Michigan Casino Revenue Holds Strong Amidst Shakeups

The summer of 2023 brought a whirlwind of change for casinos & sportsbooks in Michigan as operators and platforms were switched out in the Wolverine State.
Michigan Casino Revenue Holds Strong Amidst Shakeups
By
August 29, 2023

Data from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) show the state’s commercial and tribal casinos are on familiar tracks in terms of revenue from online casino gaming and handle from online sports betting — despite a bevy of operators and platform changes this summer affecting both types of casinos in Michigan this year.

Michigan’s three commercial casinos have never trailed the 12 tribal casinos in the state by both metrics, but the handle remains close.

Online casino (and poker) revenue from the trio of commercial casinos — Hollywood Casino at Greektown (formerly Greektown Casino-Hotel), MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino — totaled $82.8 million in July, the most recent month with figures available from the MGCB. By comparison, the dozen tribal casinos made $70.7 million in July from online casino and poker.

The MGCB does not separate online poker revenue from casinos, so an exact breakdown by vertical is not possible.

Meanwhile, the commercial casinos accepted $114.6 million in wagers in July, while the tribal properties grossed $86.3 million. Since January, the commercial casinos have generated a $1.3 billion handle, while the tribal casinos have put up a handle of $940.2 million.

Tribal casinos remain close in terms of revenue and handle. They trailed by $12.1 million in terms of revenue from online casino and poker in July — much better than January, when they were down by $18.1 million, but not as good as May (down $10.8 million). The tribal casinos had $28.3 million less in online handle than their commercial rivals in July, but that was also better than January ($104.5 million) but not as good as June (down $24.9 million).

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Many Changes in 2023

An analysis of the revenue and handle data from the MGCB doesn’t tell the whole story. There have been big changes behind the scenes.

In late June, Fanatics prevailed in a bidding war for the US assets of PointsBet, agreeing to buy them for $225 million. Shareholders from Australia-based PointsBet approved the deal, which includes market access in Michigan through the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, which owns and operates Northern Waters Casino Resort.

That said, the transition from PointsBet to BetFanatics has not happened yet — as of Monday afternoon, PointsBet Sportsbook MI was online and still accepting wagers.

One month later, Flutter Entertainment and Fox Corporation announced that FOX Bet, their joint effort at a sportsbook, would no longer accept wagers and would cease operations entirely by August 31. The departure of FOX Bet leaves the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, which owns and operates the Odawa Casinos, without a sports betting partner.

Before the industry could process losing FOX Bet and PointsBet, Penn Entertainment announced a ten-year, $1.5 billion partnership with ESPN under which the operator would rebrand its Barstool Sportsbook as ESPN Bet. An exact date for the rebrand was not announced but is likely to occur before year’s end.

Three days after the Penn-ESPN was announced, Wynn Resorts said it would immediately shut down its WynnBET platform in eight states, but the parent company placed its operations in Michigan “under review,” presumably because Michigan is a large state for igaming.

Caesars Entertainment also recently launched a standalone online casino app called Caesars Palace Casino in multiple states, including Michigan.

In Michigan, Caesars is partnered with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, which owns and operates Turtle Creek Casino.

Learn more about the Best Online Casinos in Michigan and start playing!

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500

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