Michigan’s fast online gambling start is hard to ignore. Michigan online casinos and mobile sports betting apps are already on par with New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s more mature markets. And as MichiganBetting.com previously reported, Michigan coming out of the gate at a full sprint is quite different than the starts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Why Michigan is outperforming its peers is an interesting question, and a recent survey might provide some of the answers.
Legal Sports Betting Awareness is Fairly High
A study of 700 Michigan adults 21+ from January 29 through February 1, 2021, presented some interesting findings.
Most notably, 72% of respondents are aware of legal sports betting in Michigan. That awareness comes with the caveat that 55% of respondents can’t name a licensed sports betting brand.
The full report contains a lot of information, including breaking down the above results by age. The findings can be found here.
A Similar Online Gambling Survey Took Place in 2014
A survey looking at the awareness of legal online gambling in New Jersey conducted in 2014 produced some very different findings. Commercial Intelligence interviewed 506 New Jersey online gamblers between January 16th and 23rd, 2014, on a range of online gambling topics.
One of the questions asked was the usage of legal betting sites.
In 2014, 21% of respondents said they only placed sports bets at licensed New Jersey sites. If that seems like an odd number to you, it’s because New Jersey didn’t offer licensed sports betting until 2018.
Or, as Bill Pascrell III noted in July 2014, nine months after the state’s online casinos and poker rooms went live, data suggested roughly two-thirds of the state was still unaware online gambling was legal in New Jersey.
The difference between New Jersey (one of the country’s first online gambling movers) and Michigan is stark. The increase seven years later is indicative of the overall level of awareness and understanding of legal online gambling options.
What Brand Has the Most Room for Growth?
Looking at unaided brand awareness, it’s hard not to be bullish on Barstool Sports.
Every brand has plenty of room to boost consumer awareness (FanDuel was the best known at just 22%), but a comparison of performance to brand awareness makes Barstool’s early numbers all the more impressive.
According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board’s January reporting, Barstool ranked:
- Third in betting handle
- Third in gross gaming revenue
- First in adjusted gaming revenue
The survey results put Barstool’s brand awareness at just 1%, tied for sixth with PointsBet and William Hill. A far cry from its three competitors:
- FanDuel 22%
- DraftKings 16%
- BetMGM 11%
The gap closes in the aided awareness results:
- FanDuel 64%
- DraftKings 63%
- BetMGM 47%
- Barstool 31%
And is in between the two when it comes to ad recall:
- FanDuel 43%
- DraftKings 41%
- BetMGM 26%
- Barstool 10%
Bottom line, Barstool competed, and in many metrics, outperformed the above three brands despite its shallow brand awareness.
This discrepancy points to Barstool’s initial batch of registrations having an exceedingly high conversion rate to active bettors. That lines up with what Penn National reported in Q4, as the company highlighted it had more than 48,000 registrations and more than 26,000 first-time depositors over its first ten days.