Michigan Prepares For Potential Sports Betting Boom

PlayMichigan.com

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 on Friday, 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%, and Detroit casinos will pay an additional 1.25% tax to the city. That makes Michigan among the most competitive compared to other legal jurisdictions. By comparison, Pennsylvania levies a 36% rate, by far the highest in the nation. New Jersey charges a 9.75% tax on revenue from retail sportsbooks and 13% on online sports betting revenue, and neighboring Indiana levies a 9.5% 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.”

For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting in Indiana, visit PlayMichigan.com/news.

Authored by: Jerry Milani

Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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