In every industry, there are those that lead the way and those that find themselves at the bottom.
Unfortunately for five Michigan online casinos, they are bringing up the rear when it comes to generating revenue.
For some, there are obvious reasons as to why they sit near the bottom. For others, it’s a little more of a head-scratcher.
What five Michigan online casinos sit last in revenue?
Over the two-and-a-half years that Michigan has had legalized online casinos, five operators have struggled to keep pace with the other 10.
The bottom five by lifetime online casino revenue in Michigan are:
- Play Gun Lake/betParx: $40.7 million
- Eagle Casino & Sports: $32.4 million
- FireKeepers iCasino: $31.2 million
- TwinSpires/SI Casino: $28.3 million
- PointsBet Casino: $22.9 million
Just as there are reasons for BetMGM Michigan being the clear online casino leader in the state, there are reasons why these five sit at the bottom.
Why bottom five online casinos are where they are
It’s not just as simple as saying a certain brand is “bad” or “failing.” There actually is some reasoning, and even strategy, behind why these online casinos sit where they do.
Launching points varied
Of the five that have recorded the least revenue here in Michigan, none of their current iterations were available when the state launched online casinos on Jan. 22, 2021.
- Play Gun Lake/betParx: Play Gun Lake was slightly delayed in getting released. It had its launch date on April 23, 2021.
- Eagle Casino & Sports: The last of the state’s 15 online casino licenses to be filled, Eagle Casino & Sports launched on April 14, 2022. It is the online platform for Soaring Eagle Casino/Saganing Eagles Landing.
- FireKeepers iCasino: FireKeepers was the 14th online casino to launch in Michigan. It was cleared to begin offering iGaming on July 12, 2021.
- TwinSpires/SI Casino: TwinSpires actually did launch on Jan. 22, 2021 as the online casino for Island Resort & Casino. TwinSpires would cease its online operations on Sept. 6, 2022. That left the state with just 14 online casinos for months. Sports Illustrated took over the online platform for Island Resort soon after and launched its online casino on Feb. 7, 2023.
- PointsBet Casino: PointsBet was the last of the non-name brand online casinos to launch. It went live on May 4, 2021.
All five of these current online casinos had to establish themselves in an already established world. Power names like BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings were well on their way to setting the standards in the Michigan market.
Of the five sitting at the bottom in revenue, three are name-brand online casinos.
Gun Lake, Soaring Eagle and FireKeepers have all opted to operate their own online casino as opposed to partnering with a national brand.
The benefits of a name-brand iCasino are it gives the tribe a higher percentage of the overall revenue.
While they may sit near the bottom of the state, these three tribal operators are bringing in a higher percentage of their online casino revenue to their people than the ones that opted for a national brand.
Four Winds also operates its own online casino, but has generated $73.4 million in lifetime Michigan online casino revenue.
The lack of consistency in operation for TwinSpires/SI explains their struggles. PointsBet really doesn’t have an excuse for bringing up the rear.
Limited game offers, promo dollars
It probably won’t surprise you that these five online casinos are also lacking in game offers and promos.
Each of the five ranks in the bottom five for promotional dollars spent since launch. Play Gun Lake is top of the five at $4.1 million, while PointsBet is a distant last at just $1.9 million.
For the game count, four of the five rank in the bottom half of the 15 online casino options in Michigan.
- 8. SI Casino: 581 games
- 12. FireKeepers: 250 games
- 14. PointsBet: 199 games
- 15. Play Gun Lake: 177 games
FireKeepers, PointsBet, Gun Lake and Eagle Casino all have no exclusive game offerings at their online casino. Both FireKeepers and PointsBet don’t offer jackpot games, while Gun Lake has just six offerings.
It’s clear for the most part that the bottom five aren’t doing much to set themselves apart from the other online casinos in the state.
Which of the online casinos could climb out of the bottom five?
Of the five sitting at the bottom of the revenue barrel, two have some reason to believe they could eventually climb out.
Eagle Casino & Sports
The first is Eagle Casino & Sports. Having launched in mid-April of 2022, we just recently got a full 12 months of revenue data from this brand.
If going from May of 2022 through April of 2023, Eagle Casino & Sports generated $29.6 million in revenue. That total isn’t far from the 2022 yearlong revenue for the likes of PokerStars ($29.9 million) and Four Winds ($33.8 million).
Eagle Casino & Sports has had multiple months where it has topped PokerStars in revenue.
With a gaming library that approached 700 games, Eagle Casino & Sports actually offers more gaming options than the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel.
SI Casino has a bigger hole to dig out of, but could eventually do so. Sports Illustrated had to use Michigan as its inaugural launching point for an online casino.
While still putting the pieces together, SI does have a respectable gaming library that includes nearly 50 exclusive games and 50 jackpot games. That includes daily jackpots, a popular trend that has developed in Michigan over the last year.
As it continues to find its footing, SI Casino can start to put forth a stronger promotional effort for its iGaming platform and make a push to get out of the bottom five.
PointsBet won’t get itself out of the last position in Michigan, but with Fanatics taking over its US assets, it presents the possibility of a name change helping the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
Fanatics is gearing up to make a big splash in the online gambling industry across the United States, including multiple online casinos.
Everything coming out of the Fanatics camp says they aren’t going to make a half-hearted attempt at success.