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Fans cheer during the Michigan Wolverines football National Championship parade on Jan. 13 as we look at Caesars purchasing Wynn's operating rights in Michigan.
Fans cheer during the Michigan Wolverines football National Championship parade on Jan. 13. Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images/AFP.

Caesars Entertainment took advantage of an opportunity to pounce on WynnBET Michigan's demise and was able to purchase WynnBET's online gambling skin in the Wolverine State, adding to the online sports betting sites in the state.

Caesars will take over Wynn's presence in the Wolverine State and build on a relationship that Wynn formed with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Caesars already has a standing partnership with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, which provides online casino, poker, and sports betting to Michigan residents.

Tuesday's announcement demonstrates Caesars' growth plans for not only Michigan sports betting, but on a national stage as well as one of the best sportsbooks.

“As we continue to grow our iGaming franchise, the assumption of WynnBET’s iGaming operations in Michigan allows us to tap into a significant market and customer base, providing a crucial step forward in growing our digital products and offering players more ways to play,” said Matt Sunderland, SVP and Chief iGaming Officer for Caesars Entertainment. “We are honored to work with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and look forward to growing with them in Michigan.”

Financial terms were not released.

Satisfying two desires

The announced deal Tuesday satisfies two major desires. The first is the high-profile exit of the WynnBET sports betting and iGaming brand from the bustling American market. The other is Caesars' desire to expand its product, and one of the best sports betting apps, into one of just six iGaming markets in the country.

WynnBET has made no secret about its desire to exit the U.S. legal sports betting and national iGaming market altogether. The company has been on a steady path to that exit, with the sale of Michigan's "skin" being an important asset to unload. 

Just last week, WynnBET sold its New York sports betting license to PENN Entertainment for $25 million. The week before, the company was given the go-ahead to cease operations in Massachusetts later this month.

Caesars Entertainment, which features one of the best sports betting apps, has been chasing market share in the U.S, frequently falling into the middle of the second tier of providers in America. Not only does the company's latest Michigan move give it a larger presence in a solid legal gaming market, but it also allows it to strut its iGaming chops in one of just six legal online casino markets in the country.

The recent American Gaming Association report of 2023 revenues revealed that iCasinos, despite the limited availability, were responsible for about $6.2 billion in revenues in 2023, or about one-tenth of the total revenues for gaming across the country last year.

For the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians...

The transition away from Wynn and toward Caesars has to be considered a win. The tribe essentially trades a struggling iGaming provider with one that's smack in the middle of the second tier of providers in the American market. Wynn had desires to shutter its operations, while Caesars has been loud about its desire to expand. 

“It was paramount that our next partner in iGaming possessed both expertise in the U.S. iGaming market and a history of strong partnerships in Indian country. We believe we found that with Caesars and look forward to being part of their new iCasino offering,” said Austin Lowes, Chairman of Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.