dave portnoy

Barstool, Caesars Are Solidifying As Sportsbooks To Watch In Michigan

May’s online sportsbook numbers in Michigan took an expected hit as the dog days of summer — and the accompanying lack of popular betting options — began to take hold.

But all in all, May’s sports wagering numbers were definitely a positive for the relatively nascent market.

For starters: Year-over-year handle was up more than 40%, from last May’s $237.5 million to this May’s $333.1 million. Furthermore, the sportsbooks were practically printing money last month, with gross sports betting receipts totaling $33.5 million, for a 10% hold.

Breaking it down by book

But it wasn’t just overall numbers that matter. The Michigan Gaming Control Board, which is in charge of releasing all the facts and figures, also breaks down the take by individual sports betting operators, and some notable trends seemed to solidify themselves this past month.

FanDuel maintained its grip on the No. 1 spot for handle for the fifth month in a row, coming in at $99.3 million. BetMGM took the second spot for the third month running, with DraftKings — which used to battle FanDuel for supremacy — stuck in third.

While the summer months probably won’t shed much light on the situation, the return of football — both college and the NFL — in the autumn will be an important pivot point in the ongoing war for handle. Namely, will DraftKings return to its No. 1 perch (or at least come close), or has BetMGM become the legitimate second horse in this race?

Meanwhile, the fourth- and fifth-place sportsbooks, Barstool and Caesars, respectively, are starting to make a little more noise. While FanDuel, BetMGM, and DraftKings saw their handle drop by 13% combined from April to May, Barstool and Caesars went the opposite direction. Barstool was up over 4%, and Caesars was up nearly 2%.

Granted, these two sportsbooks’ combined handles were still some $10 million less than DraftKings’ $69 million. But there is plenty to be said for the direction in which both of these sportsbooks are headed.

Lastly on the sportsbook front, Soaring Eagle’s first full month running an online sportsbook went better than anyone could’ve expected, with the tribal concern having a near-million-dollar month of handle. And while that’s barely moving the needle on a operator-wide $333 million month, it is notable the brand new book beat out more established rivals Golden Nugget, Parx, Four Winds, and TwinSpires.

Casino news

On the casino side, the biggest shocker is that the state’s 15 mobile casinos didn’t set a new gross receipts record, something that happens with alarming regularity.

BetMGM continued its dominance of the market with a $49.2 million month, and FanDuel finished a distant second at $20 million.

But “second” is in the eye of the beholder (or, more precisely, the pencil of the accountant), as DraftKings with its $17.8 million in gross receipts and Golden Nugget’s (now owned by DraftKings) $6.2 million put the double-edged operation at $26 million in total.

For the moment, DraftKings says it will keep Golden Nugget as a separate entity.

Photo: David Butler II/USA TODAY

Author: Bradley King