Will FanDuel Keep The Momentum Going In Michigan Sports Betting?

Written By Matt Schoch on October 22, 2020Last Updated on February 4, 2021
fanduel sportsbook

Record-breaking sports betting handle continues to come in from states with legal betting. In most cases, FanDuel has led the way.

The Flutter Entertainment brand hopes its standing in Michigan is also at the top of the heap. And there’s little reason to doubt the possibility.

FanDuel figures to be near the top of the market leaders when online sports betting launches, likely later this year. It has proven to be an early success in other markets, boosted by its large customer base.

A strong Michigan foothold in retail sports betting and daily fantasy sports can only help what is already a strong national position. But competitors are also coming for Michigan in a major way.

FanDuel leads the way in New Jersey, Pennsylvania

To start, let’s look at two markets that have similar laws in place already: New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

In New Jersey, where more than three-quarters of a billion dollars was bet on sports in September, FanDuel was part of a group that crushed the market.

FanDuel and PointsBet are partnered with North Jersey’s Meadowlands Racetrack, which had a 63% online market share. That is far better than the Resorts Casino group, which features DraftKings, Fox Bet, and Resorts Online (12%).

Nearly a half-billion was wagered on sports in Pennsylvania (also a record) with more than $168 million of online bets coming through FanDuel in September.

DraftKings was second with $116 million of sports betting handle.

It shouldn’t take long for Michigan to raise nine figures of sports betting handle per month. The state will be a still-early inflection point for the emerging market.

MotorCity retail sportsbook gains a good sign

After launch, most of Michigan’s sports bets will be made online. The US market has shown an overwhelming preference for mobile betting. In some cases, upwards of 90% of the handle is via sportsbook apps.

But for now, retail sportsbooks are the only place for legal wagers in Michigan. While FanDuel hasn’t dominated in downtown Detroit like they have online in other locales, there are positive trends there.

Detroit’s three casinos report monthly numbers, and the sportsbooks set a record in the Great Lakes State for September with a more modest $33 million of wagers.

The BetMGM Sports Lounge at MGM Grand Detroit leads the trio of sportsbooks with just under 44% of total handle.

FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino is second with nearly 39% of market share, a big jump from previous months. MGM drew nearly half the city’s sports bets in March and August. The casinos were open for parts of those months after launching sports betting on March 11.

Part of the reason is the big-game atmosphere at the two-story MotorCity sportsbook. FanDuel is also leading the market in promotions, giving a nice Thursday Night Football odds boost, which hit for bettors in each of the first four NFL weeks.

These are small numbers compared to what’s coming down the road, but brand recognition can only help, a point driven home by DFS.

FanDuel right on DraftKings heels for Michigan DFS

DraftKings and FanDuel have made their names in Michigan by spending millions on marketing for their daily fantasy sports products.

The competitors are far and away the state’s leaders for fantasy sports, combining for 93% of the total market.

FanDuel is gaining on DraftKings, earning 42% of the market share in August (more than $950,000 of adjusted revenue). DraftKings had 51% of the market at $1.15 million.

We’ll see how much the start of NFL season changes things, though. September DFS numbers will likely be released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board in November.

That being said, the overwhelming number of FanDuel followers can only be a boon to its possibilities in Michigan sports betting.

BetMGM, Barstool, PointsBet among Michigan variables

While DraftKings has provided FanDuel’s healthiest sports betting competition in many states, the operators could be positioned differently in Michigan.

BetMGM’s lead in retail revenue should not be ignored, nor should their summer funding spree. BetMGM also partnered with the Detroit Lions.

That partnership was the second one announced in the market though, as PointsBet was first with the Detroit Tigers. The deal was the first for any sportsbook and MLB team.

The Australian company is betting big in Michigan, with plans here for its first online casino launch.

Speaking of betting big, one cannot forget about Barstool Sportsbook. The launch has been solid for the brash brand in Pennsylvania.

CEO Jay Snowden of Barstool principal Penn National Gaming recently said Michigan will be a nice test case as Barstool will join others on the starting line.

Another interesting factor is how much brand loyalty Michigan bettors will have. Barstool, with its thousands of Michigan Stoolies, likely has an early edge there.

But many sports bettors will use more than one operator. That means promotions, strong technology, and wagering prices should play a role.

FanDuel and Michigan sports betting: What’s next?

FanDuel clearly pines for the Michigan market, which could mature to one of the more robust ones in the country.

Lions Hall of Famer Barry Sanders was at FanDuel’s retail opening in March. The company also positioned with Turner Sports for NBA coverage, partnered with the Ringer to draw mentions on popular podcasts, and signed personalities such as Cousin Sal and Rob Perez to hawk the brand.

We’ll see what local Detroit sports personalities join the team soon.

DraftKings has spent more on television advertising during Lions games this fall, though neither company has quite yet ramped up for mobile launch.

FanDuel TV ads raged during the pandemic when many Michigan residents were stuck at home. The non-specific ads promoted the brand, like the one featuring viral clips of athletic feats from fans’ homes.

FanDuel has been in front of Michigan faces for many years. We’ll find out soon if that helps continue the company’s sports betting hot streak.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He’s also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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