Michigan Online Sports Betting Launch

After signing the Lawful Sports Betting Act in December 2019, Michigan became the 20th state to legalize sports betting. Michigan’s three commercial casinos opened their sportsbooks the week of legalization–just in time for the coronavirus to cancel and delay professional sports across the country.

When Will Michigan Launch Sports Betting?

While land-based sportsbooks are spreading across the great state of Michigan, online sports betting won’t be available until the proper regulations are written and approved–in late 2020. Michigan’s commercial and tribal casinos are developing partnerships to cash in on the new sports betting market.

Michigan bettors will have to wait for online betting, but they can look to other states to see what to expect. There are a few types of bonuses that online websites have, and there will be no shortage of teams to bet on. eSports fans are out of luck, but most other teams will have betting lines open on them.

All of Michigan’s casinos plan on offering sports betting to their patrons. Michigan’s three commercial casinos and 23 tribal casinos promise at least 26 sportsbooks that will roll out in Michigan over the next year or so. All these sportsbooks will be land-based, so bettors will have to wait until lockdowns have ended to bet at their new sportsbook. It’s not the capitalization on March Madness the casinos hoped for, but the sportsbooks are in place when bettors can safely return.

The three commercial casinos have MI sportsbooks ready to go, and the tribal casinos each have their own estimated timelines to offer sports betting. More sportsbooks will arrive throughout 2020 and 2021 until every casino in Michigan has sports betting available.

Online Sports Betting Partnerships in Michigan

Although in-person sportsbooks are expanding throughout the state, online sportsbooks remain at least a year away. The Michigan Gaming Control Board hasn’t written the rules for online sports betting yet, and its timeline puts the rollout at 373 days after March 3, 2020 (or March 11, 2021). Although online and mobile sports betting probably won’t be available until April or May of 2021, there are a few companies with online sportsbooks that have already developed partnerships with Michigan casinos.

FanDuel

FanDuel has partnered with MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit to open a physical location. This will let FanDuel break into Michigan’s sports betting market during the year it’ll take for online betting to become operational. Although it’s outside of FanDuel’s usual M.O., it will be well-positioned to enter Michigan’s online sports betting market when the legislature catches up. FanDuel Casino also announced an online casino in Michigan.

DraftKings

Another well-known name in online casinos and sportsbooks is DraftKings. Currently operating in New Jersey, West Virginia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Iowa. DraftKings Sportsbook will operate in Michigan in partnership with Bay Mills Resort & Casino. The tribal casino, owned by the Bay Mills Indian Community, announced the partnership with DraftKings in June 2020.

Penn National Gaming, Inc.

Thanks to a partnership with Detroit’s Greektown Casino, Penn National Gaming has made its way into Michigan. Its partnership began March 11, the day that land-based sports betting became operational in Michigan. But Penn National Gaming is prepared for online sports betting, too. Penn National Gaming has a sub-brand called Penn Interactive Ventures, which is responsible for online sports betting. Now that Penn National Gaming is in Detroit, it’s in a perfect position to introduce online sports betting to Michigan.

Roar Digital

Roar Digital has partnered with MGM Grand Detroit to provide sports betting services in the MGM casino. This partnership gives Roar Digital exclusive rights to work with MGM. In fact, a partnership between MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings created Roar Digital, which is why it’s common to find this sportsbook at MGM hotels and casinos. Roar Digital also offers online sports betting in addition to its physical locations, giving Michigan yet another potential online betting option when the requisite regulations are written and approved.

Scientific Games

FireKeepers Casino and Hotel secured a partnership with Scientific Games to offer sports betting at its Battle Creek location. Scientific Games’ wide range of games and machines make it a strong creative outlet for FireKeepers Casino to partner with. There are only physical sportsbooks in Michigan for now, but Scientific Games has a portfolio of online services, too. Once online betting comes to Michigan, FireKeepers Casino will have the capability to offer online betting options for its patrons.

Rush Street Interactive

Rush Street Interactive secured a partnership with Gun Lake Casino to offer a sportsbook to Michigan bettors visiting Wayland. The first fully integrated online sportsbook and casino in New Jersey, Rush Street Interactive’s arrival to Michigan shows how enthusiastically sportsbooks are expanding into new markets. Rush Street Interactive has a physical location inside Gun Lake Casino but appears ready to anchor itself in Michigan in preparation for online sports betting.

BetRivers

BetRivers is one of the top sports betting sites that fall under its parent, Rush Street Gaming. Sometimes referred to as Rivers Sportsbook, BetRivers will be offering folks in Michigan a combination of social gaming, casino games, and sports betting action. It’s a platform also available in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.

In June 2020, BetRivers announced a partnership with Little River Casino Resort to offer online sports betting.

GAN plc

Formerly GameAccount Network, GAN plc has a partnership with Michigan’s Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. This partnership brings sports betting to not just one, but five casinos across Michigan. That puts GAN plc in the largest number of Michigan casinos. It’s a strong position to be in for a company that–like its competitors–is almost certainly preparing to expand into the online sports betting space. However, bettors will find a physical sportsbook in the five Kewadin casinos until online sports betting becomes operational.

William Hill

William Hill’s partnership puts it into two different casinos. The first is Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel in Williamsburg, and the second is Leelanau Sands Casino in Suttons Bay. Since William Hill is an online sports betting giant, its online sportsbook will doubtlessly become available when Turtle Creek Casino and Leelanau Sands Casino secure the necessary licenses. And when online sports betting regulations are written and approved, of course.

PointsBet

Northern Waters Casino Resort secured a partnership with PointsBet to bring sportsbooks into its casino. However, this deal does not put a land-based casino inside of Northern Waters Casino Resort. Instead, PointsBet agreed to provide online sportsbook and casino services. There’s a separate deal for PointsBet to operate a retail sportsbook inside this casino. This shows how critical online sports betting is for not only PointsBet but also the casinos hoping to generate new revenue from these new ventures.

In addition, in July 2020, PointsBet announced a partnership with the Detroit Tigers, the first for an MLB team.

The Stars Group

The final publicly available sports betting partnership (so far) is between The Stars Group and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority. The Stars Group will provide online sportsbook services at the Odawa tribe’s two casinos in Petoskey and Mackinaw. This deal exclusively offers online sports betting, signaling not only a focus on online services, but also potential optimism that the tribal gaming authority will approve online licenses sooner than the State of Michigan.

FOXBet

Developed through a partnership between Fox Sports and the Stars Group, FoxBet is among the market’s newer sportsbooks. Offering sports betting on a range of sports including football, basketball, baseball, and hockey, FoxBet will have its work cut out for it competing with other more established players in the market once online sports betting goes live in Michigan.

Kambi Group

Kambi Group announced a partnership to bring sportsbooks and online sports betting to the 3 Four Winds casinos in Michigan. In July 2020, the three casinos in New BuffaloDowagiac, and Hartford, Michigan, launched their live, retail sportsbook operations. Four Winds New Buffalo has 18 kiosks while the properties in Hartford and Dowagiac each have six. Full online sports betting is expected later in the year. 

BetAmerica

In July 2020, BetAmerica announced a partnership with Island Resort & Casino to offer both online sports betting and casino gaming. BetAmerica already operates successful iGaming sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Mississippi. The partnership also includes a retail sportsbook that will be operated at the casino in Harris, Michigan.

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

Michigan Online Sports Betting Partnerships

Commercial CasinosPartnered Sportsbooks
MGM Grand - DetroitRoar Digital
GreekTown CasinoPenn National Gaming, Inc.
MotorCity Casino HotelFanDuel
Tribal CasinosPartnered Sportsbooks
Bay Mills Resort & Casino, BrimleyDraftKings
FireKeepers Casino & Hotel, Battle CreekScientific Games
Four Winds DowagiacKambi Group
Four Winds HartfordKambi Group
Four Winds New BuffaloKambi Group
Gun Lake Casino, WaylandRush Street Interactive
Island Resort & Casino, Bark RiverBetAmerica
Kewadin Casino ChristmasGAN plc
Kewadin Casino HesselGAN plc
Kewadin Casino MantisiqueGAN plc
Kewadin Casino, Hotel & Convention Center, Sault Saint MarieGAN plc
Kewadin Shores Casino, St. IgnaceGAN plc
Kings Club Casino, BrimleyN/A
Leelanau Sands Casino, Suttons BayWilliam Hill
Little River Casino & Resort, ManisteeN/A
Odawa Casino, MackinawThe Stars Group
Odawa Casino Resort, PetoskeyThe Stars Group
Ojibwa Casino, BaragaN/A
Ojibwa Casino, MarquetteN/A
Saganing Eagles Landing Casino, StandishN/A
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Mt. PleasantN/A
Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, WilliamsburgWilliam Hill
Northern Waters Casino Resort, WatersmeetPointsBet

Michigan’s Online Betting Forecast

The future of online betting in Michigan is bright, but distant. Michigan remains almost a year away from completing the online betting regulations. With online betting at a standstill, bettors will have to rely on other states’ examples to know what they can expect from Michigan’s online sports betting scene. Here are a few things that bettors can expect from online sportsbooks when they arrive.

See our comprehensive guide to What Can You Bet On In Michigan.

Online Betting Bonuses

Online betting offers more than convenience. They also offer a wide range of bonuses to entice bettors to try their apps and websites. However, bettors must often fulfill certain terms and conditions to earn these bonuses. (Don’t count on signing up and ditching the site after collecting your “free” $50). But these bonuses can make a big difference over many bets, so they’re worth understanding.

Deposit And No-Deposit Bonuses

Deposit bonuses contribute money to bettors’ accounts. For every dollar that bettors deposit, the online sportsbook will contribute a percentage, too. DraftKings’ sign on bonus matches 20% of bettors’ deposits up to $500. That means that for every $5 a bettor deposits into their account, DraftKings will add $1 to it, ending contributions after $500.

No-deposit bets are what they sound like. Bettors don’t have to deposit anything to receive money. They just register and get a little money. Although, it’s usually a very small amount. FanDuel’s no-deposit bonus is a measly $5 within three days of a bettor signing up and verifying their account. But it’s a way to get even the most risk-averse bettor to give betting a try.

Risk-Free Bets

Some online sportsbooks will offer “free” bets upon signup. However, to qualify for these free bets, bettors usually have to risk their own money first. For example, PointsBet’s $200 free bet is really two separate refunds of $100 worth of bonus points. (There’s some fine print, for you.)

It goes even further to refund the $100 worth of bonus points on a lost fixed-odds bet and a separate $100 worth of bonus points on a lost PointsBetting Bet. Refunding lost money may seem pointless to some bettors, but it’s a great way for online sportsbooks to attract new bettors who may be hesitant to risk money.

Michigan’s Main Online Sportsbook Teams

The main teams that Michiganders will bet on when online betting becomes operational will be Detroit’s professional teams. The Detroit Lions is the local NFL team, so they’ll be one of the most popular teams to bet on. Basketball fans can enjoy the Detroit Pistons’ return to the court after the pandemic, and the Tigers’ first pitch will send bettors flocking to their online sportsbooks. Finally, hockey fans will get to see the Red Wings play locally, too. Basically, everyone except soccer fans have a local professional team to bet on from their living room.

College fans will be able to enjoy online sports betting, too. While some states limit college bets, Michigan doesn’t. Michiganders can place any bet they want on their favorite college teams. In fact, one of the goals of beginning sports betting on March 11 was to allow sportsbooks to offer lines on the men’s college NCAA tournament.

However, betting on high school athletic events remains illegal. The Lawful Sports Betting Act wants to keep minors away from the influence of prop bets and sports betting. There’s an exemption for teams that are at the high school level in which players are 18 or older. However, this sounds like a loophole designed to allow betting on amateur events, rather than a way to encourage betting on high school teams. In other words, don’t expect a loophole to let bettors wager on the state high school championship.

eSports Betting In Michigan

The future of eSports betting in Michigan is unclear. The Lawful Sports Betting Act defines a sport as:

“A sports activity that involves the athletic skill of 1 or more players or participants.”

The allowance of eSports will probably hinge on the definition of ‘athletic skill.’ It’s possible that betting lines on Call of Duty matches will be considered fair game. Anyone who’s watched a live stream of professional gamers can attest to the reflexes, dexterity, and communication required to succeed. However, Greektown’s casino does not accept eSports bets or list them as an official sport. eSports fans will have to wait to bet on professional eSports in Michigan.

Which Sportsbooks Are Coming To Michigan Next?

IGT PlaySports is conspicuously absent from the list of casino deals. It’s one of the largest gaming infrastructure companies in the world with offerings similar to The Star Group and Scientific Games. As the other eleven casinos secure sportsbook deals, IGT PlaySports will likely find its foothold in Michigan.

Finally, Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort completed a new sports bar called Ascend, which will house its planned sportsbook. Its forthcoming deal will be worth watching.

How Illegal Sports Betting Is Affected By Legal Sportsbooks

Illegal sports betting used to be a $150 billion industry. Everything from the local bookie at the Waffle House (seriously) to offshore betting sites that may or may not pay their bettors created a thriving underbelly of illegal wagers. But why bet at a legal sportsbook instead of an illegal one? Reliable payouts, above all else.

Reliable Payouts

If you place a bet at a legal sportsbook, then the sportsbook is obligated to pay you. Take this case from FanDuel in 2018. Its algorithm made a mistake and gave someone 750-1 odds at the end of the Broncos-Raiders game. When the bettor complained and state regulators became involved, FanDuel paid the bettor his $82,000 bet. That’s the kind of direct recourse that’s available from sportsbooks with regulating agencies.

In contrast, offshore betting sites aren’t under United States jurisdiction. The Justice Department can’t reach into someone’s living room across the world and force them to pay their bettors. If an offshore bookie is out of money or a malicious scammer, then bettors are out of luck.

Differences Between Legal And Illegal Sportsbooks

There are a few ways bettors can tell legitimate and fraudulent sportsbooks apart. One way is for bettors to google their sportsbook of choice. If bettors consistently find forums of people who’ve been stiffed by a certain sportsbook, that provides a clear answer.

Another way is to look for press releases announcing partnerships between sportsbooks and licensed casinos. Michigan’s casinos and sportsbook partners have to be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. That also means opening themselves up to the State’s Patron Dispute Information form.

Finally, look for the small requirements that online sportsbooks have to follow. The responsible gaming logo required by law on their websites is one tiny indicator of quality. Small compliance measures like these can help bettors navigate the complicated world of legal and illegal sports betting websites.

How Do Bettors Know That Michigan’s Sportsbooks Are Fair?

Skeptical bettors may think that gaming is similarly questionable everywhere. However, that is far from true. Legal online sportsbooks are regulated by the state, required to pay bettors, and have clear methods to pay their customers.

Who Will Regulate Michigan’s Online Sportsbooks?

The Michigan Gaming Control Board regulates Michigan’s three commercial casinos and will regulate online commercial sportsbooks. It’s in charge of auditing, licensing, and regulating casinos, their suppliers, and their distributors. It also has a complaint form for patrons to fill out if there’s a dispute about receiving winnings or any other grievance.

However, the tribal casinos are overseen by the National Indian Gaming Commission. It was founded by the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act for tribes to regulate gaming themselves. The National Indian Gaming Commission both monitors tribal gaming ordinances and enforces violations. When sports betting arrives at Michigan’s tribal casinos, this will be the governing body overseeing them.

Why You Should Trust Legal Online Sportsbooks

Betting online may seem unsettling, but legitimate online sportsbooks are reliable. DraftKings and FanDuel don’t just sell bets. They traffic in reliability. Remember, FanDuel paid out an $82,000 bet even though it came from on an internal error. DraftKings keeps customer funds and DraftKings operating funds separate (your money won’t be used to pay DraftKings’ hosting fees), and it allows customers to escalate complaints about account management.

Legitimate sportsbooks are also subject to state and tribal regulation. Online sportsbooks in the state of Michigan require licensing from the state, and those that partner with tribal casinos require approval from the tribe, who themselves require approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission. There are levels of protection for legal online sportsbook customers that are absent from unlicensed and unregulated online sportsbooks.

How Bettors Get Paid By Online Sportsbooks

The most common ways to get paid are by direct deposit, PayPal, or–for larger cash amounts–by check. DraftKings offers all three options. Bettors can transfer money to debit cards, credit cards, and PayPal accounts. But for amounts over $2,000, DraftKings will send a check in the mail. Other sportsbooks, like William Hill, offer withdrawals to prepaid cards or cash withdrawals from physical sportsbooks.

Wherever bettors wager, their online accounts will be the hub for payments. Legitimate sportsbooks have clear payment guidelines, concrete timelines, and government oversight that ensures customers are treated fairly–and paid. Online sports betting can be as legitimate as a land-based sportsbook. Bettors only have to watch for red flags and remain vigilant when they try new sportsbooks.

MICHIGAN ONLINE SPORTS BETTING POST-CORONAVIRUS

Legal sportsbooks offer a favorable alternative to illegal sports betting sites that don’t always pay bettors their winnings. The only challenge that Michigan hasn’t overcome is the coronavirus outbreak. Michigan’s casinos closed almost at the same time as sports betting went live and sports leagues across the country were canceled. Without online betting, Michigan’s sportsbooks will struggle to rake in revenue from masses of interested bettors. However, as long as bettors are complying with social distancing guidelines, sportsbooks could recover throughout the year and embrace their promising futures in Michigan.

Michigan Sports Betting FAQ

What Kinds Of Sports Bets Are Legal In Michigan?

College games, professional games, and amateur games with athletes who are 18 and over are all fair game for bettors. As long as it’s not a high school team or younger, matches have sports betting potential.

Are There Restrictions On College Games?

No. Bettors can place prop bets, moneyline bets, and all other types of legal bets in Michigan. Some states don’t allow sportsbooks to offer prop bets–or any bets–on college games out of concern for the young players. Michigan appears confident that college games and students will remain reasonably unaffected, so the Wolverines are fair game.

Are eSports Available At Michigan’s Sportsbooks?

No. If Greektown’s sportsbook guide is any indication, then eSports don’t seem to be offered at Michigan’s sportsbooks. Michigan’s eSports leagues appear to be mostly high school teams, so they can’t be bet on. On the other hand, FanDuel already has eSports lines open in other states, so eSports could become available when online betting goes live. In the meantime, eSports fans will have to wait.

Who Can Get A License To Run An Online Sportsbook In Michigan?

The two types of people who can apply for an online sportsbook license are:
-Individuals who have a casino license under the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act.
-Native American tribes that conduct Class III gaming in a licensed Michigan casino in compliance with the National Indian Gaming Commission.

That means aspiring independent bookies are out of luck. Michigan is only letting licensed commercial and tribal casinos operate sportsbooks. This is probably how the State of Michigan assuaged fears about the negative impact sports betting could have on college athletes. If only legitimate sportsbooks are allowed to operate, then the chances of unethical influences on college athletes are presumably lower. It also ensures that only bookies who can pay their customers can accept bets. That’s among the most important issue to bettors, after all.

Are DraftKings And FanDuel Offering Sports Betting In Michigan?

Yes both companies have partnered with Michigan casinos. That means they will have a land-based sportsbook along with their sportsbook and casino apps. DraftKings partnered with Bay Mills Resort and Casino and FanDuel is partnered with MotorCity Casino.

 

What Is Michigan’s Tax Rate For Online Sports Betting?

These are the tax rates for the different types of betting available in Michigan:

Betting TypeTax Rate
On-site Sports Betting8.4%
Online Sports Betting8.4%
Online Gaming*20-28%
Fantasy Sports Operators8.4%
Horse Racing Bets Through Third-Parties1%
*Based on adjusted gross receipts.

About the Author

Christopher Gerlacher

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