Are Fanatics, ESPN BET Getting Any Closer To Launching In Michigan?

Written By Drew Ellis on October 23, 2023 - Last Updated on November 29, 2023
Fanatics, ESPN Bet close to launch in Michigan

In the not-too-distant future, Michigan will be getting a pair of new online sportsbooks and online casinos. The question is: When will they be launching?

Fanatics and ESPN BET/Hollywood Casino online seem to be getting closer to launching in Michigan. Can Michigan online casino bettors and Michigan sports betting customers expect them soon?

ESPN BET releases a new logo

Last week saw a little bit of ground made into ESPN BET coming to fruition.

The new partner with PENN Entertainment officially released its logo for the upcoming launch of the online sportsbook.

In a bit of a surprise, the color scheme is a mint green and white on a navy blue background. That’s a stark difference from the typical red colored font we’ve grown accustomed to with ESPN.

The release of a logo give indicators that ESPN BET is closer to launch here in Michigan.

ESPN BET will be the online sportsbook replacing Bartstool Sports, while Hollywood Casino Online will be the online casino to replace Barstool. PENN cut ties with Barstool and struck a deal worth about $1.5 billion with ESPN in August.

The continued date for launch of ESPN BET remains “November.” PENN has not provided a deadline for the launch of Hollywood Casino Online.

Fanatics still limited to an “experience” in Michigan

The other big launch expected in November is that of Fanatics Sportsbook.

This past June, Fanatics agreed to purchase the US assets of PointsBet, which includes a online sportsbook and online casino here in Michigan.

Unlike ESPN, Fanatics already has existing online sportsbook in four other states.

As Fanatics makes efforts to earn regulation in states like Michigan, it has put its name on the current iteration of PointsBet. PointsBet now contains “A Fanatics Experience” in its name on the online gaming platform.

Fanatics has a unique approach to connecting to customers through its app. It offers 5% back in FanCash for every wager.

It also has given bettors the ability to stream NFL games live on their apps where they are currently operational.

The goal for Fanatics has been to be launched fully in Michigan with its sportsbook before the end of 2023. When it comes to the online casino, Fanatics Betting and Gaming CBO Ari Borod indicated it may not launch until next year.

“We should have our iCasino product live by the end of the year, but if we don’t feel it is perfect yet, then it will be live at the beginning of next year,” Borod told the Gamble On podcast.

ESPN and Fanatics need MGCB approval before launching

In the case of both new online operators they need to be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board before any launch can occur.

The MGCB has stated that both operators would need to ensure their proposed branding met their established requirements despite PENN having a previous license to operate in the state and PointsBet owning a license as well.

Currently, the Michigan Gaming Control Board does list ESPN Enterprises, Inc. as a licensed vendor for Michigan sports betting. Nothing is found for Hollywood Casino in its iGaming vendors list, nor Fanatics.

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the 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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