161.5 million in wagers in June, compared to $108.5 million at tribal casinos. That represented a 23.9% month-over-month decline ($212.1 million) for the commercial trio and a 10.5% slide month-to-month for tribal operators.
Commercial sportsbooks had a peak handle of $293.6 million in January 2022. Tribal operators had their best mark for handle two months earlier, in November 2021 ($216.5 million).
Patterns Beginning to Emerge
With 18 months of data now available, some patterns have emerged.
For starters, the commercial casinos have led their rivals at tribal casinos from the get-go regarding online casino revenue and handle from online sports betting. But the commercial casinos have never led by $20,000 or more in any given month for revenue, and the gap with tribal casinos has been shrinking for the past three months.
The closest both sides came in online casino revenue was January 2021 ($6.1 million), and the widest they were apart was April 2022 ($20 million, by rounding).
Regarding handle, online sportsbooks at tribal casinos were down just $16.6 million to their commercial counterparts in August 2021. But commercial sportsbooks had a colossal lead just five months earlier — $119.3 million in March 2021.
|BetRivers||Little River Band of Ottawa Indians||Little River Casino Resort|
|DraftKings||Bay Mills Indian Community||Bay Mills Resort & Casino|
|GAN||Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan||Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort|
|Golden Nugget||Keweenaw Bay Indian Community||Ojibwa Casino|
|NYX Digital||Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi||FireKeepers Casino|
|Pala||Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians||Four Winds Casinos|
|Parx||Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians||Gun Lake Casino|
|Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians||Odawa Casinos|
|PointsBet||Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians||Northern Waters Casino Resort|
|TwinSpires||Hannahville Indian Community||Island Resort & Casino|
|Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians||Turtle Creek Casino|
|WynnBET||Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians||Kewadin Casinos|
(1) = PokerStars for online casino and poker, and FOX Bet for sports betting.
(2) = WSOP for online poker, and Caesars for online casino and sports betting.