It wasn’t long ago that it was hard to talk about online gambling without mentioning Barstool.
The brand hasn’t had trouble creating buzz for itself with news headlines and social media influence.
However, as we are nearly halfway through 2023, Barstool seems to be losing a lot of steam here in Michigan.
As revenue at Michigan online casinos skyrockets, Barstool is actually trending in the other direction.
When it comes to online sports betting, few have taken a bigger hit this year.
Barstool Casino Michigan has biggest decline in 2023
There’s no debate that online casinos are thriving in Michigan and have been for the last year.
As we sit five months into 2023, Michigan online casino revenue is collectively up 23.3% from this point in 2022.
In fact, 10 of the 15 online operators are up at least 13% from the first five months of 2022.
However, Barstool is not one of them.
The now Penn Entertainment-owned product is down nearly 17% in online casino revenue through the first five months of the year. In 2022, it had amassed $22.7 million in revenue through May. In 2023, Barstool sits at just $18.9 million through five months.
Barstool had $3.3 million in revenue for May. It was the second time it was as low as $3.3 million this year. Prior to February, Barstool Casino hadn’t been that low since August of 2022.
Currently, Barstool Casino sits eighth among Michigan’s 15 online operators in terms of 2023 and lifetime revenue.
Barstool Sportsbook Michigan down over 40% in 2023
You may think that Barstool is more of a sportsbook brand, which is a fair argument.
Barstool started as a sports blog before exploding into what it is today.
When Michigan launched online sports betting in January of 2021, Barstool was right there at the starting gate.
Working with Hollywood Casino at Greektown, Barstool struggled early to compete with the likes of FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM in terms of handle. However, it did establish itself as the clear No. 4 online sportsbook in Michigan.
Over time that has slowly decreased and Barstool now finds itself at No. 5 with Caesars Sportsbook moving past it.
In 2023, online sports betting has seen a decline overall in Michigan. The state is down 10.3% in online handle through the first five months of the year compared to 2022.
For Barstool, it is down 41.3% in online sports betting handle through the first five months. Last year at this time it had $174 million in wagers. This year, it has just $102.1 million.
Only BetMGM ($124.5 million) has lost more year-over-year, but that equates to just a 26.2% dip for the operator.
Barstool has also seen a 65.7% drop in online sports betting revenue from $10.7 million to $3.7 million.
In May, Barstool finished with just 7.5% of the Michigan online handle market share.
Why is Barstool declining in Michigan?
It’s not easy to pinpoint one major reason why Barstool is declining here in Michigan.
The online sportsbook is seeing similar dips in other states. Its May handle was down 32% in Pennsylvania compared to a year ago and down about 50% in both Indiana and New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, Barstool Sportsbook has just 4.3% of the online market share.
The consumer base for Barstool may not have been what Penn was expecting when it purchased the brand. Apparently, Penn wasn’t even aware of how much online gambling the Barstool name was actually bringing in from its media empire.
Though Barstool has been the retail sportsbook leader in Detroit, even that has seen a 61.4% drop in handle thus far in 2023 from $80.1 million to $30.9 million.
When it comes to the online casino, Barstool’s troubles may just come down to gaming selection and promotional efforts.
Of the 15 online operators, Barstool ranks 9th in games offered at 311.
Barstool has latched itself to the sportsbook brand, as its online casino isn’t heavily promoted on its platform. Even when visiting the casino address on a desktop, you are welcomed to “Barstool Sportsbook.”
The casino itself is a tab on the left listed with other sportsbook features. The same goes for the phone app, which includes “Casino” as an option listed along with other sports in the sportsbook.
Perhaps if Barstool was to put the same effort into promoting its online casino as it does the sportsbook, it might find more success in the booming Michigan online casinos market.