October’s Sports Bonanza Fuels Michigan Online Sportsbooks

Revenue hit $49.3 million, the second-highest month on record. Sportsbooks also accepted $480.8 million in online wagers, making October the third-highest month for handle.
October's Sports Bonanza Fuels Michigan's Online Sportsbooks
December 02, 2022

Michigan bettors came out in force in October, driving the MI sportsbooks market to its second-highest mark for monthly revenue and its third-highest mark for handle, data from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) show.

Revenue was up 3% month-over-month and hit $49.3 million in October, but the handle had a more impressive rise — surging 32% to $480.8 million, according to the MGCB.

The increases were not unexpected, considering October is one of the most significant months for sports. An entire month of college and NFL football action were available for bettors, as was the MLB postseason and the start of the NHL season — both of which began on October 7. The NBA season also started on October 18.

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Revenue, Handle Rebound From Summer Lows

October marked an excellent rebound from the summer doldrums in terms of revenue and handle.

In June, revenue from online sports betting totaled just $15.7 million. It was the lowest month for revenue since February 2021 — the second month that the season was open — when revenue topped $9.7 million. To date, revenue peaked in November 2021 at $54.1 million.

On the handle side, Michigan’s online sportsbooks accepted $206.1 million in wagers in July — the lowest mark for handle since August 2021 ($192.3 million). The online handle was at its zenith in January 2022 ($496.8 million). The second-highest month for handle was December 2021 ($484.6 million).

MGCB data show that in October, handle more than doubled from July, while revenue more than tripled from June.

Five Top Operators Dominate

Although there are 15 active online sportsbooks in Michigan, most of the revenue and handle are generated by just three operators — BetMGM Sportsbook MI, FanDuel Sportsbook MI, and DraftKings Sportsbook MI. Together, the trio accounted for 82.6% of revenue and 77.4% of the handle in October.

To further illustrate how many small online books are out there, if the following two operators in terms of revenue and handle — Barstool Sportsbook MI and Caesars Sportsbook MI — were added to the top three, the group of five would collectively make up 95.6% of revenue and 92.1% of the handle.

The top online sportsbook in the state, FanDuel, had a record revenue of $20.9 million and a record handle of $145.4 million in October. Revenue was up 10% month-over-month ($19 million), while handle was up 36.7% ($106.3 million). FanDuel operates under the MotorCity Casino license.

BetMGM also saw monthly increases. The operator, which partners with MGM Grand Detroit, grossed $10 million in October, a 1.5% uptick from September ($9.8 million). But handle surged 30.7% month-to-month to $97.8 million, up from $74.8 million.

October was a mixed bag for DraftKings, which operates on the Bay Mills Resort & Casino license.

While monthly revenue ($9.9 million) was down 6% month-over-month ($10.5 million), handle was up 19.6% — hitting $129.4 million in October, compared to $108.2 million in September. It was DraftKings’ second-best month for handle, trailing only January 2022 ($132 million).

Trends Continued in October

October was a month of continuing trends for many of Michigan’s smaller online sportsbooks.

Five operators — BetRivers ($7.4 million), FOX Bet ($3 million), FourWinds ($845k), Golden Nugget ($1 million), and PointsBet ($14.6 million) — saw handle increase for a third consecutive month. betPARX ($1.6 million) was even more impressive with a five-month run.

Caesars Sportsbook MI had a record handle of $40.1 million in October. PlayEagle also set a record with $1.8 million. FireKeepers had its second-highest month for handle at $2.4 million.

In a potentially troubling sign, FOX Bet posted a record-low revenue of $68k in October. Questions about the brand’s future have been swirling since an arbitrator ruled in early November that Fox Corporation can acquire a stake in FanDuel.

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