DraftKings Sportsbook is coming to Michigan. All of the shutdowns and slowdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic definitely did a number on sports betting in Michigan. The state opened up retail wagering just before a March Madness period that was never played and it also stunted the release of sports betting apps. The retail operators in the state were ready to go live, but most could not because everything shut down so abruptly.
DraftKings was not ready to go because the DFS operator turned sports betting powerhouse had not yet secured its licensing in Michigan. That has changed thanks to a partnership with Bay Mills Resort & Casino in Brimley, Michigan, which is in the Upper Peninsula.
Location doesn’t really matter that much, as the law in Michigan does provide for online and mobile wagering, so all DraftKings really had to do was get a foot in the door and then its product would be available to everybody. Bay Mills is a Native American casino, like so many in the state of Michigan. DraftKings will be assisting with the construction of a retail sportsbook at the site as well, but the crowning achievement here is to be able to offer online and mobile betting across the state.
Michigan is the ninth state for DraftKings Sportsbook. DraftKings is also in Indiana, Colorado, Iowa, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and New York, but Mississippi and New York do not allow mobile wagering at present. In the states where DraftKings is able to offer mobile wagering, they have a huge piece of the revenue and are even the top sportsbook operator in some of those states. The sportsbook at Bay Mills will make Michigan the seventh state with a retail location for DraftKings.
Michigan was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the Detroit area. Previously, apps were thought to be more of a 2021 thing, but there will be an extra sense of urgency to start bringing in tax revenue and the process could be expedited a little bit to allow apps to go around the start of the NFL season.
A lot of states seem to be moving forward with sports betting as a means of balancing state budgets and that could be to the benefit of gamblers in Michigan. Governor Gretchen Whitmer was a stickler about due diligence and timelines, particularly with mobile betting, prior to the coronavirus shutdowns and it would seem that some of her reservations may be relaxed as the football season approaches.
Whenever it happens, DraftKings should be right there at the forefront, much like they were in Indiana as one of the first apps to launch. BetMGM at MGM Grand Detroit took the most revenue in retail wagering just before the shutdown. Penn National / Barstool is up and running at Greektown and FanDuel is running at MotorCity Casino. None of the Native American casinos were open for betting at the time of the shutdown.
DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM are likely to fight for the first mobile dollars whenever they get the green light to launch their sports betting apps.
But, the biggest takeaway here is that DraftKings has found its way into the Michigan market to take advantage of what The Wolverine State has to offer.