Michigan Betting Launch: Ranking the legal online sportsbooks and casinos based on customer feedback

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Matt Tenby
Matt has been a writer for American Betting Experts since 2019. He loves to watch, bet on and write about soccer but is also a huge NBA and NFL fan.

The official Michigan betting launch on Friday allowed Michiganders to try out online casino and sports betting for the first time – here’s what they thought.

Michigan launched legal online sports and casino gambling this weekend to a huge fanfare. The coming days and weeks will doubtless see the various Michigan online casino operators releasing press releases boasting about the number of new player acquisitions that were made, the total betting handles and the numerous other metrics which help to raise their share price and standing in the eyes of investors.

But how was the first ever experience of online gambling for those who really matter, the users?

AmericanBettingExperts.com chose to spend the weekend reaching out to various people in the state, contacting some of the prominent new Michigan social media properties to survey their followers and get the reactions of the man in the street to how they found the various different nuances of opening an online betting account, placings bets, any issues they encountered and, crucially, which apps they would use again and which they will consign to a folder on their iPhone, never to be opened again.

The Michigan Online Betting Survey

All respondents were sent the same set of questions regarding legal gambling in Michigan, and their responses have been collated by the www.americanbettingexperts.com team in order to provide an accurate overview of the first weekend of online gambling in Michigan.


  • What sportsbooks/casinos did you sign up for on opening weekend?
  • Had you pre-registered with the sportsbook/casinos or did you open your account after Michigan “went live” on Friday?
  • Did you have any issues with receiving the welcome bonus?
  • Were you able to place your bets?
  • Did you manage to make a deposit with the sportsbook/casino?
  • With which sportsbook/casino did you have the best experience?
  • Please elaborate
  • With which sportsbook/casino did you have the worst experience?
  • Please elaborate
  • Any additional information you would like to share?
  • Thanks for taking the time to take the survey

Responses Overview

The general response to the launch was positive, with most respondents having excitedly opened multiple online accounts in the lead up to Michigan’s ‘Go Live’ time of 12:00 EST on Friday January 22.

Ahead of the Michigan betting launch there had been pre-launch offers from BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetRivers with various Free Bet incentives for those registering in advance.

Unfortunately BetMGM’s app malfunctioned on launch, which meant that the promised $200 in Free Bets was not available. This left people unable to place their bets on opening day and caused a lot of mistrust, which resulted in a high percentage of the respondents refusing to make a deposit on the opening weekend.

DraftKings came out on top for the user experience from registration to app usability ahead of the Michigan betting launch. The Fantasy Sports giant allowed their users to open accounts, navigate all markets available to those in other states and fill betslips, thus experiencing everythng except bet placement ahead of launch day.

BetRivers didn’t have an app to download before launch, due to their geo-restricted technology, which meant customers could navigate the desktop site, but needed to install software to locate them within state borders post-launch. This software is built into apps and locates users via their mobile device but DraftKings and BetMGM both had issues locating users and some Michiganders were geo-blocked in the first few hours.

All issues were settled over the course of the weekend and although it didn’t reflect well on the brands in the eyes of the users, it is at least a positive in how seriously these operators regard ensuring that customers are located within the states and complying with regulations on legal gambling. An over-cautious approach lost them some customers on the first weekend but it will have been well received amongst regulators, particularly with other state launches on the horizon for both betting giants.

Once launched, the Barstool Sports app and William Hill both scored very highly amongst users, with one reflecting that William Hill was “so easy a caveman could do it”.

Barstool Sportsbook had not offered a pre-launch bonus but they promised to match every First Deposit with a donation to the Barstool Fund for small businesses. The company founder, Dave Portnoy, also helped with his post at 12:07 on Friday showing his placement of a huge bet on the Detroit Pistons, which showed his legion of fans how well the app worked immediately.

FanDuel received more mixed reactions, with some users finding the app very easy to use and bonuses credited and withdrawable instantly but other stating that “”it already seems like FanDuel seems to be the most challenging to work with”.

AmericanBettingExperts Readers Michigan Gambling App Rankings

  1. Barstool Sports
  2. DraftKings
  3. William Hill
  4. FanDuel
  5. PointsBet
  6. BetRivers
  7. BetMGM

Key Quotes from Survey Respondents

“it already seems like Fan Duel seems to be the most challenging to work with”

“So easy a caveman could do it”

“DraftKings has given me the best experience so far. Right at Noon it was giving geolocation errors, but by 12:30 PM that had been fixed.”

“Most impressed with Draft Kings pre launch. Let’s you navigate and very user friendly.”

“No issue with any of the welcome bonuses so far besides BetMGM casino since I cannot access the casino on the mobile app right now.”

” FanDuel also had a very smooth experience and was available without issue right at Noon. I was able to easily login and redeem my bonus offers. For the casino, I played through the $50 free bet and ended up withdrawing $100 in real money already! I didn’t even make a deposit.”

” I have had the worst experience with BetMGM so far, which is surprising because I thought it would be one of the best apps from the advertising. I’ve had issues accessing the sportsbook after logging in, then the app was very laggy while making selections to use my freebet.”

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