Fanatics, DraftKings, SI All Make News That Could Impact Michigan Gambling

Written By Drew Ellis on January 26, 2024
Breaking News graphic with the logos of Fanatics Sportsbook, Sports Illustrated and Barstool Sports. This week, Fanatics, Barstool and SI all made news that could impact Michigan online gambling

There’s never a lack of news in the national online gambling industry.

Over the last week, we’ve seen big news coming from online operations of Fanatics, Sports Illustrated and DraftKings.

While the news wasn’t focused on Michigan, each tidbit could have an impact on the Michigan online gambling industry.

Here’s a look at the big news of the last week and what it could mean for the mitten.

Fanatics launches in Pennsylvania

Our state has been anxiously awaiting the launch of Fanatics Sportsbook Michigan, as well as its online casino product.

Pennsylvania beat Michigan to the punch this week, as Fanatics launched in the Keystone State.

Fanatics purchased the US assets of PointsBet this past summer, looking to eventually replace PointsBet in each state where it was operational.

Since, Fanatics has been working to get regulated in the Michigan online casino and sports betting realms.

In September, Fanatics added its label of “A Fanatics Experience” to the PointsBet logo here in Michigan.

During the December Michigan Gaming Control Board meeting, a number of PointsBet positions and titles were transferred over to Fanatics and their employees.

There is still no concrete timeline for when Fanatics will fully debut in Michigan, but the Pennsylvania launch points toward it nearing the finish line.

Originally, Fanatics was targeting a Michigan launch for both its sportsbook and its casino before the end of 2023.

Since applying the “A Fanatics Experience” label, PointsBet Casino has seen record-setting monthly revenue. For the year, PointsBet Casino saw 77% revenue growth in 2023 compared to 2022.

SI layoffs not impacting gambling product

Last Friday, Sports Illustrated writers were let go from their jobs in a mass layoff.

Authentic, a licensing group that purchased Sports Illustrated five years ago, terminated its agreement with The Arena Group to publish the product in print and digital media.

The Arena Group missed a payment of $3.75 million that breached the deal.

Authentic holds a deal with 888 Holdings that began in 2021 to bring SI Sportsbook and SI Casino to life.

SI Sportsbook still operates in the Michigan sports betting market. It is also live in Colorado and Virginia. Michigan is the only of the three states to have legalized online casinos.

Despite the layoffs with the SI media product, there has been no impact on the online gambling platform as of now.

Michigan residents can still access and utilize SI Sportsbook and SI Casino.

Time will tell if this development carries into the online gambling product. SI’s online casino and sportsbook have both ranked near the bottom of Michigan in terms of revenue and handle.

Barstool partnering with DraftKings?

Barstool appears to be getting back into the sports betting game.

No, Barstool Sportsbook won’t be returning. However, reports surfaced this week that Barstool is in talks with DraftKings about a marketing deal.

The proposed deal would see Barstool promoting DraftKings odds on their various media programs and social media platforms.

No deal can be struck until after the Super Bowl as part of the Barstool-PENN Entertainment buyout that took place in August.

PENN cut ties with Barstool in order to strike a deal with ESPN, with ESPN Bet launching in November.

Barstool struggled with regulation issues while trying to expand the product in other states. In this instance, DraftKings would simply be using Barstool’s media influence to create more awareness of its sportsbook app.

DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan saw a 9.3% growth in online handle here in 2023, adding $107 million more in wagers last year when compared to 2022.

Photo by PlayMichigan
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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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