Mobile gaming is vital to the survival of Michigan’s retail casino industry, says MichiganSharp, amid projections of a $67m loss during the current three week shutdown.

Casinos in the region were announced as one of a number of businesses to be affected after the state’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a new emergency order amid rising COVID-19 infection rates.

The order came into effect on November 18 and will run until December 8, with the three week pause seeing casinos joined by movie theatres and group exercise classes in being temporarily halted, however, gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place.

The state’s commercial casinos, the MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Greektown Casino Hotel, all located in Detroit,  earned $101.4m in revenue during October despite a 15 per cent occupancy mandate.

“The sports betting boom across the US comes from the popularity of mobile wagering,” said Geoff Fisk, analyst for MichiganSharp. “We likely won’t see any states where retail sportsbook revenue comes anywhere close to what mobile wagering can produce.”

Michigan regulators, says MichiganSharp, were hopeful for a November launch of state-wide online sports betting, but recent snags in the regulation process could push that back to December, or even early 2021.

Online activities across both casino and sports betting continue to go from strength to strength across other US jurisdictions, with New Jersey and Pennsylvania seeing mobile activity account for more than 80 per cent of overall sports betting revenue.

If that metric is applied in Detroit, Michigan’s commercial retail sportsbooks project to miss out on $30m in monthly revenue during the fall sports season, including $2.5m in lost tax revenue.

MichiganSharp projects that online casinos and sports betting could bring in $650m in annual revenue for Michigan’s commercial and tribal casinos. That projection includes $250m from online casinos, producing an additional $5m in monthly tax revenue.

“The pandemic can’t shut down online gaming platforms,” Fisk added. “Mobile gaming is vital to the survival of the retail casino industry.”