Michigan Online Sports Betting

Michigan Sports Betting

It took a rocky road, but sports betting has arrived in Michigan.

After four years, numerous bills, and an unfortunate last-minute veto, Michigan’s race for online gaming legislation has finally crossed the finish line. Just days before Christmas 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a group of bills including HB 4916, the lawful sports betting act, which legalized sports betting in the state. On March 11, 2020, the first legal sports bets were placed in Michigan.

This page will serve as your comprehensive guide to sports betting in Michigan. You have questions? Here are the answers.

When Will Online Betting Start?

Now that online sports wagering is legal, it’s the big question on everyone’s mind. While a quick rollout, potentially by March 2020 was initially expected, it didn’t work out that way. In January 2020 the Michigan Gaming Control Board disappointed many by announcing that mobile sportsbooks likely wouldn’t launch until 2021.

Retail sportsbooks on the other hand, are officially up and running! MGM Grand Detroit and the Greektown Casino both accepted bets on March 11, 2020 – the first legal wagers in the state. However, when it comes to online operations, Michigan wants to be sure that all components, including enforcement of rules and geofencing, are done right. It’s not uncommon to see a delay from the first brick-and-mortar bets to full fledged online wagering. For example, West Virginia began accepting retail sports bets in August of 2018, but it took nearly a year for the first permanent online sportsbooks to make an appearance.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has already expressed a willingness to expedite license applications for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, so be ready to watch the market grow.

How To Get Started

Now that sports betting is legal in Michigan, let’s take a look at who can wager, and how to get started. There are a few restrictions to note:

Age Limit

This likely won’t come as a shock, but you need to be 21 years old to bet on sports in Michigan. With just a few exceptions, 21 is the standard age to play in the United States.

Location

Another industry standard, in order to engage in Michigan online sports betting you have to actually be in Michigan. Before placing a bet on a computer you’ll be required to download and install a plugin that will confirm your location. If you’re betting on a mobile device it’s a little easier, as the built-in GPS chips can satisfy this for you.

Don’t live in Michigan? Not a problem, you don’t have to be a resident to play. Anytime you’re within the state’s borders you can get involved.

Registration

While each online bookmaker will have its own sign up process, they all typically follow the same formula. Potential bettors will need to provide key information like name, physical address, phone, email, and a Social Security Number. 

It’s important to keep in mind that you can create an online sports betting account, and even fund it from anywhere. However, in order to actually place a wager you’ll need to confirm that you are actually in Michigan. Thus, if you have an upcoming trip, family visit, airport layover, etc., you can create/fund your account in advance so you don’t have to waste valuable time once you arrive.

Unlike Iowa and Illinois, Michigan thankfully chose not to include an in-person registration requirement. Bettors will be able to create their account and get started with online sports betting entirely from home – you never have to set foot inside a casino if you don’t want to.

Depositing Money

Speaking of funding an account, it’s really a painless process now. Modern online sportsbooks provide copious options for getting money in, and out of your account. While options will vary based on the operator, there are a lot of common choices that have become pretty standard within the industry:

  • Credit/Debit Cards (primarily Visa/MasterCard)
  • ACH/eChecks
  • Online Banking Transfers
  • Cash at the casino cage
  • PayPal

A major positive for legal betting in Michigan is that online sites are partnered with a physical casino in the state. Therefore you can always physically go to that casino and deposit or withdraw directly at the cage if you don’t feel like setting it up online.

Michigan Online Sportsbooks

In Michigan each commercial casino, of which there are three, is allowed to partner with an online operator to offer mobile gaming. In addition, there are twelve federally recognized tribes in the state that are each allowed to engage in partnerships of their own. While the official launch of online sports betting may be months off, agreements have already started to emerge. We will update this page accordingly as more information becomes available.

BetMGM

  • Retail Launch: March 11, 2020
  • Partner Casino: MGM Grand Detroit
  • Online/Mobile Launch: TBD, likely 2021

MGM opened the Michigan sports betting market, accepting the state’s first retail wagers on March 11, 2020. The MGM Grand Detroit is one of the state’s largest gambling facilities, and is located in the heart of downtown Detroit. The BetMGM online sports betting platform is expected to arrive in Michigan in 2021.

PointsBet

  • Retail Launch: TBD
  • Partner: Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
  • Parter Casinos: Northern Waters Casino
  • Online/Mobile Launch: TBD, likely 2021

On January 6th, 2020, PointsBet announced it had entered into an exclusive agreement with the Lac Vieux Desert Public Enterprise and Finance Commission, an arm of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. PointsBet will work together with the tribe in order to offer online sports betting and casino games throughout Michigan. Their brick-and-mortar sportsbook will be located at the Northern Waters Casino Resort on reservation in Watersmeet.

PointsBet is a rapidly growing, Australia-based bookmaker that is building immense momentum in the U.S. It has already carved out a sizable market share in both New Jersey and Iowa. One of its most popular features is the ability to wager with PointsBetting, a unique bet type where every score matters, and you can sweat every play.

FOX Bet

  • Retail Launch: TBD
  • Partner: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority
  • Partner Casinos: Odawa Casino Resort, Odawa Casino Mackinaw City
  • Online/Mobile Launch: TBD, likely 2021

An official agreement between The Stars Group and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority was announced on January 6th, 2020. Under the partnership The Stars Group will use the Odawa tribes license to operate its online sportsbook, casino, and poker products. 

The Stars Group, known best in the iGaming world for its dominant PokerStars brand, will offer sports betting in Michigan under the FOX Bet name. FOX Bet is already active in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

William Hill

  • Retail Launch: Fall 2020 (projected)
  • Partner: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
  • Parter Casinos: Turtle Creek Casino, Leelanau Sands (satellite location)
  • Online/Mobile Launch: TBD, likely 2021

William Hill announced its partnership with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians on February 24, 2020. The primary retail sportsbook will be located at the Onyx Sports Bar at Turtle Creek Casino, with a satellite location established at the Leelanau Sands. William Hill hopes to be accepting bets at both locations by football season 2020.

William Hill began accepting wagers in the UK all the way back in 1934, and is now one of the world’s largest bookmakers. William Hill brand sportsbooks are now a prominent fixture throughout the U.S., and will arrive soon in Michigan.

Penn National (Barstool Sportsbook?)

  • Retail Launch: March 11, 2020
  • Partner Casino: Greektown Casino
  • Online/Mobile Launch: TBD, Likely 2021

The Detroit-based Greektown Casino opened its retail sportsbook on March 11, 2020. Along with the MGM Grand Detroit, it was the joint-first to accept legal wagers in Michigan. The Greektown Casino is a Penn National Gaming property, and will serve as the home base for the company’s online footprint in Michigan. Having purchased a 36% stake in Barstool Sports in January 2020, Michigan may be one of the first states to house an official Barstool Sportsbook – both retail and online.

FanDuel

  • Retail Launch: March 12, 2020
  • Partner Casino: MotorCity Casino
  • Online/Mobile Launch: TBD, Likely 2021

DFS mega-site FanDuel will operate in Michigan through a partnership with the MotorCity Casino in Detroit. Its retail sportsbook opened just a day after MGM and Greektown got things started on March 12, 2020. It’s facility at the MotorCity casino spans two-stories, and features six betting windows, more than 60 TVs, a sports ticker, VIP service, and more than 50 self-service betting kiosks.

Parx

  • Retail Launch: TBD
  • Partner: Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians
  • Partner Casino: Gun Lake Casino
  • Online/Mobile Launch: TBD, Likely 2021

The Parx Casino is located in Pennsylvania, just a few miles from the Delaware River which separates it from New Jersey. Its online operations have been a hit in both its home state, and across the river in NJ – but now is the time for expansion. Through a partnership with Gun Lake Casino, Parx will make Michigan its third state of operation.

Who Else Will Join?

Other online sportsbooks that may enter the Michigan market include:

  • DraftKings
  • BetAmerica
  • theScore
  • 888
  • Caesars

With the possibility of around 15 different online sportsbook partnerships, there are sure to be surprise contenders in the Michigan market. We’ll update accordingly as more agreements are announced.

Michigan Retail Sportsbooks

While online sports betting may be delayed until 2021, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are officially live! There are currently 26 casinos in Michigan, 3 commercial, and 23 run by recognized tribes. Under the new law, each site is eligible to operate a retail sportsbook. The casinos and affiliations are as follows:

CasinoCommercial / TribalRetail LaunchOnline PartnerOnline Launch
MGM Grand DetroitCommercialMarch 11, 2020BetMGM2021 (projected)
Greektown CasinoCommercialMarch 11, 2020Barstool (projected)2021 (projected)
MotorCity CasinoCommercialMarch 12, 2020FanDuel2021 (projected)
Odawa Casino ResortTribalTBDFOX Bet2021 (projected)
Odawa Casino Mackinaw CityTribalTBDFOX Bet2021 (projected)
Northern Waters CasinoTribalTBDPointsBet2021 (projected)
Turtle Creek CasinoTribalFall 2020 (projected)William Hill2021 (projected)
Leelanau Sands CasinoTribalFall 2020 (projected)William Hill (satellite)2021 (projected)
Gun Lake CasinoTribalTBDParx2021 (projected)
Bay Mills ResortTribalTBDTBDTBD
FireKeepers CasinoTribalTBDTBDTBD
Four Winds New BuffaloTribalTBDTBDTBD
Four Winds HartfordTribalTBDTBDTBD
Four Winds DowagiacTribalTBDTBDTBD
Island Resort & CasinoTribalTBDTBDTBD
Kewadin Casino ChristmasTribalTBDTBDTBD
Kewadin Casino HesselTribalTBDTBDTBD
Kewadin Casino ManistiqueTribalTBDTBDTBD
Kewadin Casino Sault St. MarieTribalTBDTBDTBD
Kewadin Shores Casino St. IgnaceTribalTBDTBDTBD
Kings Club CasinoTribalTBDTBDTBD
Little River CasinoTribalTBDTBDTBD
Ojibwa Casino MarquetteTribalTBDTBDTBD
Ojibwa Casino BaragaTribalTBDTBDTBD
Saganing Eagles Landing CasinoTribalTBDTBDTBD
Soaring Eagle CasinoTribalTBDTBDTBD

The Long Road to Michigan Online Sports Betting

PASPA

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA for short, was approved in 1992. The end result was that it effectively barred sports betting in the United States (with a few exceptions). For nearly 30 years it served as the barrier between states, and legal, regulated sports betting. But no more.

On May 14th, 2018, the Supreme Court officially struck down PASPA, opening the door for each state to individually pursue sports betting.

2018: Close, But No Cigar

2018 seemed like it was going to be the year that Michigan would finally pass online gaming and sports betting legislation. In the final hours of the 2018 legislative year, Rep Brandt Iden finally got his “lawful internet gaming act” up for a vote. H4926, which would legalize online poker, casino games, slots and lay the groundwork for sports betting, easily passed in the Senate with a 33-5 vote. The bill quickly moved to the House and three hours later easily passed 71-35.

The only thing standing between legal, safe and regulated online gaming was a signature from the lame duck Governor, Rick Snyder. As his last act in office, Snyder vetoed H4926 along with 39 other bills that arrived on his desk for approval. With that veto, online gaming was dead for 2018.

The Lawful Sports Betting Act

Lead again by Rep Brandt Iden, Michigan legislators set out to try once more in 2019 with a retooled bill. After successful negotiations over taxes and fees, the Lawful Sports Betting Act was born.

HB 4916, the Lawful Sports Betting Act, was passed as a part of a larger iGaming bill that also included casino and poker on December 11th, 2019. It sets the sports betting tax at 8.4%, a competitive rate within the industry. Tax revenue will be earmarked for the State School Aid fund.

Potential operators will be required to pay a $50K fee to apply for a license, $100K if approved for the actual license, and will then be responsible for a $50K renewal fee each year.

Michigan, like Illinois and Tennessee, will also require official league data.

Michigan’s Betting History

Until 1972, horse racing was the only form of gambling in Michigan, but that changed when charity gambling and lottery were added. In the early 1980’s, Native American tribes began offering high stakes bingo halls that proved to be immensely popular. The tribes went on to negotiate deals with the state for class 2 gaming licenses that would allow them to offer electronic bingo and lottery games. There were some legal battles, but in the end the state granted the licenses.

Until 1996, if residents of Michigan wanted to gamble, they had to cross the border into Canada. State legislators saw the potential for much needed tax revenue and legislation was passed to open 3 casinos in downtown Detroit. It wasn’t until 1999 that the first casino opened its doors.

While the commercial casinos were thriving, the Native American tribes felt slighted and wanted in on the action. After a slew of legal battles, the case eventually wound up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting with the tribes being granted licenses to offer table games and slots. There are now more than 20 tribal casinos run by 12 different tribes.

In 1999, with the state fearing that online gambling could take away revenue from the new casinos in Detroit, a piece of legislation was passed banning all forms of online gambling. This was short lived as the law was reversed later that year.

With 26 casinos spread throughout the state, Michigan is clearly not averse to gambling. It only makes sense to take the next step: moving online.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sports betting legal in Michigan?

Yes! Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 4916 into law on December 20th, 2019, legalizing sports betting in Michigan.

Where can I bet on sports in Michigan?

There are currently three retail sportsbooks open for business in Michigan at the following casinos: MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown Casino, and the MotorCity Casino.

As per the new law, each of the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos is now eligible to open a sportsbook. In addition, the three commercial casinos and the 12 federally recognized tribes within the state will each be eligible to establish partners for online betting – so you can wager from anywhere in the state.

What types of bets will I be able to place?

There are no major restrictions on the types of wagers that can be made in Michigan. Moneyline bets, spread, over/under, prop bets, parlays, etc. Whatever your preference, you’ll be able to find it.

    

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