Barstool, Caesars Among The Big Movers In Michigan In September

Their online sportsbooks/casinos made up ground in September but are still a long way from the top
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It was a September to remember for the burgeoning Michigan online sports betting and casino industry, with some eye-popping numbers across the board.

And while it’s a dangerous game to read too much into month vs. month numbers, this past September was monumental for Michigan, as it marked the first time the sportsbooks had a full slate of NFL action, the sport that traditionally garners the most interest from bettors. Of course, this was also the first time the sportsbooks had access to college football, which taken together with the pro games serves as a barometer of sorts for the general health of the market and the individual operators.

First up, the total market, which saw over $354.2 million wagered overall, according to figures released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. This was just shy of March’s high of $359.5 million, which is interesting right off the bat, as it would seem March Madness trumps the opening of football season.

But again, owing to the popularity of football, that $354.2 million number was an 84% increase over August’s $192.3 million.

On the individual operator side, there were some notable moves. For starters, BetMGM came within a few hundred thousand bucks of knocking FanDuel out of second place. BetMGM’s September handle was $81.8 million, with FanDuel at $82.1 million. FanDuel had led the handle race every month until DraftKings claimed the top spot in August.

As for DraftKings, its September handle was $106.9 million, which was nearly a one-month record for any operator. FanDuel still holds that mark with its $107.2 million March. 

Percentage-wise, BetMGM was up 88% in monthly handle from August; FanDuel 72%; and DraftKings 74%.

But the big three weren’t the only ones making moves. Fourth-place Barstool was up 125% to a handle of $29.5 million, and fifth-place Caesars was up 139% to $23.9 million.

Clearly, Barstool and Caesars have a long way to go to catch up in handle, but the percentage jumps — especially in comparison to the big three — must have their executives whistling a happy tune.

Casino movers

And while the numbers on the sportsbook side were eye-opening, perhaps the bigger story is taking place in the online casino world.

For starters, a new monthly record was set with total receipts of nearly $102.4 million. Also, the runaway market leader BetMGM took in $40.6 million, a record for the company in Michigan.

And while FanDuel and DraftKings (which was back up to $15.4 million after a $12.6 million August dip) stayed the course, it was once again Barstool and Caesars which made the most noise.

Barstool’s casino had its best month to date, with $3.9 million in total receipts, up from August’s $2.5 million. Caesars’ numbers the last three months went from $296,557 to $822,343 to September’s $1.4 million.

Again: These two have a long road ahead of them if they want to catch FanDuel and DraftKings (let alone the seemingly impossible road to catch BetMGM) but the bean counters have to be pleased with the direction the numbers are headed.

But it wasn’t all roses for the rest of the casino crew. Golden Nugget, PointsBet, Stars, BetRivers, Four Winds, and WynnBet all saw their market share shrink in September. 

And while it’s too early to make any grand pronouncements, it would certainly appear there is starting to be some serious separation in the middle of the casino pack.

Photo: Shutterstock

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