Sports betting in the state of Michigan was legalized in December 2019, but the first sportsbook in the state only went live in March 2020. The region got off to a relatively slow start when being compared to other US regions, especially seeing that online sports betting wasn’t legalized, and it still isn’t. The fact that only land-based and mobile sports betting are allowed meant that these sportsbook operations were completely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, things are making a quick turnaround in the state as tribal casinos are set to partner with online sportsbookoperators when the act is legalized in early 2021. So far, there are seven land-based and online partnerships set to launch in Michigan, and in this segment, we’ll be taking a look at one of the most exciting ones with the Greektown Casino and Barstool Sportsbook partnership.
The Arrival of Barstool Sportsbook
Barstool Sportsbook is the product of Penn National Gaming after it sold 16.1 million shares to fund the project. The omnichannel product is set to launch in seven states, namely West Virginia, New Jersey, Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan. All of Penn National Gaming’s retails sportsbooks are expected to be converted to the Barstool brand by the end of 2021, with an additional four locations currently under construction.
Michigan is hopeful that the Barstool Sportsbook will launch in November as Greektown Casino has positioned itself with one of the most recognizable sports brands in the US. Hugh Flack, Vice President of Greektown Casino’s gaming operations, has stated that this will make their sports betting operation one of the most unique ones available. It’s also great that Barstool is such a recognizable brand that has a mass following of loyal sports fans.
There was plenty of excitement regarding the announcement that was made for the launch in October, as the Greektown social media platform received more attention than ever before following the tweet. With such a big following, Greektown is looking to continue to work with Barstool to explore more lucrative prospects further down the line.
Greektown is owned by Penn National Gaming, with the acquisition being completed on January 29, 2020. This saw it procure a 36% interest in Barstool which made it the official sports betting partner of the brand. Since then, shares on the NASDAQ under “Penn” have steadily increased.
The Barstool Brand
Greektown Casino will be looking to find more opportunities to produce live events at its facilities with the Barstool personalities. This is due to those individuals attracting a massive crowd wherever they go due to their popularity on social media platforms. This will likely cause an increase in sports betting participants and it’s exactly what Greektown wants. The Barstool brand has an incredible amount of popularity, this was seen when the sportsbook went live in Pennsylvania as the app was downloaded over 63,000 times.
The Barstool and Greektown partnership is expected to be incredibly successful and it’s expected to reach a tremendous amount of online sports betting fans. There’s also the fact that Michigan has an incredibly large population and there will likely be more than 60,000 downloads on the first weekend of the sportsbook going live. This might be the case, especially when considering that sports are almost back to normal.
The partnership with Barstool will allow Greektown to essentially dive into the deep end regarding its first venture into the online sports betting market.
Greektown Casino Currently in 3rd Place
Before the COVID-19 pandemic caused all retail operations to be shut down in March 2020, MotorCity Casino, MGM Grand Detroit, and Greektown Casino were operational for just 5 days. After four-and-a-half months, the sportsbooks were reopened and were allowed to operate at a 15% occupancy level according to the social distancing guidelines that were implemented by the CDC.
After the first month, the aforementioned sportsbooks managed to generate a sports handle figure of $15 million and $1.97 in total revenue. However, the majority of the market share was held by BetMGM at 48%, followed by FanDuel at 34%, and the Greektown at 18%. This seemed to be the case despite FanDuel and Greektown opening two days before BetMGM.