Michigan Sports Betting Launch: Everything We Know Today

Posted on January 22, 2021
Michigan sports betting
Posted By on January 22, 2021

Today’s launch of online Michigan sports betting provides a first glimpse into one of the country’s most interesting markets.

Michigan sportsbooks can start their mobile apps at noon local time Friday. Launch weekend could prove competitive in the MI sports betting market as well, with as many as 10 operators opening shop.

Online sports betting in Michigan starts just less than a year after retail sportsbooks opened. The March 2020 launch of in-person sportsbooks became a false start, as the coronavirus pandemic closed casinos soon after.

Here’s what we know about today’s launch of sports wagering in Michigan:

Who will offer online Michigan sports betting?

As many as 10 sportsbook apps could go live in Michigan starting today. Gaming regulators will allow any licensed operators that meet state rules to fire up their apps.

These sportsbooks are eligible to start offering legal sports betting in MI beginning Friday:

  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Golden Nugget
  • PointsBet
  • TwinSpires, formerly Churchill Downs
  • William Hill
  • WynnBET

Who else can launch MI sportsbooks?

FOX Bet could start its operation Friday but its launch plans are unclear. Flutter, the parent company of FanDuel and FOX Bet, might not want to cannibalize either brand at first.

Other tribal casinos in Michigan also can offer mobile sports betting if they choose. Native American tribes approach mobile wagering more cautiously than commercial casinos, though, so apps are not a certainty.

  • Gun Lake Indians (Parx)
  • Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Indians (Scientific Games)
  • Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (Kambi)
  • Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe

Online poker, iGaming start at the same time

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Michigan sports betting into law in December 2019. Whitmer authorized much more than sports betting, though, as the bill passed by legislators created a diverse iGaming market.

Online poker and online gaming also can start Friday in Michigan. It marks the first time a US state chose to open the doors on the three verticals simultaneously. Only New Jersey and Pennsylvania offer full iGaming suites today.

Poker players in Michigan will only play against fellow Michiganders, at least at the beginning. The state is not yet entered into a multistate compact like the one that allows players in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada to compete.

How much money will be bet in Michigan?

Operators offering iGaming could maximize profits sooner than others. The opportunity to cross-sell players between sports betting and games like slots and blackjack attracts many gaming companies.

Handle reached $9.7 million in December 2020 and sports betting revenue touched just $1.9 million. Michigan’s three retail sportsbooks have taken $130.8 million in bets with $18.3 million in revenue since March 2020.

PlayMichigan estimates $8 billion in handle and $500 million in revenue at full maturity in the Michigan market.

MI sports betting history

The path to legal sports wagering in Michigan twisted and turned for years before ending today.

The bones of the bill that eventually legalized sports betting entered the legislature in late 2017. A gaming package passed both chambers in December 2018, only to see outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder veto it with no explanation.

Legislators went back to the drawing board in 2019, including new lawmakers engaging with Whitmer on gaming matters. The governor signed the new gaming package into law in December 2019 but instructed that emergency rules not be used to expedite mobile wagering, as happened in other states.

Regulators shelved the rulemaking process for online wagering during the early days of the pandemic. A lengthy process involving regulators and a legislative committee concluded late last year, clearing the way for today’s launch.

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Adam Candee

Adam Candee is the managing editor of Legal Sports Report. He covers sports business and news from Las Vegas, where he works as a sports radio host for ESPN and VSiN. Adam is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Sun, and KLAS-TV. He can be reached at [email protected]

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