Barstool Casino Falling Behind In Michigan As Switch To Hollywood Looms

Written By Drew Ellis on August 24, 2023
Barstool Casino Michigan

As part of the drastic changes coming to the Michigan online casino landscape, Barstool Casino MI isn’t exactly going out on a bang.

The PENN Entertainment operation is making the move to Hollywood Casino Online in the future after striking a deal with ESPN to take over its sportsbook operations.

With Michigan online casinos thriving, PENN is hoping it can make a bigger revenue splash in the state.

As Barstool keeps sinking further down the revenue ladder, will switching to Hollywood Casino be enough?

Barstool Casino MI declining in revenue

Michigan online casinos are on a record-setting pace in 2023.

Through seven months, online casino revenue is 23.2% greater than it was through seven months of 2022.

Not aiding in that growth is Barstool Casino MI.

Barstool has actually declined in revenue in 2023 thus far. Through seven months, Barstool Casino has $26 million in revenue. A year ago at this time, Barstool sat at $31.4 million. That is a 17.1% decline.

At points this year, Barstool has even found itself falling behind Four Winds in revenue, that’s a name-brand online casino.

It’s hard to imagine Hollywood Casino at Greektown can be happy with its return in the online casino game from Barstool.

For 2023, Barstool’s 2.4% of the online casino revenue market share is a far cry from the 32.6% for BetMGM (MGM Grand Detroit) or the 19.6% for FanDuel (MotorCity Casino).

Maintenance shutdown likely hurt Barstool in July

July’s $3.6 million in revenue for Barstool Casino MI ranked eighth in the state.

It was the fourth consecutive month that Barstool was under $4 million in revenue. That’s a mark it hit just four times for all of 2022.

PENN Entertainment shut down Bartstool Sportsbook & Casino for multiple days in July due to scheduled maintenance.

That maintenance would allow the current Barstool app to start utilizing theScore media and gaming. The upgrade will be carried over for the switch to ESPN Bet and Hollywood Casino online.

“During the quarter as I briefly mentioned earlier, we successfully completed the full-scale migration of our US digital sportsbook and online casino offerings to our proprietary in-house technology platform, which was a huge milestone achievement for our company,” said CEO and President of PENN, Jay Snowden, during the company’s Q2 investment call. “The state-of-the-art tech platform continues to drive strong results for theScore Bet in Ontario, and our improved product will provide the foundation for meaningful growth in the US. Once we rebrand to ESPN Bet later this year.”

What PENN needs to do to succeed with Hollywood Casino MI

PENN has stated aspirations to getting to 16% of the iGaming market share in future years. But, just a simple naming rebrand isn’t enough to cure the ills of Barstool Casino MI.

The performance upgrade is a good start, but I wouldn’t anticipate that showing in August’s revenue report here in Michigan. With Barstool already on its way out, new customers are likely not flocking to a dying operator.

PENN is already making a good decision by having Hollywood Casino Online be its own application. Barstool operating its online casino within its online sportsbook app made the iGaming option feel second-rate. The revenue results show as much.

PENN also could take a tip from its Detroit counterparts in terms of how to best connect with customers. Both BetMGM Michigan and FanDuel Casino MI have put together attractive promotions and gaming options to keep themselves as the top two operators in the state.

Barstool did little to actually connect with its online casino players. The app was sports driven, which is understandable given the Barstool Sports brand.

Moving away from ESPN is a good decision for the online casino as well. We’ve seen Sports Illustrated come into the state as an online casino, but customers aren’t identifying SI as an iGaming brand.

In July, SI finished 15th out of 15 operators in the state in revenue at just $1.2 million. It was the lowest revenue total for SI since its launch month of February.

Associating your online casino with a national casino brand should help PENN make some headway in Michigan’s market.

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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