Success From Day One: Michigan Sports Betting Interview With PointsBet’s Pat Eichner

They say the early bird catches the worm. A cliche yes, but also appropriate, because being on-time is great, but being early is even better. Last month when sports betting finally launched in Michigan, PointsBet had been prepared to offer their products for months. It was simply a matter of being told when to go.

“We were on the starting line,” says Patrick Eichner of PointsBet, “and we were live on the first day of official Michigan sports betting. It’s been a great success from day one.”

Eichner is the Director of Communications for PointsBet, which has offices in Denver and Jersey City. The parent company operates from Australia. Michigan is one of six states that PointsBet operates in, joining Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and New Jersey. Many years in the business as an international company has helped PointsBet as they venture to states that have legalized sports betting and online gaming.

“Australia is a mature market, where [online gambling] has been legal for 20+ years, and we use that experience for our US markets,” Eichner explains. “That’s why we were so ready when gaming rolled out in Michigan.”

Online Sports Betting In Michigan Is A Success For Gamblers And The State

So far, in a little over a month, Michigan has been successful in generating gaming revenue for the state, and PointsBet couldn’t be happier. The new market has also proven to be active and engaging.

“It’s been fantastic across the board,” Eichner says. “Every operator was excited to get their feet into [this state]. Michigan has a big population, extremely passionate sports fans, and historic sports franchises.”

The success of the Michigan Wolverines basketball team has been reflected in sports betting thus far in Michigan, and Eichner notes unique characteristics in the Great Lakes State that PointsBet has seen so far.  

“Specific to Michigan we have noticed there is more interest in hockey than anywhere else, even New Jersey. Michigan is a state performing well above the average number [in hockey betting].”

The Detroit Red Wings are one of the most iconic franchises in North American sports, having won 11 Stanley Cup titles. Even though the team has been mediocre the last few seasons, the Red Wings have a loyal following in Michigan. 

PointsBet Forges Relationships With Pistons, Red Wings, And Tigers

Last year, PointsBet announced an agreement with the Detroit Tigers as the Official Gaming Partner of the MLB team. Earlier this year the company announced similar partnerships with the Red Wings and Detroit Pistons. Former hoops star Richard Hamilton was named ambassador for PointsBet in the state.

In the future, new exciting products will be available to fans of the Pistons, Red Wings, and Pistons. A PoinstBet sports bar and official retail sportsbook and gaming location will be launched in the Olympia Entertainment sector near Little Caesar’s Arena in downtown Detroit. More opportunities will unfold near Comerica Park and with the Pistons, who also play downtown.

“Detroit is unique in that all four major professional sports teams are located within a few blocks of each other downtown,” Eichner says. “We are the first gaming company to strike deals with three major pro teams in the same city.” 

Technology And Responsibility In The Gaming Industry

Online gaming is new to Michigan, and many people have questions about it. PointsBet has been proactive in offering education so customers can be safe and have a positive experience.

Through its mobile app, which is available for iOS and Android, PointsBet offers secure transactions and safety features so customers can monitor their activity. For example, gamblers can limit the amount of deposits they can make.

“We have a number of measures that people can utilize in the app,” says Eichner. “For example: deposit limits, spend limits, time limits, these are useful measures. We take gaming responsibility seriously.” The company is a member of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

The PointsBet app is an award-winner, offering a fast, efficient experience. The PointsBet App is the fastest in the industry, as measured by Google Analytics and Page Insights, according to Eichner. 

“We pride ourselves on speed and ease of use. We want our customers to be able to place bets on one page. We’re an anomaly in the industry. We own all of our own technology from end to end. Everything you see is PointsBet.”

In 2020, PointsBet was named top sports betting operator, most socially responsible operator, as well as the US rising star to watch by eGaming Review.

Listening To Customers In Michigan

Replicating its practice in other states, PointsBet fosters a community around their app and website, and the company does more listening than talking.

“Clients can tweet at us and DM us, to request events they want to see,” Eichner says, “We can [often] get that onsite in minutes.”

As an example of their flexibility and willingness to respond to feedback, PointsBet recently responded to a customer in Colorado who wanted a Lebron “MVP double-double” (NBA season MVP and Finals MVP) prop bet. The offering was online quickly.

How Online Gaming Impacts Jobs And The Economy In Michigan

Tax revenue is collected on all online gaming in the state, per the Michigan Gaming Control Board, but beyond levies, there are other positive economic impacts for the state.

PointsBet is planning a retail presence in partnership with the Lac Vieux Desert band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, located in Watersmeet, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. Similar operations with the Catfish Bend Casino in Iowa and at the Hawthorne Race Course (Illinois) have added jobs and pumped money into those communities.

The opportunity to work with Native American tribes is a unique aspect of working in Michigan.

“We have a tangible operation [that can] make an impact to our partners and the local economy,” says Eichner. “That revenue goes into helping the tribe with programs that assist their members.”

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.