Michigan’s Sports Betting Launch The Most Anticipated Of The Past Year

Several US states went live with online sports betting over the past 12 months. According to Google Trends data, the anticipation for Michigan’s sports betting launch topped all other states in that time frame.

The long-awaited debut of Michigan’s online sportsbooks commenced on January 22, 2021. Michigan became the latest state to launch online sports betting in an unprecedented era of growth for legal sports wagering in the US.

Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, and Virginia, along with Michigan, all launched online sports betting within the last year. A Google Trends comparison for all five over that period shows that Michigan set the benchmark for search interest:

State Sports Betting Comparison Jan. 20, 2020-Jan. 27, 2021

*Interactive chart can be viewed here.

Google Trends compares search terms across a given period and assigns a “100” ranking to the term and time period that produced the most searches across the comparison parameters.

The above chart shows a comparison for “Michigan sports betting” against the same search for Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, and Virginia. The comparison covers a period of January 27, 2020, to January 27, 2021, with all five states in the comparison launching online sports betting within that period.

“Michigan sports betting” tops the charts in this comparison, which includes data from all US Google searches in the 12-month period. Michigan gets the “100” rating for the week of January 17-23, 2021, which covers the days leading up to and including the state’s online sports betting launch.

“Virginia sports betting” takes second place in this comparison, with a “77” rating for that same week. FanDuel Sportsbook debuted in Virginia on January 21 as the first of the state’s online sportsbooks to go live.

Tennessee launched online sports betting on November 1, 2020. “Tennessee sports betting” yielded a “66” rating for the week leading up to the launch, marking the third-highest peak on this list.

Winter Sports In Season For Michigan Launch

Interest in sports betting appears to be growing significantly with each state that launches mobile sportsbooks.

Illinois peaked with a “56” rating for the week of March 1-7, 2020, which led up to the March 9 launch of retail sportsbooks in the state. Interest in Colorado sports betting hit the highest mark right around the May 1 launch of online sports betting, with a “41” rating according to Google Trends.

The five states in this comparison launched at different times on the unconventional 2020 sports calendar. Illinois, for example, launched retail sports betting on March 9, before the COVID-19 crisis hit American shores.

Nobody knew at that time that March Madness would eventually be canceled completely, and the NBA playoffs and beginning of the MLB season postponed for months.

Illinois’ online sportsbooks debuted in mid-June, with virtually no US sports to wager on at that time. Colorado’s May 1 launch happened in similar circumstances.

Tennessee, Virginia, and Michigan all went live with online sports betting during the fall/winter sports season. Those three states debuted mobile sports betting at a much more opportune time versus their Illinois and Colorado counterparts.

Top Sportsbook Searches In Michigan

The following table looks at four of the top online sportsbook brands launched in Michigan on Jan. 22, 2021.

This Google Trends comparison evaluates DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM Sportsbook, and Barstool Sportsbook over the period of January 20-27 2021, and limits the data comparison to searches from within Michigan:

Michigan Sportsbook Comparison Jan. 20-27, 2021

*Interactive chart available here.

FanDuel Sportsbook achieves peak interest in this comparison, earning the “100” ranking right at the 12 pm EST time of launch on January 22. Barstool Sportsbooks, with a “70,” comes in second, while DraftKings Sportsbooks takes third at that time with a “61” rating.

The search for “BetMGM Sportsbook” flatlines across the seven-day stretch, but that’s likely not an accurate representation of interest in the BetMGM product. Taking the “sportsbook” out of the search and comparing just “BetMGM” to the other sportsbook brand names shows massive interest in BetMGM on launch day.

BetMGM launched at the same time as the other platforms in this comparison, offering a hybrid sports betting and online casino platform under the BetMGM name. Taking the word “sportsbook” out of the search and just comparing FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Barstool by brand name only shows BetMGM at peak Google search interest at the time of launch:

*Interactive chart available here.                                                                                                                                                        

Google searchers certainly showed big interest in BetMGM without the “sportsbook” at the back of the name. DraftKings, FanDuel, and Barstool all performed well on Google with or without the “sportsbook” qualifier added.

In general, sports betting shows a big upward trend as the US approaches the three-year mark of widespread legal sports betting. The online sports betting launches in Tennessee, Virginia, and especially Michigan show interest in mobile sports betting at an all-time high.

Michigan is projected to become one of the biggest sports betting markets in the US. casinoreviewbank.com analysis puts the state on a path to produce as much as $400 million in annual sports betting revenue.

About the Author

Geoffrey Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad.