Wolverines Basketball a Slam Dunk for Michigan March Sports Betting Handle

Posted on: April 20, 2021, 01:45h. 

Last updated on: April 20, 2021, 03:47h.

March 2021 was the first time sports bettors in Michigan could legally place a bet online on their beloved NCAA men’s basketball programs during the March Madness tournament. And the Wolverines’ run to the Elite Eight is being credited for a strong monthly online sports betting performance.

Michigan sports betting online casino gambling
Many Michigan sports fans were disappointed last month when the Michigan Wolverines were ousted in the Elite Eight by the UCLA Bruins (pictured). But online sportsbook operators certainly weren’t disappointed by the sheer volume of bets they handled in March. (Image: Getty)

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) today unveiled statistics for online sports betting and interactive casino gambling for March. 

Internet oddsmakers accepted more than $359.4 million in bets, a 19.1 percent increase from February. Richard Kalm, the executive director of the MGCB, said March Madness was behind the surge. 

Oddsmakers kept $32.3 million of the online bets. When combined with sports bets placed in person, total handle for March was $383.7 million. That is up 17.8 percent on February’s haul of $325.6 million.

Michigan’s March handle ranks third among the states that have released last month’s betting figures. New Jersey currently leads the way at $860 million, and Pennsylvania is second at $560 million. 

Since launching retail sports betting in March of 2020, oddsmakers in Michigan have handled almost $1 billion in wagers. 

Unprecedented Launch

Just two full months into online sports betting, Michigan’s sports-obsessed population has shown much eagerness to place legal wagers from their computers and smartphones. It has resulted in the state becoming one of the most robust sports betting markets in the country. 

“With nearly $1 billion in lifetime bets, it’s hard to understate just how unprecedented Michigan’s gaming expansion has been so far,” said Dustin Gouker, an analyst for PlayMichigan.com. 

It’s not only sports betting. Online casinos, which commenced in January of this year and are partnered with both commercial casinos in Detroit, as well as with tribal casinos, reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) last month of $95.1 million. That’s up 19.2 percent from February. 

The growth in online casino gaming has been off the charts. No other state has enjoyed a launch of online casino gaming and sports betting quite like this,” Gouker added. 

Gouker said Michigan’s iGaming market was quicker to prosper than other markets — one example he cited being Pennsylvania — because of online casinos in Michigan debuting with a more robust catalog of games. Michigan has also benefited from launching its iGaming products amid an ongoing pandemic, a time when some feel safer at home than a busy casino floor. 

Michigan Tops Pre-Pandemic Market

Detroit’s three commercial casinos — MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity, and Greektown — are winning more money from gamblers than they did prior to the onset of COVID-19. 

The three casinos reported brick-and-mortar March GGR of nearly $114 million. Their revenue from mobile sports betting totaled $21.1 million, and they won another $53.5 million from their online casinos.

All combined, March GGR for the Detroit casinos from land-based slots and table games, in-person and mobile sports betting, and online gambling totaled $188.7 million.

In March of 2019, the three commercial casinos reported a GGR of $140.3 million.