Detroit Sportsbooks Take First Monthly Loss Thanks To Brady, Wolverines Hoops

Written By Matt Schoch on March 9, 2021
Michigan sports betting February

For the first time since Detroit casinos opened sportsbooks nearly a year ago, Michigan sports bettors beat the house in February.

The downtown sportsbooks combined for a net loss of $77,627 after a month in which $23.7 million was bet on sports. Tax revenue was also down substantially, as less than $10,000 was collected for public coffers.

For the second straight month, MotorCity Casino reported the most sports betting handle at $11.2 million, a 47.4% market share at its FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino.

The month was highlighted by Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 and was the first full month that Detroit sportsbooks operated alongside the newly launched online sports betting market. A local hero lifting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the NFL title, along with some local college basketball success, helped lift local bettors.

Detroit retail sportsbooks at a glance

MGM Grand Detroit had the most sports betting handle in each of the reported 2020 months and was second in February with $6.7 million in sports betting handle, a 28.2% market share.

MotorCity stacking a second month at the top of the market could be an indication of a takeover, though FanDuel Regional Manager Jeff Hoose acknowledged a tough fight will continue.

“We have some great competition, it’s a highly competitive market,” Hoose told Playinmichigan on Tuesday. “We’re going to try and continue to deliver the best product and the best service to our players, and we expect every month to be a fight.”

Greektown Casino was third in February with a handle of $5.8 million, 24.4% of the market share. Greektown was the only one of the trio to report positive sports betting revenue in Michigan. The nearly $115,000 earned resulted in $4,340 in state taxes paid. The city of Detroit raised $5,304 in taxes from the month.

Casino Handle Revenue State tax (3.78%) City of Detroit tax (4.62%)
Total $23,711,983 -$77,627 $4,340 $5,304
MotorCity Casino $11,242,016 -$183,680 $0 $0
MGM Grand Detroit $6,695,253 -$8,761 $0 $0
Greektown Casino-Hotel $5,774,713 $114,814 $4,340 $5,304

Bettors cash in on Tampa Bay, college basketball local teams

The Tom Brady love in Michigan is real, Hoose said.

Hoose, who manages FanDuel sportsbooks across the Midwest, was at MotorCity for the Super Bowl and said it was a great crowd and very pro-Tampa Bay.

In addition to futures bets on Brady, a former Michigan quarterback, much of the night’s action was on the underdog Bucs against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Hoose also said a strong month from the Michigan basketball team, which went 5-0, also contributed to players’ success. Michigan State also had a couple of top-five upsets of Illinois and Ohio State two nights apart at the end of the month which buoyed bettors.

New online market could impact retail revenue going forward

In the first two months of 2021, sports bettors wagered $59.4 million at Detroit’s casinos.

In addition, residents bet $115.2 million on sports through online betting in the first 10 days after the Jan. 22 launch. In 2020, sports bettors wagered $130.8 million at Detroit’s casinos after the March 11 opening. That’s despite the trio being closed much of the year because of the pandemic.

The numbers for February Michigan online sports betting have not yet been released for the state’s 12 operators.

Hoose said MotorCity had a lot of overlap from online sports betting, including online bettors who took advantage of the Cash at Counter service. Hoose said players from across the state drove to MotorCity to pick up their online FanDuel winnings at the sportsbook counter. The process for the feature can take up to 48 hours to complete.

Several of the state’s tribal casinos also have sportsbooks, though they don’t report numbers to the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The regulator does oversee their online operations, though, since bets can be made off their reservations.

Overall casino revenue down 29% from last February

Overall, the Detroit casinos reported $86.4 million in revenue, as MGM led the way with 40% of market share.

Table games and slots revenue in Detroit dropped 29% compared to February 2020, as the casinos continue to operator under limited capacity. On Friday, the casinos were allowed to expand to 30% capacity.

Fantasy sports operators reported $2.2 million in January revenue, paying $186,699 in taxes to the state.

Photo by Steve Luciano / The Associated Press
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He’s also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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