Tribal Casinos Gain Ground on Michigan’s Commercial Operators

Data show three commercial casinos in the state still lead 12 tribal casinos in terms of online casino revenue and handle from online sports betting. But both leads are narrowing.
Tribal Casinos Gain Ground on Michigan's Commercial Operators
By
May 24, 2023

Since igaming in Michigan launched at the start of 2021, three of the state’s commercial casinos have never trailed the 12 tribal casinos in terms of revenue from online casino gaming or handle from online sports betting.

The commercial properties have never trailed — but data from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) show their lead in both categories narrowed to the lowest point in months.

Only two tribal operators — Caesars Casino MI and WynnBET Casino — reported a month-to-month increase in online casino revenue in April. That helped close the gap with the three operators partnered with a commercial casino.

Meanwhile, another operator paired with a tribal casino, Golden Nugget Sportsbook, was the only mobile sportsbook in Michigan to see an increase in handle in April — and helped narrow the advantage held by sportsbooks at the three commercial properties.

Michigan online casino revenue data from the state’s regulator includes online poker. Since the MGCB does not separate online poker revenue from online casino revenue, the total contribution of online poker is not known.

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Caesars, WynnBET Increased Revenue

According to the MGCB, the three commercial casinos in Michigan — Hollywood Casino at Greektown (formerly Greektown Casino-Hotel), MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino — generated $86.3 million in online casino revenue in April. That translated to an 8.9% decline from March ($94.7 million) but also a 13.3% increase year-over-year ($76.2 million).

BetMGM Casino MI, which is on the land-based license of MGM Grand, had by far the most online casino revenue in April, with $51.2 million. FanDuel Casino MI, on the MotorCity license, was second with $31.2 million in revenue, while Hollywood’s partner, Barstool Casino, was in third with $3.8 million.

Although all three commercial operators saw revenue decline month-over-month, Barstool saw the steepest loss (12.6%) followed by BetMGM (8.9%) and FanDuel (8.3%).

On the tribal side, 12 online casino operators combined to gross $73 million in April, down 5.2% month-over-month ($77.1 million) but up 30% from the year-ago month ($56.2 million), MGCB data show.

DraftKings Casino MI, partnered with Bay Mills Resort & Casino, led the tribal group with $28.1 million in online casino revenue in April. Caesars Casino ($8.7 million), BetRivers Casino MI ($8.3 million), Golden Nugget ($6.9 million), and WynnBET Casino ($5.7 million) were the next operators in terms of online casino revenue — but only Caesars and WynnBET saw revenue increase month-over-month, by 21.9% and 20.6%, respectively.

Tribal casinos trailed their commercial counterparts by $13.3 million in terms of online casino revenue in April. That was the smallest gap since January 2022, when the commercial properties were ahead by $11.5 million.

Golden Nugget Sees Increased Handle

Handle from online sportsbooks partnered with the three commercial properties also outpaced the sportsbooks of tribal casinos — but their lead narrowed in April.

MGCB data show handle from FanDuel Sportsbook MI led the commercial trio (and all others) with a $114.9 million handle in April. DraftKings Sportsbook MI led the tribal sportsbooks by handling $86.3 million in sports wagers.

FanDuel got a boost from Barstool Sports ($16.8 million) and BetMGM Sportsbook ($55.1 million) to help push the handle from the commercial properties to $186.8 million. Handle was down 23.7% month-over-month ($244.6 million), but it was also down 22% from one year ago ($239.4 million).

Online sportsbooks partnered with Michigan’s tribal casinos saw a $136.1 million handle in April, down 16.6% month-over-month ($163.1 million) but up 3.3% from April 2022 ($131.8 million).

Golden Nugget Sportsbook was the only sportsbook to see handle increase in April. The operator handled $1.6 million in online wagers, up 7.5% from the month prior ($1.5 million).

The gap in handle between sportsbooks partnered with commercial or tribal casinos narrowed to $50.1 million in April. It was the lowest gap since September 2022, when it was $42.4 million.

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