Welcome to Michigan Sharp

Michigan will soon launch online gambling in the state. We cover everything you need to know to make an informed decision of where to play where you are looking for online sports betting, online casinos or even online poker.


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Stay safe – play at legal and licensed online casinos & sportsbooks that are launching in late 2020 (Oct/Nov).

When Will Michigan Launch Online Gambling?

Michigan is expected to launch legal online gambling sometime in late 2020.

The state legalized online gambling in December 2019, which includes online casino and sports betting, as per the law signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Initially, the state expected to be ready to regulate the online gaming industry as well as onsite sports wagers at existing casinos in March of 2020, just in time for the NCAA’s annual March Madness tournament. However, a revised timeline pushed the legalization of online gambling and sports betting to 2021 so state officials can finalize writing all the rules and regulations.

There is an ongoing legislative effort in Michigan to accelerate the planned rollout of legal online gambling and sports betting, hoping to boost revenue in the state. The Michigan Gaming Control Commission recently started accepting license applications for both online gambling and online sports betting. New estimates have the state launching as soon as October 2020.

Michigan’s commercial land-based casinos are free to begin the licensing process in order to get their onsite sports betting set up, but due to the ongoing pandemic, remain closed to the public until further notice. Seven of the state’s casinos on tribal lands, which are not beholden to Michigan law, reopened in mid-June.

Michigan Online Gambling Update

  • An increase of COVID-19 cases in Michigan has prompted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to push back the state’s reopening plans, including Detroit casinos.
  • A Detroit man was arrested and charged with multiple crimes including fraud and identity theft after authorities allege he used costumes, including full-face prosthesis, to steal tens of thousands of dollars from Detroit casino VIP guests.
  • Detroit Casino revenue took a nosedive during the pandemic, shedding 60% of their revenue over the same period last year.
  • Golden Nugget’s online casino and sportsbook are coming to Michigan through a deal with Ojibwa Casino, owned and operated by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. See our guide to Golden Nugget in Michigan.
  • Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Michigan Rep. Brandt Iden, a wide-ranging conversation about the past, present, and future of Michigan sports betting. Part I here, Part II here.

History of Gambling in Michigan

The first form of gambling that became legal in Michigan was when the state passed the Racing Act of 1933, which created regulation around betting on pari-mutuel horse racing. Years later in 1972, the state legalized the lottery.

The 1980s brought casino gaming to Michigan. In 1984, Keweenaw Bay Indian tribe member Fred Dakota ran blackjack games from his two-car garage in a setup he called The Pines. Later that same summer the Bay Mills Indian Band started the first tribal-sanctioned casino on their land, the Kings Club Casino.

Fast-forward to today, there are three commercially owned casinos in the Detroit area and 23 tribal casinos throughout the state. MI online gaming is poised to launch in early 2021.

Key Dates in Michigan’s Gambling History

  • March 11, 2020: Retail sportsbooks go live for the first time. Land-based casinos are forced to shut down just days later, however, due to the COIVD-19 pandemic.
  • Dec. 2019: The Governor of Michigan signed a law legalizing regulated online gaming and sports betting throughout the state.
  • Nov. 10, 2000: Greektown Casino Hotel opened its doors to become the third casino in Detroit.
  • Dec. 14, 1999: MotorCity Casino Hotel became the second casino to open in Detroit.
  • July 29, 1999: The MGM Grand in Detroit officially opened to the public.
  • Nov. 1996: Proposal E was approved during the ‘96 election and construction of three commercial casinos was approved to break ground in Detroit.
  • July 4, 1984: The Bay Mills Indian Band officially opened the doors to the first tribal-owned casino in the USA – Kings Club Casino.
  • Jan. 1984: Fred Dakota opened up a single blackjack table casino in his garage on Keweenaw Bay Indian Tribe land.
  • Nov.r 24, 1972: The first Michigan Lottery draw occurred.
  • May 16, 1972: State voters approved the Michigan state lottery.
  • 1933: Racing Act of 1933 was passed regulating pari-mutuel horse racing.

Gambling In Neighboring States

In addition to borders shared with the Great Lakes and Ontario, Canada, Michigan is only physically bordered by two U.S. states: Indiana and Ohio.

If you live in a Michigan border town or are just interested in what other gaming options are nearby, you’ll be pleased to know you have options beyond what’s available just outside the state.

Ontario, Canada

In Ontario, Canada you can play the lottery or gamble in a casino as long as you are 18 or older. Currently, Ontario, which is vast in size, has 71 casinos. Toronto, Ontario’s capital and the closest major city to Michigan in the province, has four casinos offering table games and slots.


Indiana is home to 15 casinos, all fully equipped with slot machines and table games. The majority of the casinos in Indiana are riverboat casinos on the Ohio River. To gamble at casinos in Indiana you must be 21 years or older. Indiana also offers legal online sports betting.


In total, Ohio has 11 casinos, however, only four are traditional brick-and-mortar casinos while the rest are racinos, essentially horse tracks with some on-site casino games. The casinos in Ohio are owned and operated by various Indian tribes and offer table games and slots. You must be at least 21 years or older to play.

Overall, the gambling options around Michigan are plentiful. If you are looking for a change of scenery, you can’t go wrong taking a gambling trip to Indiana, Ohio, or Canada.

Michigan Betting Information

Between traditional commercial casinos, tribal-owned casinos, the Michigan lottery, sports betting, and online gaming there is a lot to keep in mind before you game in Michigan.

Our goal is to be the number one resource you can reference and provide you with the necessary information you’ll need before gambling in Michigan.

Michigan Betting FAQ

Is casino gambling legal in Michigan?

Yes, it is legal to gamble at casinos. In fact, Michigan has both tribal casinos as well as commercially owned casinos and both types are fully legal to game at.

How old do you have to be to gamble at casinos in Michigan?

You must be at least 21 years or older to legally gamble at the commercial casinos located near Detroit, Michigan. However, tribal casinos have their own age limits. Depending on which tribal casino the age requirements range from a minimum age of 18 to 21.

Is online gambling legal in Michigan?

Yes, online gambling is legal in Michigan. In 2019, Michigan’s governor approved a law that fully legalized online gambling and sports betting. Residents can expect to be able to gamble online in late 2020 or early 2021.

Is sports betting legal in Michigan?

Yes, as part of the 2019 legislation passed in Michigan online sports betting is now legal throughout the state. Retail sportsbooks launched in March 2020, although commercial casinos were shut down just after due to COVID-19. Online sportsbooks are scheduled to launch in late 2020, once Michigan legislators finalize rules and regulations.

Does Michigan have a lottery?

Yes, Michigan has a state run lottery available to anyone 18 years or older. In May of 1972, voters approved lottery games in Michigan and later that year the first lottery draw was held. Today, lottery games remain legal in Michigan.

Can I play the lottery online in Michigan?

Yes, you can play select lottery games online. Michigan offers its residents the ability to purchase online versions of scratch-off lottery games online. For all other lottery games not available online there are over 10,000 licensed retailers throughout the state. You must be 18 years of age to play scratch-offs online.

Is it safe to gamble in Michigan?

Yes, casinos in Michigan are safe. Despite several of Michigan’s casinos being located near its largest city of Detroit it is still safe to gamble at casinos. Casinos are equipped with security, dealers and floor personnel as well as cameras.

Do I have to pay taxes if I win?

Yes and no. Yes, you have to pay taxes if you win $5,000 or more. Casinos will withhold the federally mandated amount of 25% if you provide them with your social security number and if you refuse they will withhold 28%. This withholding is for federal income tax. For Michigan’s state tax, you are obligated to report it and it is subjected to a 4.25% state tax. If you win less than $5,000 then no, you will not have to pay taxes.

Should I join a Michigan casino's loyalty program?

Yes, especially since loyalty programs are free to join. Casinos have created loyalty programs in order to keep you at their casino. They do this by providing you with free bets, discounted or free hotel rooms, food and beverage credits, and more. You should definitely sign up if you intend to consistently game. If you would rather not be marketed to then we would suggest not signing up as the direct email, email, and marketing efforts may be bothersome to you.

Who owns the casinos in Michigan?

The MGM in Detroit is owned and operated by MGM Resorts, the MotorCity Casino Hotel is owned by IH Gaming, and Vici Properties owns the Greektown Casino Hotel. In addition to the casinos located near Detroit, the state has 23 casinos located on tribal land. Those casinos are owned by various native tribes that effectively operate autonomously.

Is there poker in Michigan?

Yes, the state has several physical poker rooms, including FireKeepers Casino’s poker room which is the largest in the state. Also, once online gambling is up and running in late 2020, Michigan players will be able to play online poker.

Is there a legal sportsbook in Michigan?

Yes. Retail sportsbooks launched in Michigan in March 2020. Commercial casinos were forced to shut down just a few days later due to the COVID-19 crisis.

When Michigan’s commercial casinos get the green light to reopen, live sportsbooks should reopen as well. Tribal casinos in Michigan also operate live, legal sportsbooks.

Can I bet on sports using my phone in Michigan?

Yes, mobile and online sports betting is allowed in Michigan but it will not be widely available until late 2020.

Are there Michigan sportsbook apps for iPhone?

Yes, virtually all online sportsbooks have developed an iOS app. We fully expect that Michigan sports bettors will be able to access these apps in late 2020 once the final sports betting regulations are finalized by state officials.

Are there Android apps for Michigan sports betting?

Yes, but due to Google Play Store policies you will need to side-load any sports betting apps on your Android device.