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Barstool Sportsbook Eyes Michigan

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Barstool Sportsbook Eyes Michigan
Photo by William Edwards / AFP

The Barstool Sportsbook will be looking to further their ascension up the US legal betting ladder with a rumored move into one of the up-and-coming bet-friendly states, Michigan, at Greektown. Already present in Pennsylvania, Michigan would be the second state to welcome the much-heralded sportsbook and be viewed as just another step on Barstool’s road to elite sportsbook status.

If Pennsylvania is any indication of the power of the Barstool name, the newest sportsbook brand in the US scene will likely take Michigan by storm. In its first weekend of being available, the Barstool Sportsbook app was downloaded over 63,000 times in Pennsylvania, easily eclipsing the record download total of one of the biggest DFS providers that saw 9000 sign-ups during their first weekend of operation in New Jersey in 2018.

The Long Road for Detroit Betting

The Michigan sports betting scene got off to a rough start due to a March launch at the beginning of the COVID lockdowns that immediately squashed any momentum. When the state opened up casinos for good in July, three went live in the City including MGM Grand Detroit, with its BetMGM Sportsbook, one of the DFS Big Dogs and Penn National Gaming owned Greektown, where the Barstool Sportsbook will call home.

Penn National bought a 36% interest in Barstool Sports January 29 and became the sports media platform’s official gaming partner. Now they will bring their uber-hyped Barstool Sportsbook to what has become an increasingly competitive Michigan scene.

The Barstool Factor

There is little doubt about what Barstool brings to Michigan. It is a massive media juggernaut with 66 million dedicated viewers as well as 8.8 million Instagram followers, almost 5 million on Facebook, and 2.5 million on Twitter nationally. Expectations are that it will make some noise in Michigan as well. A goal for Greektown was “finding opportunities in the future to have live or recorded events at our facility” – something that Barstool is built to do.

“When the Barstool guys go to an event, they always attract a big crowd,” Hugh Flack, Greektown vice president of gaming operations said. “In addition, they obviously have a huge online presence. I want to say they reach millions of people through their online channels. And if you look at what their brand is all about, it’s all about sports and sports betting, so it’s a very easy tie-in to the sports betting industry that we’re now in.”

Barstool’s Next Steps

Penn National Gaming operates 41 casinos in 19 states and they haven’t been shy about their desire to get the Barstool app out to as many markets as possible, as soon as possible. And obviously they have the resources and locations to do just that.

New Jersey, the new king of the bet-friendly states is said to be on the radar. They will be looking to get a piece of the pie in the Garden State where they set a single-state monthly record $668 million handle in August. Other prime states that already house Penn National sportsbooks are rumored to be in the brand’s crosshairs as well.

Michigan is surely just a next step for Penn National and the Barstool Sportsbook. Expect the brand to be making a lot of noise over the next year as it tries to become a dominant force in the ever-growing US legal sports betting market. And most like their chances of doing just that.