As DraftKings Goes Public, No Sportsbook Deal In Michigan Yet

Posted on April 27, 2020

Michigan residents can now own a piece of DraftKings but can’t bet sports with the operator — yet.

The Boston-based digital sports offering went public last week after a multibillion-dollar deal.

While its daily fantasy sports product is alive and well in the state, it’s likely a matter of time until sports betting is part of the menu for DraftKings here.

Michigan sports betting is legal but only offered at retail sportsbooks, which have, so far, only opened in Detroit’s three casinos. However, those are all closed until at least May 15 because of the coronavirus, which would make it a two-month span without a legal bet in the city.

Online sports betting should be coming to the state in early 2021.

Though DraftKings has not announced the partnership it needs to have its sportsbook go online when Michigan does, one may be announced this year.

Insight into the DraftKings deal to go public

In a deal completed Thursday, Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. paid $2.7 billion to acquire DraftKings Inc. and sportsbook technology supplier SBTech in a reverse merger.

DraftKings received most of the transaction with $2.055 billion in cash and stock. 

The stock, as symbol DKNG on the Nasdaq ticker, was priced at $10 per share on April 15. The stock closed at $17.53 on Thursday and then closed at $19.35 on Friday.

DraftKings has opened online sports betting in New Jersey, West Virginia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Iowa.

The DraftKings DFS product reportedly has more than 4 million paid users across 43 states.

Will DraftKings partner with a Michigan casino?

To offer an online sportsbook in Michigan, DraftKings will have to partner with one of three Detroit casino operators or one of the state’s 12 federally recognized tribes, all of which have casinos.

Partnerships have been announced throughout the year, including a big one between MotorCity Casino and DraftKings’ competitor, FanDuel, which has struck similar partnerships throughout the country.

The two-story sportsbook at the Marian Ilitch-owned casino is branded by FanDuel.

The operator DraftKings did not respond to PlayMichigan on Friday about possible partnerships in the state.

DraftKings betting big on turnaround

DraftKings posted a net loss of more than $142 million in its 2019 filings.

The coronavirus pandemic brings about new challenges in addition to a recent cyberattack of SB Tech, which shut down its US offerings for more than two weeks.

In a statement after the filing to Legal Sports Report, the company says it is confident to come out strong on the other end.

In the coming weeks, DraftKings will continue to offer our full suite of products — daily fantasy sports, sports betting and iGaming — to our millions of players. While there might be changes in the sports calendar, which may have an impact on our business, there won’t be any changes to DraftKings’ commitment to deliver the most engaging and innovative experience for our loyal customers.

When games resume in the sports and leagues impacted by COVID-19, DraftKings will be right where we’ve always been, in the middle of the action with our millions of players.

Matt Schoch Avatar
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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