Michigan Online Casino Launch

Online gaming became legal in Michigan on Dec. 20, 2019, and online casinos have been preparing to expand into Michigan ever since. Although internet gambling was legal, the regulations governing online gaming hadn’t been written. The Michigan Gaming Control Board released a timeline for when it would complete those regulations, but it’s projected to take 373 days. (How that squares with the bill’s Section 10 requirement that the Control Board create regulations within a year is unclear.)

Nevertheless, online casinos are launching in Michigan in late 2020 (October/November), and there’s a lot that bettors need to know about them.

Commerical Casino Partnerships

Michigan’s casino industry includes three Detroit-area commercial casinos, as well as 23 tribal casinos located throughout the state. Online partnerships for the three commercial casinos are as follows:

SiteCommercial CasinoPartnered Software CompaniesLive Dealer Available?
FanDuel CasinoMotorCity Casino HotelFanDuelYes
BetMGMMGM Grand - DetroitRoar DigitalYes
Hollywood CasinoGreekTown CasinoPenn National Gaming, Inc.No

Tribal Casino Partnerships

In a situation unique to Michigan, both tribal and commercial casinos can partner with technology companies to offer legal online sports betting. Several of the state’s tribal casinos already announced agreements to launch online sports betting, and those partnerships are as follows:

SiteTribal CasinoPartnered Software CompaniesLive Dealer Available?
DraftKings CasinoN/AN/AN/A
BetRiversFireKeepers Casino & Hotel, Battle CreekScientific GamesYes
Golden NuggetOjibwa Casino, Baraga & MarquetteN/AN/A
BetRiversGun Lake Casino, WaylandRush Street InteractiveYes
Penn National Gaming Partnership - possible access to productsNorthern Waters Casino Resort, WatersmeetPointsBet*Yes*
Fox BetOdawa Casino Resort, Petoskey & MackinawThe Stars GroupYes
William HillTurtle Creek Casino & Hotel, WilliamsburgWilliam HillYes
William HillLeelanau Sands Casino, Suttons BayWilliam HillYes
N/AFour Winds DowagiacN/AN/A
N/AFour Winds HartfordN/AN/A
N/AFour Winds New BuffaloN/AN/A
BetAmericaIsland Resort & Casino Bark RiverN/AN/A
N/AKewadin Casino ChristmasGAN plcYes
N/AKewadin Casino HesselGAN plcYes
N/AKewadin Casino ManistiqueGAN plcYes
N/AKewadin Casino, Hotel & Convention Center, Sault Sainte MarieGAN plcYes
N/AKewadin Shores Casino, St. IgnaceGAN plcYes
N/AKings Club Casino, BrimleyN/AN/A
N/ASaganing Eagles Landing Casino, StandishN/AN/A
N/ASoaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Mt. PleasantN/AN/A

*PointsBet’s partnership with Penn National Gaming could give Northern Waters Casino Resort access to Penn National Gaming’s online casino. It’s likely, but unconfirmed.

Michigan’s Online Casino Partnerships

While legal online casinos aren’t able to operate in Michigan until 2021, sportsbooks are already up and running. Sportsbook regulations have been live since March 11. As a result, casinos have been striking deals with sportsbook operators.

What does this have to do with online casinos? All but one of the sportsbooks partnered with Michigan casinos offer online casino products and services. These early deals in Michigan offer a glimpse of Michigan’s online casino landscape in 2021. Here are the online casino operators that Michigan’s casinos have partnered with so far.

Roar Digital

Roar Digital is currently providing a sportsbook to the MGM Grand in Detroit, but it has an online casino, too. It has several apps, including:

  • BetMGM
  • Borgota Mobile App
  • PartyCasino

Bettors will find familiar table games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat. They’ll also find live dealers available who will deal cards and call wins and losses in real-time, just like a regular table. Roar Digital also has countless slot games that are just as colorful as anything on the Strip.

Penn National Gaming, Inc.

Penn National Gaming is partnered with GreekTown Casino as its sportsbook provider. However, Penn National Gaming also has its own branch of online casinos.

Bettors may not recognize Penn National Gaming by name, but they may recognize Hollywood Casino. It’s an online casino that specializes in online slots games. Bettors must be at least 21 to play, and they had better love slot machines.

For a glimpse at table games, Pennsylvania’s Hollywood Casino website offers virtual blackjack and roulette games. There’s no baccarat on this website, though, so high rollers are out of luck there.

There are also no live dealers on the Pennsylvania site. However, Penn National Gaming offers physical terminals at its Pennsylvania horse racetrack with live dealers, so it’s possible that it could offer live dealers one day. But until the company announces otherwise, bettors won’t find live dealers on a Penn National Gaming website in Michigan. They should expect slots, blackjack, and roulette, then be pleasantly surprised at any other offerings they discover.

FanDuel

FanDuel may be known for its sportsbook, but it also has an online casino. FanDuel’s online casino is available through its existing sportsbook app, and MotorCity Casino Hotel’s partnership will give FanDuel access to Michigan’s online gaming market. The online casino is only available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but it’s a glimpse at what could be available in Michigan.

In New Jersey, bettors will see FanDuel’s online casino under the BetFair brand name. It has blackjack, roulette, and baccarat games ready to entice new bettors. For bettors who want a more realistic experience, BetFair’s (read: FanDuel’s) online casino has a thriving live betting section available for all sorts of table games.

Finally, this online casino is filled to the brim with slot games. Whatever brightly colored theme bettors are attracted to, their taste is catered to in this wide selection of games.

DraftKings 

DraftKings is also known mostly for its sportsbook but is quickly gaining a reputation for a strong online casino in a handful of states. No announced partnership has taken place regarding the potential launch of the DraftKings Casino online platform in Michigan.

DraftKings Sportsbook will launch in the state as a license partner of Bay Mills Resort & Casino. DraftKings Casino could eventually become a part of that agreement, but as of now, no formal announcement has been made.

For players interested in casino games, sports betting, and DFS, DraftKings is a natural choice because all three will be accessible from a single app. The app is quite strong as well for blackjack lovers. DraftKings has a minimum bet of $1 and a maximum bet of $1,000 on its blackjack games, including its live dealer blackjack. They also offer a wide variety of slots and progressive slots.

Scientific Games

Scientific Games is currently providing its sportsbook to FireKeepers Casino and Hotel. However, it has a library of online casino games for bettors to enjoy. There are a few high-profile online casino websites that Scientific Games has provided games for, including:

Across these websites, bettors can find blackjack, slots, roulette, and baccarat. There are also live dealers available for bettors looking for a realistic casino experience.

Scientific Games offers so many different games because of its content aggregation service. It uses its vast web of partnerships to provide access to many different games. When online casinos come to Michigan, FireKeepers Casino will have a massive selection of games to offer their customers.

Rush Street Interactive

Rush Street Interactive has a partnership with Gun Lake Casino that includes a sportsbook now and will likely include online casino games in 2021. It operates PlaySugarHouse.com, thanks to its own partnership with Scientific Games. However, Rush Street Interactive also runs a social online casino, riverscasino4fun.com. This is a free-to-play site for people who want free versions of casino games to play with their friends.

Whatever bettors are looking for, Rush Street Interactive’s websites include staples like blackjack, roulette, slot games, and baccarat. Their websites also have live dealers available (likely thanks to Scientific Games’ own partnership with Evolution Gaming.)

Out of the known partnerships, Rush Street Interactive has one of the largest web of partnerships to leverage. That’s great news for bettors excited about all the different online casino options coming in 2021.

GAN plc

GAN plc’s partnership with the Kewadin casinos is the largest partnership on this list. With five locations, Kewadin casinos have the largest number of locations in Michigan. GAN plc has physical sportsbooks at those locations now, but it has online offerings, too. Its operational sites are:

  • OceanOnlineCasino.com.
  • Betfaircasino.com.

Both sites offer blackjack, roulette, and slot games. However, only betfaircasino.com has baccarat and live dealers. OceanOnlineCasino.com appears to have neither.

This will be important for Michigan bettors to recognize. Just because most casinos have certain online casino games, doesn’t mean all of them will. However, the five Kewadin casinos will probably come with the full arsenal of online casino games. They have a year to prepare, so they’ll have plenty of time to learn what their patrons want and offer it when the licenses become available.

William Hill

William Hill’s deal with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians puts it in two casinos:

William Hill also offers its own online casino, William Hill Casino, to bettors in eligible states. William Hill’s online casino makes finding games particularly easy. Card games, slots, roulette, and live dealers all have their own categories. (Baccarat is under the card games tab.) If they get access to William Hill’s online casino, Michigan bettors will have a full casino at their fingertips.

The Stars Group

Thanks to a partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indian Gaming Authority, The Stars Group is in two casinos:

  • Odawa Casino, Mackinaw.
  • Odawa Casino, Petoskey.

The Stars Group has several online casinos, including Sky Vegas and Sky Casino. Michigan bettors won’t be able to access those sites at all until the sites are licensed in Michigan. However, its reviews and twitter feed show bettors what they could get. Bettors will find blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and slot machines galore on The Stars Group’s online casinos. Live dealers are offered on at least some of The Stars Group’s websites, too. Since the websites are geofenced so effectively, Michigan bettors will have to wait to get the fullest picture of The Stars Group’s offerings on each individual website.

PointsBet

PointsBet has a partnership with Northern Waters Casino Resort. PointsBet stands alone on this list as the only sportsbook that does not also have an online casino. Why would a casino not partner with a company that gives it access to both sportsbooks and online casinos?

The secret lies in one of PointsBet’s partnerships. PointsBet has a partnership with Penn National Gaming, which could give Northern Waters Casino an online casino outlet.

“Could” is the key word, here. The deal gives Penn National Gaming access to several different sportsbooks. However, it’s unclear whether that means that PointsBet will gain access to Penn National Gaming’s online casino products as well.

Based on the other 14 casinos, it’s likely that Northern Waters Casino will also have access to Penn National Gaming’s online casino products in 2021. It’s unlikely that one major casino would make a blatant tactical mistake like that. When online casinos come to Michigan, bettors will likely find Penn National Gaming online casinos from Northern Waters Casino.

Golden Nugget

Golden Nugget is a well-established name in gambling, with an iconic Las Vegas casino and the most successful online casino in New Jersey. Now, Golden Nugget is coming to Michigan, thanks to a partnership with Ojibwa Casino, which is owned and operated by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

Golden Nugget’s Michigan access granted through the partnership will allow the brand to ramp up its online gambling and sports betting business in the state once the market is officially open.

See our full Guide To Golden Nugget Michigan Online Casino.

BetAmerica

In July 2020, BetAmerica announced a partnership with Island Resort & Casino to offer both online casino gambling and online sports betting. BetAmerica operates successful sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Mississippi. 

The Hannahville Indian Community operates the Harris, Michigan casino and Churchill Downs is the parent company of BetAmerica. 

What Are Online Casinos And What Do They Offer?

Online casinos are apps and websites that offer casino games from the comfort of players’ homes. Some of them involve real money, while others are free-to-play social games. They offer the kinds of card games bettors would expect to find at a casino, including blackjack, roulette, and on some websites, baccarat. But there are also slot games and games with live dealers available for those who want a real casino experience.

Even better, many of these online casinos offer bonuses to new bettors.

Online Casino Bonuses

One of the ways that online casinos–and most online gaming products–entice new bettors is by offering bonuses on the first few bets. There are two major types of bonuses. The first is a welcome bonus that puts money in a bettor’s account (with strings attached). The second offers risk-free bets, which act more like insurance than truly free bets.

Welcome Bonuses

Welcome bonuses are what they sound like. When bettors sign up and verify their accounts, online casinos will deposit a little extra money. Some bonuses arrive in customer accounts upon sign up and verification, like this $25 deposit from Hollywoodcasino.com. These are called no-deposit bets, because bettors don’t have to deposit their own money to earn a bonus. They also tend to be small amounts.

Deposit bets on the other hand require bettors to put money into their account before getting anything back. Take this $500 bonus from Hollywoodcasino.com that matches deposits up to $500. That means for every dollar a new bettor deposits into his account, Hollywood.com will add one dollar, until it pays out $500.

This matching makes it easier for bettors to pour money into their accounts and make larger bets. Online casinos want bettors to make multiple wagers and learn to enjoy them. Based on how widespread welcome bonuses are, this tactic seems to work quite effectively.

Risk-Free Bets

Despite the name, risk-free bets do require bettors to risk some money before receiving a free bet. This Golden Nugget Casino welcome offer spells the deal out pretty clearly. Bettors must place a wager, then get up to $100 back if they lose. It’s more of a refund for a lost bet than a risk-free bet. Some bettors may not think much of a small refund for a losing bet, but it can make anxious new bettors willing to give online casinos a try.

What’s The Difference Between Legal And Illegal Online Casinos?

Like online sportsbooks, online casinos have tell-tale signs that indicate their legitimacy. There are a few signs that bettors can watch for when they’re looking for legitimate online casinos in Michigan next year.

First, all online gambling websites must display the compulsive gambling hotline on their websites. It’s required by law in Michigan, and bettors will be hard-pressed to find any legitimate online gambling websites without it.

However, Michiganders will have a particularly easy time identifying legitimate websites. All online casinos must be partnered with eligible land-based casinos. These sites must also display proof of their license reasonably clearly.

These are important signs of quality to watch for. Missing them could lead bettors to risk funneling money into an account that will never pay out.

How Online Casinos Are Regulated

Commercial online casinos must be licensed by their state gaming boards before they’re allowed to go live in any given state. Michigan’s online casinos will be regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board–pending written regulations, of course.

However, tribal casinos have their own regulatory body. The National Indian Gaming Commission writes and enforces regulations on tribal casinos across the country. Tribes run casinos themselves, but the National Indian Gaming Commission must review and approve each tribe’s gaming compacts.

And to top it all off, all these regulatory bodies require casinos to pay bettors their winnings. Legitimate online casinos will not only pay winnings, but they will also have processes to resolve customer disputes. The same cannot be said for offshore scam sites accountable to no one.

How Bettors Collect Their Winnings From Online Casinos

Bettors get paid from online casinos by withdrawing from their gaming accounts. For example, FanDuel will process withdrawals through:

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  • PayPal
  • Bank Transfer
  • Check in the mail

It’s just a matter of bettors checking the option to withdraw in their online accounts. Remember though, non-cash bonuses don’t count toward cash withdrawals. A “free spin” worth $100 isn’t a free $100. Unless it’s hard-won cash, it doesn’t count toward a bettor’s withdrawals.

Everything Else Bettors Need To Know About Online Casinos In Michigan

Online casinos are already in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and a few other states. They offer familiar staples like:

  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Baccarat (albeit not universally)
  • Slot Games

Many, but not all, online casinos also offer live dealers for many of these games.

Although online gaming is legal, the regulations governing licensing and online operations still need to be written. Those regulations won’t be ready until 2021, but that hasn’t stopped Michigan’s casinos from preparing. Every Michigan casino with a sportsbook deal has partnered with a company that also offers an online casino. PointsBet is the only sportsbook operator without an online casino, but its partnership with Penn National Gaming could give its partner casino access to online casino products in 2021.

As industrious Michiganders explore the online casino landscape, they should watch for signs that the online casino they’re browsing is legitimate. State-licensed online casinos will:

  • Partner with licensed land-based Michigan casinos
  • Display the compulsive gambling hotline number on its website
  • Show clear evidence of its license per Michigan state law

The online casino landscape is dense, but it’s part of the ongoing evolution of the gaming industry. It began with sports betting legalization, but the wave of innovation sweeping the country’s gaming industry will bring online casinos to Michigan next.

FAQ’s About Michigan’s Online Casinos

There’s a lot to digest about the impending arrival of online casinos to Michigan. Here are a few questions that either come up often from new bettors or which may need clarification on their own.

Who Can Apply For An Online Gaming License In Michigan?

There are only two entities that can apply for an online gaming license:

-Casino licenses holders.
-Eligible tribal casinos.

Michigan is keeping tight control over its gaming industry by only allowing online gaming to come from licensed casinos. It’s a way for Michigan to stave off scam sites that accept bets but never pay out winnings. It’s also probably how lawmakers appealed to gambling opponents to assure them that gambling would be a respectable industry in Michigan.

Who’s Eligible To Participate In Online Gaming In Michigan?

Only people 21 and older and who are not in the online casino’s self-exclusion database. The age requirement is straightforward, but the self-exclusion database may not be.

The self-exclusion database is a voluntary measure to protect problem gamblers from themselves. Bettors can register themselves so gambling outlets will refuse to let them gamble. Unless a bettor struggles with a gambling problem, it’s not a list that most bettors have to worry about.

What’s The Tax Rate For Online Casinos In Michigan?

8%. It’s on page nine of the bill legalizing internet gambling in Michigan.

Will DraftKings’ Online Casino Be Available In Michigan?

DraftKings hasn’t announced an agreement with any Michigan casino to bring the DraftKings online casino platform to the state. 

DraftKings Sportsbook will operate as a licensed partner of Bay Mills Resort & Casino, but for now, it’s unknown whether a DraftKings Casino launch is also in the works.

 

Does DraftKings Have An Online Casino?

Yes. In addition to its online sportsbook, DraftKings offers an online casino in a few US states. In these states, DraftKings offers blackjack, roulette, baccarat, slot machines, and live dealer games. It’s got everything a casino could want to offer to its customers. DraftKings has yet to officially announce a partnership for an online casino.

Are Sportsbooks And Online Casinos The Same Thing?

No. Sportsbooks are specifically for betting on sports games. Online casinos offer casino games. The reason sportsbooks came up so often in this article is because the Michigan Gaming Control Board created rules governing sportsbooks first. Since those were the only new ways to gamble in Michigan, casinos made partnerships that would give them a sportsbook in March 2019, and online casinos when the licenses were finally ready.

Basically, everybody’s making deals to prepare for the next big thing in Michigan’s gaming market.

About the Author

Christopher Gerlacher

Christopher Gerlacher is a writer tucked into the foothills of Colorado Springs, Colorado.