Legal Sports Report

Here Come The Michigan Sports Betting Deals: PointsBet, Stars Group Secure Market Access

Michigan betting access deals

PointsBet and The Stars Group have become the first online operators to secure market access for betting and gaming in Michigan since the state passed a wide-ranging legalization package last month.

PointsBet yesterday announced a 20-year access deal with the Lac Vieux Desert (LVD) Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, while Stars followed this morning with a similar deal with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

What does PointsBet get from the Michigan betting deal?

The first deal will see PointsBet launch its own-branded online Michigan sportsbook and online casino in the state, pending regulatory approval.

The firm is also still negotiating with LVD on plans to open a retail sportsbook on the tribe’s reservation in Watersmeet.

“PointsBet is pleased to have reached an agreement for both online sportsbook and online casino operations with such a forward-thinking tribe, and we look forward to many years of great success working together in Michigan,” group CEO Sam Swannell said.

PointsBet will pay fixed access fees to LVD, as well as a portion of net gaming revenues generated.

Stars secures first skin access

The Stars/Odawa deal follows a similar basis for the launch of Stars’ Fox Bet brand, although Stars will only pay fees on a revenue share basis.

“We are excited to announce this agreement with the Odawa tribe, which further strengthens our market access as we work to continue to build our FOX Bet business into one of the leaders in the emerging US online betting and gaming market,” said Fox Bet CEO Robin Chhabra.

Stars had previously secured second-skin access for Michigan from Penn National, but the language of the recent legislation limits license holders to one skin.

More Michigan access deals on the way?

The partnerships are likely to be the first of many access deals in Michigan, which legalized online betting and gaming back in December.

Each of the state’s three commercial casinos and 12 Native American gaming tribes (which operate 23 casinos) will have an online skin to offer.

The state is aiming to have retail betting ready for March Madness, although online will likely be several months after that.

Who else has access to Michigan?

MGM Resorts operates a property in Detroit, meaning its joint venture with GVC — Roar Digital — should have access, while Penn National acquired Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit last year.

The third Detroit commercial property, MotorCity Casino Hotel, is owned by Marian Ilitch, whose husband Mike owns the Red Wings and Detroit Tigers

Given the size of the state and the relatively favorable tax rate, Michigan market access likely won’t come cheap.

The two early leaders in many online betting markets — FanDuel and DraftKings — will likely secure market access deals eventually as well. That’s not to mention a variety of other sportsbook operators looking to take advantage of a large market.

PointsBet looks well set in the US

PointsBet had previously secured access to 10 states, including Colorado, Illinois and Indiana, and is currently live in New Jersey and Iowa, with plans to be live in Indiana by the Super Bowl.

The operator recently raised $80 million to fund its US expansion and has secured more than 5% share of the New Jersey betting market, according to recent financial filings.

Brad Allen
- Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.
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