Michigan Stoolies might have their choice of sports betting options with their favorite brand in Detroit.
Greektown Casino-Hotel plans to open its permanent sportsbook, branded by Barstool, in late November, spokesperson Marvin Beatty told PlayMichigan.
That’s about the same projection for the launch of online sports betting apps in the state, though there’s no guarantee Barstool Online Sportsbook will be ready right at launch.
Jeff Morris, a spokesman for Greektown’s parent company Penn National Gaming, said Wednesday that they’re still finalizing launch plans for the app. Barstool Sportsbook is only available in Pennsylvania so far.
Tweet teasing Barstool Sportsbook opening goes viral
Though online betting competitors DraftKings and FanDuel have spent years marketing their brands in Michigan, so has Barstool.
The irreverent platform has a furious following in the Great Lakes State and beyond, one that Penn factored into its $163 million purchase of 36% of the company in January.
Take an Oct. 1 Twitter post from Greektown’s account, for instance.
The account has mostly been promoting live sports events that are available for wagers at the temporary sportsbook, which opened March 11. The posts will generally garner a “like” or two, perhaps an occasional retweet.
The post, with pictures of the outside of the new book, was viral in comparison.
Boosted by the national Barstool Sportsbook account and bombastic founder Dave Portnoy, the tweet had 2,500 likes and more than 500 retweets as of Wednesday morning.
The new sportsbook is walled off from the rest of the casino, though the placement is better than the temporary book, which is set apart from the gaming floor. Construction continued inside on Tuesday.
Greektown a distant third in Michigan sports betting
Since retail sports betting launched in Detroit in March, Greektown has been a distant third to MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino in revenue.
Through August, Greektown’s sportsbook had been open for 33 gaming days, more than MotorCity (32) and MGM (31). With six days in March and most of August to work with, it’s about the equivalent of a full month of figures.
In that time, Greektown took in just under $3 million in sports betting handle and $567,079.82 in revenue. That comes out to an 18% market share in Detroit, nearly three times less than MGM (49%), and about half of MotorCity (33%).
That’s the same basic story for the overall casino revenue picture where Greektown has looked up to its Motown competitors for years.
Eager fans plan to make a Detroit casino trip
However, a Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown may change the game.
A post on Instagram by Barstool Sportsbook garnered 4,444 likes by Wednesday.
Greektown’s viral tweet came with the usual roll call of GIFs signifying interest.
The Office (“Oh, my God! Okay, it’s happening!”), Bart Scott (“Can’t Wait!”) and eyeball emojis aplenty were tagged to the post.
Midwest Stoolies tagged friends with pledges to hit up Greektown for a pilgrimage soon.
The usual Barstool detractors showed up on social media, too, but that’s baked into the cake Penn purchased.
Many commenters were asking about the Michigan online sports betting app and when it would be available.
Barstool enjoying early success in Pennsylvania
Portnoy recently moved to Philadelphia, now sharing a home state with Penn.
The online sports betting app had a soft launch there and then opened to the public on Sept. 18.
In its first four days, the app had 180,000 downloads across the country and 30,000 in Pennsylvania, including 24,000 registrations.
The sports betting industry will be watching Pennsylvania’s numbers closely as Barstool could be trending toward the sector’s top tier.
Penn also raised nearly $1 billion from a recent stock offering, buoyed by Portnoy’s recent reinvention as Davey Day Trader.
Early Michigan start could be a big opportunity
Michigan’s market will come into focus during 2021 with 15 casino operators planning to eventually launch sports betting apps.
Unlike Pennsylvania, where Barstool is playing catch up, the company can get a boost by finishing 2020 strong in Michigan.
If it’s one of the first apps to market, that could help gain a foothold. And a fervent following for its new permanent sportsbook in downtown Detroit will certainly help.
For Michigan’s most staunch Stoolies, Christmas could arrive a month early.