Michigan Online Casino Launch

Michigan online casinos are taking slow and steady steps towards becoming a reality for Michigan bettors. It is anticipated that if things go to plan, the first casino apps in Michigan could launch as early as November 2020.

The state legalized online gaming at the end of last year. It’s taken time, though, for state legislators to finalize rules and regulations and the audit casino apps before they are able to debut in the state. After the law passed, the Michigan Gaming Control Board issued a timeline that anticipated the process would take more than a year. That meant that legal online casinos wouldn’t launch until early 2021. 

Seeing an opportunity to increase state revenue before the close of the year and the make up for lost revenue due to COVID-19 related casino closures, legislators are doing their best to speed up this process. Richard Kalm, the director of the MGCB, said the state is making significant process. There will be a public hearing on September 23. They hope to have an economic impact statement finalized by the end of October. The goal? To see the first online casinos in Michigan launch in November of 2020. 

In the meantime, if you are looking to play online games, we suggest playing at the Michigan Lottery Online which offers instant games and online scratch-offs.

Launch Of Michigan Online Casino Apps – Timeline:

  • December 20, 2019: Online gaming legalized
  • March 11, 2020: Retail sportsbooks launch in MI
  • March 6-August 5, 2020: Detroit’s commercial casinos closed due to COVID-19
  • September 23, 2020: MGCB held public hearings
  • End of October 2020: Final economic impact statement expected
  • November 2020: MGCB anticipates the launch of the first Michigan online casino apps

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.N/A

Tribal Casino Partnerships

In a situation unique to Michigan, both tribal and commercial casinos can partner with technology companies to offer legal online casino gaming. 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 CasinoBay Mills Resort & CasinosKambi / SBTechYes
FireKeepers FireKeepers Casino & Hotel, Battle CreekScientific GamesYes
Golden NuggetOjibwa Casino, Baraga & MarquetteScientific GamesYes
Parx CasinoGun Lake Casino, WaylandGANN/A
LVD/PointsBetNorthern Waters Casino Resort, WatersmeetPointsBetN/A
Fox Bet/PokerStars CasinoOdawa Casino Resort, Petoskey & MackinawThe Stars GroupYes
William HillTurtle Creek Casino & Hotel, WilliamsburgWilliam HillYes
William HillLeelanau Sands Casino, Suttons BayWilliam HillYes
Four WindsFour Winds Dowagiac, Hartford & New BuffaloKambiN/A
BetAmericaIsland Resort & Casino Bark RiverN/AN/A
Partner TBAKewadin Casino (Christmas, Hessel, Manistique, Sault Sainte Marie, St. Ignace)GAN 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
BetRiversLittle River Casino ResortScientific GamesYes

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.

BetMGM, PartyCasino (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
  • Borgata 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.

Learn more about BetMGM here.

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.

Learn more about DraftKings Casino here

Hollywood Casino (Penn National Gaming)

Penn National Gaming operates Greektown Casino in partnership with Vici Properties. This partnership will eventually yield the launch of Hollywood Casino, an online brand owned by Penn National. 

Hollywood Casino will function as an online casino available to Michigan players, operating under the Greektown Casino license.

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.

FireKeepers Casino (Scientific Games)

Scientific Games is currently providing its technology to power the live sportsbook at FireKeepers Casino and Hotel. A FireKeepers online casino is slated to launch in Michigan, also in collaboration with Scientific Games.

Online casino sites powered by Scientific Games technology in other states include 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, BetRivers will have a massive selection of games to offer their customers.

BetRivers (Rush Street Interactive)

Scientific Games also partners with Rush Street Interactive to offer the technology behind the BetRivers online gaming brand. BetRivers will launch online sports betting and casino gaming as a licensed partner of Little River Casino Resort.

The agreement, announced in June 2020, brings  Rush Street Interactive, parent company to the BetRivers online gaming brand, to Michigan. Little River Casino Resort’s partnership with Rush Street Interactive also includes retail sports betting.

Kewadin Casinos (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.

FOXBet & PokerStars (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 offers the PokerStars Casino brand to US players, as well as the FOX Bet sports betting platform. Bettors will find blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and slot machines galore on PokerStars Casino platforms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Live dealers are offered at PokerStars Casino NJ as well.

PointsBet

PointsBet joins forces with the Lac Vieux Desert Public Enterprise and Finance Commission (LVD) to offer online casino gaming and sports betting under the license of Northern Waters Casino Resort.

The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians owns Northern Waters Casino Resort. Per the agreement, it appears that both the online sports betting and casino products under this license will function as a collaboration between PointsBet and LVD.

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. 

Online Casinos That Could Come To Michigan

Unibet

Unibet does business as a well-established international gaming brand that’s beginning to expand into the legal US sports betting and online casino industry. Unibet started it’s US business plan with online gaming platforms in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

Unibet has an agreement with Caesars Entertainment (now owned by Eldorado Resorts) to launch online gaming in states with Caesars-owned properties. Caesars/Eldorado Resorts doesn’t own any casinos in Michigan, however.

The Pennsylvania and New Jersey versions of the Unibet platform operate in agreements outside of the Caesars partnership, however. A similar arrangement could bring Unibet online casino to Michigan.

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.