The opening weekend for legal online sports betting in Michigan saw many bonus offer redemptions, a few technical glitches and at least a couple $100,000-plus losing bets.
Online sports betting officially went live Friday with 10 different app platforms, each partnered with a Detroit casino or tribal casino within Michigan. Soon after launch, users reported malfunctions with the BetMGM app belonging to MGM Grand Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press. A MGM Grand Detroit representative said Monday that high user traffic resulted in technical issues Friday that were fixed later that day.
American Betting Experts, a New Jersey-based analyst for the sports betting market, reported that because of the glitches, BetMGM users initially had trouble redeeming the app's $200 special offers for free bets. Yet, overall, a survey of 100 Michigan sports betting players by American Betting Experts found that 81% of respondents found their experiences over the weekend to be "mostly positive."
Rush Street Interactive (RSI) shared the results of its first weekend of online gaming and sports wagering in the Michigan market. Following the January 22 launch of accepting wagers at its flagship brand, BetRivers.com, RSI's president declared it was a momentous and memorable occasion for the company, as well as, for the state and its economy.
"We are incredibly excited to be off to a strong start in Michigan," said Richard Schwartz, president of RSI's BetRivers.com. "We are thrilled to see our BetRivers.com site live in the booming Michigan market and this first weekend proved to us that there is a huge appetite for online casino and sports betting. We believe our new Michigan customers enjoyed the convenience of wagering on an exciting array of online casino games and sporting events, safely from their mobile devices and computers, on the fun and easy-to-use BetRivers.com platform."
The NFC Championship Game was the most wagered on event in the state of Michigan, followed by the AFC Championship Game. The NFL conference championship games were responsible for 39% of the total weekend handle in the state.
Despite both Michigan and Michigan State's basketball programs being paused due to COVID-19 issues, college basketball was the second-most wagered-on sport of the opening weekend in the state. The Pistons were the most wagered-on NBA team over the weekend, followed closely by the Phoenix Suns.
Blackjack was the most popular casino game, with table games being responsible for 39% of total casino handle. 88 Fortunes was the most popular slot game, with 10% of the total slot handle. Over 120 casino games were available on launch day, with more expected to be added as soon as Monday.
In addition, Genius Sports Group announced Monday that the Michigan Gaming Control Board, granted the company an online sports betting supply license. The license enables Genius Sports Group companies Betgenius and Genius Sports Media to power the sportsbook and marketing operations of licensed betting operators in Michigan’s newly legalized sports wagering market.
“Across the U.S., states are recognizing the potential of online sports betting. The launch of online sports wagering in Michigan and Virginia is the latest evidence of the significant commercial and regulatory tailwinds propelling our industry,” said Jack Davison, Chief Commercial Officer of Genius Sports. “As more states build momentum toward legalization, Genius will continue preparing to quickly obtain state licenses so that we can support our sportsbook partners in capturing market share from day one.”