16 June, 2022

Opportunity in the Great Lakes State

The team at affiliate BestOdds take a Michigander at sports betting...

The top three states in the US for overall total sports betting handle are New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

With 10 million residents or 3% of the entire US population living in the Great Lake State, sportsbooks are aggressively trying to earn their piece of the enormous Michigan sports and casino betting pie.

For December 2021, the total handle for Michigan sports betting operators was an impressive $484.6m. With 15 operators now licensed to offer sports betting products in the state, the competition to claim market share is fierce and crowded.

For regulated US affiliates, Michigan is a great opportunity and those who can successfully help the many sportsbooks with their ambitious customer acquisition goals, could make 2022 a very rewarding year.

Michigan Sportsbook Market Share:

Top 3 Sportsbooks (Michigan) - By Total Handle (2021)

In our table above, we see that FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM are the top three sportsbooks in Michigan. Combined, these three sportsbooks make up an impressive 76% of the total handle.

Things also get interesting when we analyse the total revenue of these three giants and not just their overall handle.

Top 3 Sportsbooks (Michigan) - By Total Revenue (2021)

Most of us recognise that FanDuel and DraftKings have a huge daily fantasy sports (DFS) database to draw from for new customer acquisition opportunities. An advantage their competitors just don’t have. Traditionally those two giants have not been as reliant on affiliate partnerships to help drive new business compared to many other operators.

It’s very interesting to note just how efficient BetMGM is compared to FanDuel and DraftKings. BetMGM trailed FanDuel by $165m in total handle, but in overall revenue it trails by just $10m.

Compared to DraftKings, BetMGM generated almost $39m more in revenue last year despite a $123m difference in handle. That’s efficient.

BetMGM has a physical sportsbook and lounge in Detroit, which gives them an advantage from a brand recognition standpoint and is an obvious extra revenue generator for them. From an affiliate perspective, BetMGM makes for an excellent partner. It is aggressively trying to become the most popular sportsbook brand in Michigan and a large part of their strategy is working with those affiliates who can drive new business their way.

However, the battle for the Michigan market share, especially from an affiliate standpoint, is not just about the top three sportsbooks. As we dive deeper down the list of operators, the role of the affiliate becomes even more paramount in helping the many other operators with their customer acquisition strategies.

Additional Michigan Sportsbooks - Total Handle (2021)

Barstool Sports finished 2021 as the fourth ranked sportsbook in Michigan by total handle. By now we are all familiar with the Barstool Sports media empire created by Dave Portnoy and his team. Much like the market leaders at FanDuel and DraftKings, Barstool Sports is often less reliant on affiliate partnerships because of its ability to tap into its own database of end users from its media side of the business.

PointsBet, which is ranked fifth by total handle, does not own a media empire nor does it have a huge DFS database with which they can cross market too. They have traditionally been a very good partnership opportunity for affiliates and currently they are working hard to try and close the handle gap between themselves and Barstool.

Maybe the most exciting opportunity for affiliates licensed in Michigan is the arrival of Caesars. After buying William Hill early in 2021, Caesars didn’t start offering products to Michigan consumers under its own brand until August.

Despite its late start in 2021, Caesars still finished sixth in overall handle. Its 12-month run rate actually projects them to be just outside the top three over the course of a full year.

Caesars has been extremely determined to grow its business in Michigan and appears to have its sights set on cracking the top three. It is another sportsbook who has previously achieved great success through the affiliate partnership route and that will be a big part of its 2022 strategy.

Michigan trails behind New Jersey, Pennsylvania and soon to be New York in total annual handle per state. But, with its current competitive landscape, affiliates have a great opportunity to partner with some truly aggressive operators who are willing to spend on new customer acquisition right now.

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