New Jersey Vs. Michigan: Who Will Become the Top iGaming State?

May, 25, 2022 4 months ago

The heated battle for the title of the most lucrative US state in terms of gross gaming revenue is still showcasing New Jersey in the leading position. Its 32 online casinos continue to generate enough gaming revenue to surpass its direct competitors, Michigan and Pennsylvania. However, Michigan managed to close the gap with its 14 online casinos during the first quarter of 2022. What does this mean for the industry? Let's try to find out.

Michigan VS New Jersey in Numbers

Michigan officially opened its doors to online gaming in 2021, at the end of January. This makes its $1 billion online gambling industry revenue recorded by the Michigan Gaming Control Board for the same year in question even more remarkable. Massachusetts earned a billion in revenue from brick-and-mortar casinos, but the state does not license any online casinos as of today. The same fresh market also recorded a revenue of $375 million during the first quarter of 2022. By comparison, online casinos in New Jersey that were given the green light to legally function in November 2013 recorded $1.3 billion in revenue in 2021. The same casinos generated $401 million in gross gaming revenue during the first quarter of 2022. The data comes from the official numbers presented by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the numbers for the first quarter of 2021:

  • in January, Michigan's online casinos generated gross gaming revenue of over $121 million, compared to $135 million generated by New Jersey's online casinos

  • in February, Michigan's iGaming market recorded $122 million in revenue compared to New Jersey's $127 million

  • the end of March brought Michigan a total of $131 million versus $138 million for New Jersey

Michigan's month-by-month 2021 evolution was surprisingly good, from a rather modest $27 million in gross gaming revenue recorded during the first month of the market going live to ending the year with a revenue of $109 million in December.

Will New Jersey Stay the Number One Online Gambling State?

Ever since the official launch of its online gaming market in 2013, New Jersey has been the epicenter of the North American iGaming world, bringing innovation and numerous jobs into the industry. However, the massive legalization of online gambling that took place throughout the country in 2021 rapidly redirected numerous operators to other states. Will the Garden State be able to hold on to its advantage? Will new hubs focused on fresh gaming technology show up as more states will keep legalizing online gaming in the upcoming months and years? This is one interesting question that does not have a well-defined answer as of yet. However, it is safe to say that some states are closing in real fast, and Michigan is right at the top of the list.

Given the fact that the Great Lakes State is the third most populous US state to legalize online casino games and betting on sports, many voices in the industry believe in its potential to turn into the largest gambling market in the country. With more and more prestigious operators getting ready to penetrate the recently opened market, the state is expected to soon surpass New Jersey.

What Helped Michigan Grow So Fast?

Michigan's powerful brick-and-mortar casino gaming market was a determining factor in the state's rapid online gambling market growth. The state is slowly nipping at New Jersey's heels with gross gaming revenue from its top online casino standing for approximately 94% of New Jersey’s revenue in the months of February and March. What helped drive this amazing growth? Primarily, the people of Michigan who were already used to accessing entertaining games in land venues, and their eagerness to take their brick-and-mortar gaming habits to the online world on their computers and smart devices for extra convenience, lucrative bonuses, and promotions, and a larger display of gaming choices. 

While New Jersey continues to reign king, Michigan is closing the gap with its the most recent 26 million difference in gross gaming revenue during the first quarter of the year. At the same time, online casino revenues in both states are generated by a handful of prestigious operators that dominate the market, including FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Golden Nugget. Moreover, Pennsylvania's online casinos fell behind Michigan and New Jersey, in spite of the fact that the state is the most populated US state where online gambling is legal.

Conclusion

The power of regulated gaming markets online is undeniable and an excellent way of generating extra revenue from taxes in those states that need it. Whether Michigan will manage to go over New Jersey during the next quarter remains to be seen. Either way, the online casino industry is making headway in the United States as top states seek to outcompete one another.