888 Projecting 10% Q3 Revenue Drop, Still Opening SI Sportsbook In Michigan

Written By Dave Briggs on October 5, 2023 - Last Updated on October 6, 2023
Image of clasped hands with logos of 888 and Sports Illustrated for story on 888 opening a retail SI sportsbook in Michigan despite financial problems

In spite of frustration with regulatory compliance, 888 Holdings plc is launching a sportsbook in Michigan under the brand name Sports Illustrated.

The retail sportsbook will be at Island Resort & Casino in Harris, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

This will be the first retail sportsbook under the Sports Illustrated name. The iconic sports brand is currently among the available Michigan online sportsbooks.

Earlier this year, during an earnings call with shareholders, 888 Holdings executive chair Jon Mendelsohn complained of an “ongoing significant impact from compliance changes” for 888’s failure to gain market share. He predicted that the company would see a drop in revenue of 10% year-over-year, and lose as much as £400 million.

Yet, despite a pessimistic and frank assessment by Mendelsohn, 888 Holdings has entered into a partnership with Authentic Brands Group, which owns Sports Illustrated. The gambling operator has parlayed that asset into a sports betting brand. Much of the excellent content that SI was once known for is no longer coming out of that company.

Michigan gamblers who want to place a wager at the Sports Illustrated sportsbook will need to put on their driving gloves. Harris is more than 5 hours drive from Midland, and 6 1/2 hours from Detroit.

But, Sports Illustrated will have a foothold in the Great Lakes State with a brick-and-mortar sportsbook very soon.

888 Holdings predicts 3rd quarter revenue drop as sportsbooks scramble for profit

The fact that 888 Holdings and their partners are committed to launching a new sportsbook in Michigan only weeks after warning investors that its revenue would plummet in Quarter 3 underscores how most companies are trying to find anything to gain market share now that online sports betting has turned into a battle between only a few top operators.

In Michigan, like many states with legal online sports betting, DraftKings and FanDuel account for more than 60% of the total handle and revenue. That means 888 Holdings and others must turn to casino revenue, whether its online or in-person attractions like a sportsbook at a casino in the beautiful UP.

888 Holdings is a European-based gaming company. It has pointed to many compliance challenges on that continent as leading to lower earnings performance from sports betting. The company has also indicated that it has seen a “short-term impact” from changes to its marketing. It moved focus onto more “higher-return marketing.” However, 888 has reported that retail revenue was performing in line (with expectations).

About Island Resort & Casino in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

The Island Resort & Casino is owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community, and it opened in 1998. It has:

  • 1,150 slot machines
  • dozens of gaming tables
  • poker room.
  • more than 450 hotel rooms
  • entertainment stage
  • spa
  • three restaurants
  • adjacent 18-hole golf course
Photo by Shutterstock
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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in Michigan with an emphasis on online casino, online sports betting and horse racing sectors. He is currently reporting on the gambling industries in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Canada.

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