To legal sports betting hopefuls in Michigan, Christmas came early in 2019, specifically on Dec. 11, the last day of the state’s legislative session of the year.
Specifically, the law allows for legal mobile/online sportsbooks “tethered” to commercial venues with casino licenses operating in Detroit, likewise for the 12 federally-recognized tribes located in the state, which operate a combined 23 casinos in the state. That just means legal online sportsbooks need to have some deal or partnership with an already-existing licensed casino property — and not just anyone can begin taking bets online.
Sports betting was one part of a three-fer iGaming package in late 2019. Another bill formally legalizes daily fantasy sports (HB 4308) and establishes certain rules and consumer protections, while an iGaming (HB 4311) allowing for online casino and poker also passed.
When it comes to the sports betting slice of the package, some lawmakers are hopeful Michigan residents will be able to make legal wagers by March Madness in 2020 — an ambitious but manageable timeline.
Follow the progress of implementation of sports betting in Michigan by checking back to this page often.
Michigan’s sports betting timetable
One reason the March or April 2020 is an achievable sports betting goal for Michigan is because it already has an operating gaming infrastructure much like Indiana, which licensed operators to launch sportsbooks just four months after it became law in the Hoosier State.
In contrast, Tennessee — where gambling was practically non-existent prior to passage of its mobile-only sports betting law – is building its wagering operation from scratch. The Tennessee Lottery was tasked with regulatory oversight there, and they remain fairly early in the game 10 months after legalization, with regulations still a work in progress.
Other factors that could impact the timing of implementation in Michigan is how quickly wagering regulations are drafted and OK’d, the turnaround on licensing from application to approval, and how quickly operators can install and test needed technology and software.
State Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township), one of the bill’s chief sponsors, is hopeful for a mid-March launch to keep bettors and their money in Michigan for the madness of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament rather than having them travel to neighboring Indiana where the Big Ten tournament will be played.
If betting doesn’t hit that date, Iden told Michigan Live he would “definitely put a bet” on people being able to place bets on the Detroit Tigers opening game against the Cleveland Indians on March 26.
Sportsbooks and possible MI sportsbooks
There will be up to about 15 legal online sportsbooks available to bettors in Michigan: one apiece from each of the three commercial casinos and likewise one apiece from each of the 12 federally-recognized Native American tribes operating casinos in the state, which collectively run 23 casinos in Michigan.
The Michigan Gaming Board will oversee implementation of the state’s sports gambling operations, both online and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at each of the state’s 26 total casinos.
While the market won’t be as expansive as in New Jersey and Indiana (where each property can run up to three online “skins” or brands), the setup opens the door to plenty of popular sportsbooks, including the DFS-turned-sportsbook behemoths DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook, which now also can legally operate their daily fantasy games in the state due to a bill that’s part of the iGaming package.
One of the largest casinos in Detroit is the MGM Grand which makes BetMGM a shoo-in for sports bettors as well. BetMGM in 2019 also partnered with Yahoo! Sports for various offerings and cross-promotion.
In early January 2020 a pair of deals were announced involving tribes and sportsbook (and iGaming) operators with which they have partnered. They are:
1. PointBet Sportsbook — partnered with Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
PointsBet entered into an agreement “to provide online and mobile sports wagering and gaming to be rolled out statewide,” in conjunction with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, which owns and operates the Northern Waters Casino Resort on its reservation in Watersmeet, Mich.
2. FOX Bet — partnered with Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority
FOX Bet is the sportsbook offered by Canadian-based The Stars Group (TSG), probably best known for its PokerStars brand pulled the plug on its earlier sportsbook brand BetStars in favor of FOX Bet, following a May 2019 partnership between the broadcasting and gaming companies. The FOX Bet sportsbook is now effectively BetStars but rebranded with Colin Cowherd and other FOX Sports figures’ faces on it.
Other sportsbooks that are likely (or near certain) to enter the state through similar partnerships:
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- William Hill
- theScore Bet
List of potential Michigan sportsbooks
|Casino||Commercial or Tribal owner||Online Brand||Online/Mobile Launch||Retail launch||Location|
|Bay Mills Resort & Casino||Bay Mills Indian Community||TBD||TBD||TBD||Brimley|
|FireKeepers Casino Hotel||Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||Battle Creek|
|Four Winds New Buffalo||Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||New Buffalo|
|Four Winds Hartford||Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||Hartford|
|Four Winds Dowagiac||Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||Dowagiac|
|Greektown Casino Hotel||Penn National Gaming/Vici Properties||TBD||TBD||TBD||Detroit|
|Gun Lake Casino||Gun Lake Tribe (aka Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians)||TBD||TBD||TBD||Wayland|
|Island Resort & Casino||Hannahville Indian Community||TBD||TBD||TBD||Bark River|
|Kewadin Casino - Christmas||Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||Christmas|
|Kewadin Casino - Hessel||Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||Hessel|
|Kewadin Casino - Manistique||Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||Manistique|
|Kewadin Casino, Hotel and Convention Center||Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||Sault Saint Marie|
|Kewadin Shores Casino - St. Ignace||Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||St. Ignace|
|Kings Club Casino||Bay Mills Indian Community||TBD||TBD||TBD||Brimley|
|Leelanau Sands Casino||Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||Suttons Bay|
|Little River Casino and Resort||Little River Band of Ottawa Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||Manistee|
|MGM Grand Detroit||MGM Resorts International||TBD||TBD||TBD||Detroit|
|MotorCity Casino Hotel||IH Gaming (Ilitch Holdings, Inc.)||TBD||TBD||TBD||Detroit|
|Northern Waters Casino Resort||Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians||PointsBet||TBD||TBD||Watersmeet|
|Odawa Casino Resort||Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians||FOX Bet (Stars Group)||TBD||TBD||Petoskey|
|Odawa Casino - Mackinaw City||Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians||FOX Bet (Stars Group)||TBD||TBD||Mackinaw City|
|Ojibwa Casino - Marquette||Keweenaw Bay Indian Community||TBD||TBD||TBD||Marquette|
|Ojibwa Casino Resort - Baraga||Keweenaw Bay Indian Community||TBD||TBD||TBD||Baraga|
|Saganing Eagles Landing Casino||Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe||TBD||TBD||TBD||Standish|
|Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort||Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe||TBD||TBD||TBD||Mt. Pleasant|
|Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel||Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians||TBD||TBD||TBD||Williamsburg|
The latest Michigan news
Hold your horses -- and legal wagers.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signs off on sports betting, iGaming bills, making state-wide mobile sports betting legal.
Once governor signs iGaming bills, the sports betting tax rate will be 8.4 percent, and the regulation and application processes can open.
Sports betting bill particulars
Lawmakers worked with the governor and industry participants to ensure HB 4916, the sports betting portion of the approved iGaming package, laid the groundwork for a successful and profitable sports betting operation, including a tax rate acceptable to all parties.
Key components of the Lawful Sports Betting Act include:
- An 8.4 percent tax rate on adjusted gross of sports wagers; three commercial casinos in Detroit will pay the city an additional 1.25 percent tax.
- Betting operators are allowed one internet sports betting platform or “skin” apiece
- A $50,000 application fee; $100,000 for license and $50,000 annual renewal
- Lion’s share of state tax revenue will go to the School Aid Fund; $2 million will support the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund, which funds cancer treatments for firefighters.
- Under this legislation, Michigan becomes the third state, behind Tennessee and Illinois to require use of “official league data.” Beyond the cost, sportsbook operators also can challenge having to use so-called “official data” because of other factors including the nature and quantity of data including the quality and complexity of the process to collect it of if a sports betting supplier license wasn’t obtained.
- The Michigan measure allows one “skin” for mobile betting with approximately 15 skins available statewide as many tribes own and operate multiple casinos, so skins will overlap venues with the same owner.
- Another key element Michigan sports betting bill is the critical support it reportedly received from tribal interests which operate nearly two dozen casinos across the state. The state has compacts with the tribes and regulates finances, but tribes have the ultimate say regarding what occurs regarding their casinos due to the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. And in this case they were willing to act.
The tribes’ participation in negotiations makes Michigan unique, whereas in other states, such as Connecticut and Minnesota, lawmakers have found their attempts at legal sports betting thwarted by tribes standing by long-held compacts and concerns over exclusivity.
In 2018, the tribes in Michigan paid $53.4 million in gaming proceeds to the state which is substantially more than the $20 million in fees and taxes sports wagering is projected to bring in annually. Because of that, their participation and cooperation in negotiating the final legislative package was crucial.
Of course, there is still much work to be done including the drafting and approval of official regulations by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
Then operator license applications must be accepted, vetted and awarded all with a possible mid-March launch date.
Michigan Sports Betting FAQ
How old must you be to bet and are there any other restrictions?
Sports bettors must be 21 years old to place a bet.
As for other restrictions, the yet-to-be-written regulations will have to address the conflict of interest regarding MotorCity Casino Hotel owned by Marian Ilitch, part owner of the Detroit Red Wings. The casino will likely not be able to take bets on the Red Wings.
A similar conflict has been avoided when Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who was owner of the Greektown Casino-Hotel, sold it to Penn National Gaming for $1 billion in late 2018.
Will sports betting be available at retail outlets, such as convenience stores?
No. Only at licensed commercial and tribal casinos.
From where can bettors place a wager?
All sports bets need to occur within the Michigan state lines and will be managed by geo-targeting technology.
Is in-play or live betting allowed?
What types of bets are available?
Michigan sportsbooks will offer the standard bet types, like straight bets, totals, moneylines, futures, parlays, player and game props, teasers, and round robins, among others.
How can I deposit and withdraw money for my online account?
Although methods may vary from one sportsbook to another, Michigan online sportsbooks in general will offer a number of viable depositing and withdrawal methods, including:
- ACH (eCheck)
- Visa / MasterCard credit & debit cards
- PayNearMe: Pay with cash at any eligible 7-Eleven or CVS
- Cash at the affiliated retail casino cage
- PayPal: Probably not going to be available at launch, but later on
- Casino branded prepaid cards (Play+)
Michigan sports betting journey
Just as many state did, Michigan got serious about legalizing sports betting soon after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act. With that reversal in May 2018, states beyond Nevada could make sports betting available to its residents.
In late 2018 a package of iGaming bills hit the desk of then-Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature. In one of the last acts of his administration, ending because of term limits, he vetoed the legislation that would have brought sports betting to Michigan sometime in 2019.
Snyder said he rejected the bills mostly due to “unknown revenue implications.” In a news release, he said believed sports betting needed more study and comparison with other states with similar legislation before it should be legalized.
Snyder was succeeded in office by Whitmer, a Democrat, on the record as being supportive of wagering on sports. Despite that, she, too, threatened to veto sports betting and other iGaming legislation in October 2019, fearing the legislation would seriously impact and diminish the state’s lottery revenues which support the state’s education fund.
Iden and State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) pressed forward with revamping the iGaming package, expressing frustration over Whitmer’s suggestions to double taxes and license fees on gaming and sports betting. Late into legislative session, Whitmer and her staff agreed to come to the negotiating table, reaching a compromise on the iGaming measures, including setting taxation rates with assurances the school fund would be viable and protected.
In this case, taxes on sports betting went down and iGaming taxes increased. In the internet gaming legislation, House Bill 4311, taxes are tiered from 20 percent to 28 percent depending on a venue’s gross receipts.