FanDuel Jumps Out To Early Lead In MI Sportsbook Wars, With DraftKings And Barstool Right Behind

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FanDuel’s online sportsbook has taken the first round in the battle for supremacy in Michigan, as the first batch of numbers were released Wednesday morning by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).

For the first 10 days, a span that runs from the launch date of Jan. 22 through Jan. 31 — and as such, does not include the Super Bowl — FanDuel (partnered with the MotorCity Casino) took in $32,602,738 in handle, which accounted for nearly 28% of the state’s total handle, which was just north of $115 million.

Perhaps the more interesting battle took place in the silver and bronze category, with DraftKings (and its partner Bay Mills Indian Community) taking in $28,190,633 in wagers, narrowly edging out Barstool (and its partner, Greektown Casino) with $27,482,237.

In fourth place was BetMGM, with a handle of $22,789,888.

Taken together, the “big four” accounted for more than 95% of the statewide online handle in the first 10 days of online sportsbook operation.

Other sportsbooks did the following in handle: PointsBet, $1,491,196; BetRivers, $1,073,194; William Hill, $629,318; TwinSpires, $327,660; WynnBet, $248,878; FOX Bet (which didn’t launch until Jan. 29), $160,051; and Golden Nugget, $106,903. 

Overall, the Michigan sportsbooks drew in $13.3 million in revenue, for a strong hold of 11.5%.

Launch took over a year

Online sportsbooks — along with online casinos — launched Jan. 22 in Michigan at noon, with nine different sportsbooks jumping out of the starting gate (along with eight casinos, as PointsBet’s casino has yet to meet approval from the MGCB).

The Michigan Gaming Control Board and the state’s commercial and tribal casinos will begin a new era Jan. 22 with the launch of regulated online gaming and sports betting,” Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director, said in a press release at the time. “Michigan residents love sports and, judging by inquiries we’ve received, eagerly anticipate using mobile devices to place bets through the commercial and tribal casinos. Online gaming and sports betting will provide the casinos with new ways to engage with customers while the state and local communities will benefit from taxes and payments on wagering revenue.”

Currently, 12 sportsbooks are up and running in Michigan: DraftKings, William Hill, Barstool, TwinSpires (formerly BetAmerica), Golden Nugget, BetRivers, BetMGM, FanDuel, PointsBet, FOX Bet, Four Winds, and WynnBET. Parx, FireKeepers, and Soaring Eagle are all awaiting approval from the MGCB.

Back in December 2019 Michigan residents first found out they would be allowed to place online bets when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a comprehensive sports betting and casino bill into law.

On March 12, 2020, the trio of Detroit casinos that are overseen by the state, as well as many of the tribal casinos, opened up their in-person sportsbooks. All the while, the MGCB was working to get the online versions up and running as well.

Of course, within days of the retail sportsbooks opening, they were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, not to open again until the dog days of summer. Then the second wave of the coronavirus hit, causing Whitmer to once again close down the Detroit casinos (many tribal casinos remained open during this time.)

Nov. 30, however, was the most important day since the original signing of the bill, when Michigan’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) waived through the rules and regulations concerning online wagering and gaming. Less than two months later, the online sportsbooks and casinos were open for business.

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