Michigan already has a sports gambling advocate in the state in MGM Resorts

Will Penn National’s Purchase Of Detroit Casino Push Michigan Sports Betting Over The Finish Line?

Detroit Michigan sports betting

Michigan is one of a number of states that will take a serious look at legalizing sports betting in 2019. And now it appears to have a bigger advocate with its newest casino owner.

Penn National Gaming announced Wednesday an agreement to take over operations at the Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit. That seems to have implications for the future of sports gambling in the state.

Here is The Detroit News talking with Eric Schippers, senior vice president of public affairs for Penn National, after this week’s deal:

“We would love the opportunity to offer sports betting there,” he told The News on Wednesday. “That is something we are going to be exploring legislatively. MGM Grand Detroit has been working hard to bring about sports betting in Michigan. We want to join the team and take action on it.”

Michigan and sports betting

Michigan is well ahead of other states in considering sports wagering, already working on potential legislation this year in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling against the federal ban. A bill to legalize online gambling that referenced sports betting already passed the Michigan House in 2018.

With that groundwork laid, Michigan sports betting seems like it will have a good chance to become a reality next year. Rep. Brandt Iden — who is driving the bus when it comes to potential gaming expansions in the state, recently won re-election. And he is still optimistic about sports wagering’s prospects as recently as today:

While the commercial casinos appear to be on board, tribal gaming entities in the state, at last check, had still been wary of an expansion.

Penn National and sports betting

PN is now a part of a trio of commercial casinos in the state. MGM Resorts is bullish on sports gambling, already signing an overarching partnership with the NBA. It owns MGM Grand Detroit.

Penn National, for its part, is already involved in sports betting in a variety of states:

Since it’s heavily involved in the US sports betting business already, PN’s desire to see legal sports betting in another state is hardly surprising. But it could also help drive the push for legislation in Michigan, and possibly other states where it has casinos.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.