Michigan could rival the largest legal sports betting markets in the country once it matures, attracting billions of dollars in bets each year and generating millions in tax revenue, according to PlayMichigan.com analysts.
When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 4916, Michigan became the 13th state to legalize online sports betting statewide and just the fifth state to legalize online casino gambling. And Michigan’s potential as a market is enormous, capable of generating as much as $7 billion to $8 billion in sports bets annually and $500 million in gross operator revenue, according to PlayMichigan.com projections.
“Michigan is the second-largest state in terms of population to have legalized online sports betting and online casinos and poker, behind only Pennsylvania,” said Dustin Gouker, chief analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “Michigan’s business-friendly tax rate and competitive licensing fees will attract operators, too. And with a solid tribal and commercial casino infrastructure already in place, Michigan should be poised for quick success.”
Michigan will tax sports betting gross revenue at 8.4 percent, and Detroit casinos will pay an additional 1.25 percent tax to the city. That makes Michigan among the most competitive compared to other legal jurisdictions. By comparison, Pennsylvania levies a 36 percent rate, by far the highest in the nation. New Jersey charges a 9.75 percent tax on revenue from retail sportsbooks and 13 percent on online sports betting revenue, and neighboring Indiana levies a 9.5 percent rate on its sportsbooks.
Even with the lower tax rate, sports betting could generate as much as $40 million annually for the state, according to PlayMichigan.com.
“Some in Michigan obviously wanted a higher tax rate, but the current rate should draw significant interest from sportsbook operators,” Gouker said. “That will help the market mature more quickly than markets such as Pennsylvania, where the ramp-up has been much slower despite having the largest population among all states with legal sports betting.”
Much of the future of Michigan sports betting depends on how much the state’s 23 tribes embrace online betting, which is a significant variable in how successful the industry might be in the state.
The same can be said for online gambling and poker, which could generate millions each year in gross revenue if it’s adopted by operators statewide.
Regardless, online gambling should eventually boost the online sports betting industry once it launches. In New Jersey, a symbiotic relationship has formed, spurring growth in both online casinos and online sportsbooks. And that relationship will likely develop in Michigan, too.
“The Michigan bill has clearly set up the industry to succeed and eventually become one of the largest markets in the country, as long as everyone buys in,” Gouker said. “By securing an operator-friendly infrastructure, the state should eventually realize its revenue goals to the benefit of Michigan as a whole.”