The legendary sports journal Sports Illustrated launched it’s first online casino in Michigan on February 7th, 2023. Dubbed SI Casino, the launch of Sports Illustrated Casino is a continuation of the saga that saw the stakeholders behind the magazine open the Sports Illustrated Sportsbook in 2021. The SI Sportsbook is available to customers in Michigan, Colorado, and Virginia, but the inhabitants of Colorado and Virginia can not access the online casino, as state regulators in either state do not allow online casino gaming.
The launch of the online casino follows in the footsteps of Sports Illustrated’s sale to Authentic Brands Group in 2018. Since then ABG has been responsible for licensing the brand non-editorial ventures and businesses. The Sports Illustrated Casino and Sportsbook have been created and licensed in co-operation with 888 Holdings, a Gibraltar based gambling company that is listed in the London Stock Exchange. 888 is known for running multiple sportsbooks and casinos across Europe, and they also run an online casino in New Jersey.
In 2019, Daniel Dienst, executive vice chairman of ABG stated that Sports Illustrated was going to be making a strong push for sports betting, which is a key part of “culture and how people engage in sports.” In 2023, they continued with this push in the online casino space. This is likely to the related to the modest success of SI Sportsbook, which has failed to make any significant gains in the US sports betting market.
Sports Illustrated Casino & Sportsbook Still a Big Part of 888’s US Strategy
So far, 888 Holdings, which has more than 2$ billion market cap on London Stock Exchange has failed to make a meaningful impact in the US casino or sports betting scene. 888’s CEO Itai Pazner has announced the brand has a goal of operating in 15 states by the end of 2024. Currently, the plan is not moving with the expected speed, as SI and 888 only combine for 4 of the 15 legal sports betting markets. On the casino side, they are now availabe in 2 of the 4 possible markets, which may be why they’ve prioritized the launch of SI Casino Michigan.
Sports Illustrated Michigan Casino to Enter A Competitive Casino Landscape
If 888 wish to make significant gains in Michigan, they need to put in the work, as SI Casino Michigan is entering a tightly contested space. Michigan is currently the second biggest online casino market in the country, earning almost 2 billion in Revenue in 2022. More than 75% of that revenue goes to top three operators BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel. On the other hand of the spectrum, PointsBet, the smallest operator so far, pulls in only about 0.05% of the total revenue.