Barstool Sportsbook Launching in Michigan, its Second US Market

Following its debut US launch in Pennsylvania last month, Barstool Sportsbook has its sights set on Michigan for its next U.S. launch. This according to Penn National CEO Jay Snowden, who this week sat for an interview with Fantini Research, which provides paid market analysis for and about the gambling industry.

Earlier this month, Barstool Sportsbook announced it was partnering with Greektown Casino in Detroit for retail sports betting, so it will have a somewhat established land casino presence in the state as the legislature hammers out the final details for the launch of mobile sports betting and online casinos. Snowden said he expects the Barstool Sportsbook app to go live in Michigan in “mid-to-late November,” which as of now aligns with how the state’s timetable for legalization is playing out.

How Michigan Launch Differs From Pennsylvania Launch

The sports betting landscape is quite different in Pennsylvania and Michigan. When Barstool Sportsbook launched in PA in September, it was entering an established market as a new player, which Snowden conceded meant the company was “playing catch-up” as a late arrival. Michigan, however, is on the verge of legalizing mobile sports betting, with all entrants set to open up shop at the same time.

“In Michigan, the gun goes off and we’re all at the starting line,” Snowden said.

The CEO also noted that since Michigan is the first market Barstool Sportsbook will be launching at the same time as its competitors, how it fares here could telegraph its potential success in other markets down the line. In a recent conversation with FOX Business, Snowden outlined an ambitious launch plan for the brand, saying the app would be available in every state with legal mobile sports betting by the end of next year.

“I think it’s going to be a nice proof point for us to show what many other states will look like once we have the appropriate time to play catch-up. What Michigan looks like in month 2 or month 3 might be a fair indication as to what it will look like across the country in the 20 states we’ll be operating in a few years down the road,” Snowden told Fantini.

A Challenging Time for Sportsbook Launches and Casinos

Penn National bought Barstool in late-January of this year, around six weeks before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered casinos nationwide. The closures sent shock waves through the company, which Snowden said at one point had “zero revenue coming in.” The company took “significant, drastic action” to weather the crisis, including pay cuts across the board, and furloughing 90% of its company team members.

They kept chugging ahead with their Penn Interactive division, however, to continue development work on the Barstool Sportsbook app, which they’ve since launched in Pennsylvania and will be soon launching in Michigan. As for land casinos, Detroit’s August casino revenues beat expectations overall, but lagged 42% over last year’s numbers.

Barstool Sportsbook Casino App Coming “Soon”

Snowden also told Fantini the company plans to launch its online casino app in Michigan “very soon” after the launch of its sports betting app, pending regulatory approval by the state. As of now a bill legalizing online casinos is making its way through the Michigan Legislature.

“We’re going to be launching in Michigan with sports betting and very soon after when the state is ready, online casino as well. You should expect for us to go from 1-2 states in 2020 to over a dozen states that will be live with both sports betting and online casino where it’s legal by 2021,” Snowden said.

About the Author

Chris Nesi

Chris Nesi is a contributor at Michigan Sharp and the Managing Editor of Colorado Sharp. He’s been an editor and writer for more than a decade, with experience spanning newspapers, magazines, digital news, and commercial writing. His work can be found in publications including TechCrunch, Mental Floss, and Huffington Post. Chris enjoys politics and gambling, and writing about the points at which those worlds intersect.