FanDuel, one of the top sports betting brands in the nation, has reached an exclusive deal to offer sports wagering with one of Detroit’s commercial casinos.
On Wednesday, MotorCity Casino and FanDuel announced a partnership ahead of a Thursday opening of retail sports wagering at the casino. MGM Grand Detroit, a rival property, was set to open its MoneyLine-branded sportsbook Wednesday afternoon. Penn National Gaming’s Greektown Casino, the city’s third property, is also expected to open its sportsbook Wednesday afternoon. Greektown isn’t utilizing an outside brand for its book yet, but it will eventually.
The state fast-tracked retail sports wagering in order to have betting on March Madness, one of the top sporting events on the calendar for any book. Legislation was signed into law in December. Michigan will be the 16th state to have sports betting with Wednesday’s openings.
In a press release, MotorCity provided an update on what its FanDuel-branded sportsbook will look like. It said the two-story sportsbook will feature six betting windows, 67 high-definition televisions, one ticker, a VIP area, and 44 betting kiosks from IGT. In addition to retail wagering, FanDuel will eventually offer online/mobile wagering in the state, pending the state crafting regulations and the sports betting company receiving the necessary approvals.
MGM Grand Detroit will eventually offer its BetMGM app in the state. Penn National recently acquired a large stake in Barstool Sports to use its brand for both retail and online/mobile sports gambling.
Michigan gaming regulators are expected to finalize regulations for online gambling, including slots and table games, in early 2021 with a likely launch that spring.
‘Incredible sports town’
FanDuel gains access to one of the top commercial casino markets in the country, home to some popular sports teams. According to a 2019 report from the American Gaming Association, Detroit is the nation’s sixth-largest casino gambling market in the country, trailing only the Las Vegas Strip, Atlantic City, Chicagoland, Baltimore-Washington D.C., and New York City.
Baltimore-Washington D.C. and New York City still don’t have legal sportsbooks.
“Detroit is an incredible sports town,” Matt King, CEO of FanDuel Group, said in a statement. “As we look to expand our national footprint and bring America’s top sportsbook to more customers across the country, this was a perfect fit. [Detroit] has everything we look for — from the industry leading casino operation to the proud and passionate Midwest fan base. Exciting things are happening in Detroit, and we couldn’t be more excited about this move to the Motor City.”
The Ilitch family that owns MotorCity Casino also owns the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings.
“Operating in absolute compliance with all gaming and sports league rules and regulations, MotorCity Casino revenue is explicitly not tied to the outcome of any particular baseball or hockey game,” FanDuel said in a presser addressing the ownership.
Michigan law allowed for the family-owned casino to have sports betting despite team ownership. Major League Baseball recently relaxed its rules for the family.
Other partnerships in the state
The three Detroit commercial casinos aren’t the only properties in the state allowed to offer betting on sports. The more than 20 tribal casinos sprinkled around the Wolverine State are also preparing to open their respective sportsbooks. None of them has a firm opening date yet.
Some of the tribes have already forged partnerships, including with the likes of Pennsylvania-based Parx Casino, The Stars Group, PointsBet, William Hill, and Scientific Games. Scientific Games is in the process of combining with DraftKings.
Retail sports wagering at the tribal casinos isn’t under the regulatory control of the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Their respective online betting operations will be, however, under the sports betting law that passed last year.
Michigan is poised to be one of the most competitive sports wagering markets in the state, resembling the markets in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, both of which see nearly 90% of the betting handle happen via the internet. Michigan’s market will be a fraction of what it could be until online gambling begins, especially with neighboring Indiana having online/mobile books since October. The likes of FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, and BetMGM are already live in the Hoosier State.
Michigan is also the third-most populous state to legalize online sports gambling, trailing only Pennsylvania and Illinois, the latter of which hasn’t launched yet. Illinois did see retail betting kick off this week, becoming the 15th market in the country to do so.