Last updated: November 23, 2021
Michigan is one of the largest states to authorize and launch retail and online sports betting. With nearly 10 million residents and plenty of annual visitors, the Great Lakes State has more than a dozen mobile sportsbooks accepting bets.
The process of bringing Michigan online sports betting to life was not easy, taking six years and two administrations to finalize. The wait resulted in a trio of laws signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that legalized not only sports betting, but also online gaming (HB4311) and daily fantasy sports (HB4308).
Once online sports betting became legal, though, regulators and operators moved forward steadily. Most major sports betting companies maintain a presence in Michigan. In its first full month of legal betting, Michigan pulled in more than $300 million total bets. It consistently ranks in the top five for states with legal sports betting and is anticipated to compete with heavy-hitters New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Michigan’s online sports betting launch in January 2021 remains the single largest debut for sports betting in US history. Ten online sportsbooks opened their doors on the first day of service, alongside complimentary online casinos. Others have joined the market since then, and more are expected. Whether you’re in the Upper Peninsula or in the heart of Detroit, here’s the latest about everything happening with Michigan sports betting.
Michigan online sports betting in 2021
What’s happening in Michigan sports betting right now
- Nov. 18, 2021 — Michigan saw nearly half a billion dollars in bets in October, a new record for the state.
- Oct. 18, 2021 — September 2021 hosts a record amount of wagering activity and a $10 million upswing in revenue for Michigan sportsbooks. Michganders bet $386.8 million in the month, 85% more than they did in August. The $27.1 million in revenue is not the record, but it’s a vast improvement from the doldrums of summer. All of the frenzy is because of the NFL season, which began on Sept. 9.
- Sept. 16, 2021 — August 2021 represents an uplift in the sports betting activity in Michigan, as handle improves to $208.6 million. It’s not a big upswing, but it’s better than July, and football is on the way. Unfortunately, revenue did not follow in the same pattern for the sportsbooks, who put an extra $17.5 million into their budgets during the eighth month of the year in 2021.
- Aug. 16, 2021 — Michigan sportsbooks reported a handle of $206.3 million for July, good for just over half the action seen in March 2021. The books held $20.8 million of that amount as revenue. However, with football season picking up in mid-August, July’s numbers should represent the nadir for the year.
- Aug. 2, 2021 — Play Gun Lake launches as an online sportsbook app for Michiganders. The debut means that there are now 14 active online sports betting options in Michigan. Play Gun Lake is the result of a partnership between Pennsylvania-based casino Parx and the Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomi Indians. The sportsbook joins the tribe’s existing online casino app, which launched in April.
Best Michigan sports betting apps
Michigan online sportsbooks must be tethered to the three commercial casino operators or 12 federally recognized Native American tribes that operate the state’s 23 tribal casinos. Operators are limited to using one internet sports betting platform, though each sportsbook app can be integrated with a corresponding online casino and/or poker site.
Here are the sportsbook apps that are live in Michigan or expected to launch soon and their casino partners:
|Sportsbook||Licensed Partner||Tech Provider||Launch Date||Integrated Casino?||Integrated Poker?|
|Barstool||Greektown Casino / Penn National Gaming||PNG||January 2021||Yes||No|
|BetMGM||MGM Grand Detroit / MGM Resorts Intl||Roar Digital||January 2021||Yes||Yes|
|BetRivers||Little River Band of Ottawa Indians||Kambi||January 2021||Yes||No|
|Caesars||Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians||Caesars / Sci Games||January 2021||Yes||No|
|DraftKings||Bay Mills Indian Community||SBTech / Kambi||January 2021||Yes||No|
|FanDuel||MotorCity Casino / Detroit Entertainment||Flutter / IGT||January 2021||Yes||No|
|FireKeepers||Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Indians||Unknown||ETA 2021||No||No|
|Four Winds||Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians||Pala||February 2021||Yes||No|
|Fox Bet||Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians||TSG||January 2021||Yes||Yes|
|Golden Nugget||Keweenaw Bay Indian Community||SB Tech / Sci Games||January 2021||Yes||No|
|PlayGunLake / Parx||Gun Lake Tribe||Parx||ETA 2021||Yes||No|
|PointsBet||Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians||PointsBet||January 2021||Yes||No|
|Soaring Eagle||Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe||Unknown||ETA 2021||No||No|
|TwinSpires||Hannahville Indian Community||SB Tech / Sci Games||January 2021||Yes||No|
|WynnBet||Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians||GAN||January 2021||Yes||No|
Here’s more on the sportsbook apps available in Michigan:
Barstool Sportsbook app
Barstool has built up a massive presence in the online sports media space. The company now has its sights set on doing the same in sports betting via a merger with Penn National. Barstool gains access to Michigan off of a deal with Greektown Casino. The Barstool-branded retail book opened in late 2020.
BetMGM Sportsbook app
The BetMGM retail sportsbook opened for business on March 11, 2020, at the MGM Grand Detroit. The company is aggressively building its presence in Michigan with exclusive sponsorship deals with both the Detroit Lions and Detroit Red Wings. BetMGM comes our way courtesy of Roar Digital, a joint venture of MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings.
Bonus offer: Risk-free bet up to $1,000; BetMGM Sportsbook Michigan
BetRivers Sportsbook app
The parent company of Rivers and Sugarhouse Casinos is expanding its presence throughout the United States as state markets open. BetRivers will operate via Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan.
Bonus offer: 100% up to $250 bonus; BetRivers Sportsbook Michigan
Caesars Sportsbook app
Caesars continues to grow its presence across the US. The company has gained access to Michigan via a deal with the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
Bonus offer: Up to $1,001 first bet match; Caesars Sportsbook Michigan
DraftKings Sportsbook app
DraftKings gained access to the Michigan market via a deal with Bay Mills Indian Community in June 2020. The daily fantasy sports heavyweight has made great strides in legal sports betting and is among the market leaders in several states. Future plans with Bay Mills include the opening of a retail sportsbook.
Bonus offer: $50 + 20% first deposit bonus up to $1,000. DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan
FanDuel Sportsbook app
The FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino was one of the first retail outlets to open its doors in Michigan in March 2020. The online and mobile platform has been a big hit in all markets entered to date. It was one of the first apps to go live in January 2021.
Bonus offer: Risk-free bet up to $1,000; FanDuel Sportsbook Michigan
FireKeepers Sportsbook app
Located in Battle Creek, the FireKeepers Casino in Michigan is operated by the Notawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi. The tribe partnered with Scientific Games and NYX Digital to produce a self-branded app in the state.
Golden Nugget Sportsbook app
Golden Nugget gained access to the Michigan market via a deal with Ojibwa Casino and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Most famous for its signature property in Las Vegas, Golden Nugget is also a leader in online casino gambling.
Bonus offer: Free bet of $250. Golden Nugget Sportsbook Michigan.
Four Winds sportsbook app
Four Winds has four locations in Michigan: New Buffalo, Hartford, Dowagiac, and South Bend. The properties are operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and has launched its own sports betting app in conjunction with Pala Interactive.
Fox Bet Sportsbook app
Flutter Entertainment has teamed up with Fox Sports for Fox Bet, an online and mobile offering that has received significant attention. Fox Bet enters Michigan via a partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.
Bonus offer: Risk-free bet up to $500 (Note: Must opt-in to claim risk-free bet within 7 days of registration and make your first bet within a week to qualify. Head to the promotions tab, click on “FIRST BET ON US RISK-FREE” click “View challenges” and hit opt-in button.); Fox Bet Sportsbook Michigan
Parx / PlayGunLake Sportsbook app
Parx entered the Michigan market via a deal with Gun Lake Casino in Wayland. As such, the Play Gun Lake sportsbook launched in summer 2021. Parx is based out of Pennsylvania and also operates a retail book in New Jersey.
PointsBet Sportsbook app
Since debuting in New Jersey in early 2019, PointsBet has been continually working towards expanding its US presence with an online and mobile platform focused on sports bettors. The company entered Michigan off of a deal with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. PointsBet has inked an exclusive sponsorship deal with the Detroit Lions.
Bonus offer: Up to $2,000 in risk-free bets; PointsBet Sportsbook Michigan
TwinSpires Sportsbook app
Formerly branded as BetAmerica, the TwinSpires Sportsbook is offered by horse racing giant Churchill Downs International (CDI.) The TwinSpires rebrand occurred late in 2020 and will be used widely as the company attempts to capitalize on the brand recognition of its horse racing operating.
WynnBet Sportsbook app
Although the company utilizes one of the most recognizable names in the casino industry, Wynn’s presence in the US sports betting market remains relatively small. The WynnBET Sportsbook app markets itself as a more social sports wagering experience.
Latest Michigan sports betting news
Sports betting deals in Michigan
As operators work towards establishing a strong foothold in new locales, some have made big splashes by inking deals with popular local teams. This is a trend that has continued to grow in the legal states, including here in Michigan.
- PointsBet + Detroit Tigers: PointsBet became the official sportsbook sponsor of the Tigers in July 2020. It’s a multi-year deal which calls for PointsBet branding to be visible on official Tigers media outlets and throughout Comerica Park.
- BetMGM + Detroit Lions: BetMGM joined forces with Lions as the team’s official sports betting partner in Sept. 2020. MGM Resorts International, one half of the Roar Digital team which controls BetMGM, already had a multi-year deal in place with the Lions.
- BetMGM + Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings extended an existing deal with BetMGM in Oct. 2020. Features include an on-ice logo at the Little Caesars Arena, branding throughout the arena and on Red Wings media properties, and a presence on the District Detroit mobile app.
- DraftKings and FanDuel + Detroit Pistons: The two biggest companies in US sports betting have signed up to be partners of Michigan’s NBA team. Both teams get in-arena advertising as well ad digital and television promotion.
Michigan sports betting law
Michigan sports betting got off to a slow start as the three commercial casinos in Detroit opened their sportsbooks the same week in March 2020 that sports leagues began shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Soon after, the casinos and their sportsbooks were forced to shut down as well.
The state’s gambling laws are laid out in the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act of 1996. That Act authorized gambling in three casinos on non-tribal land in Detroit. Appetite for passage was partially driven by the construction of a new casino in Canada, just across the river from Michigan’s largest metropolis.
The measure was narrowly approved by 51.51% of the state voters and enacted into law the following year. It defines many forms of permitted “gambling games,” but there was no mention of sports betting.
That changed in December 2019 when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed sports betting into law. The law allows for mobile sports betting as well as at the physical commercial and tribal casinos throughout the state. Online gaming was also legalized.
Sports betting revenue is taxed at 8.4%. The commercial casinos in Detroit will pay an additional 1.25% city tax.
The state currently has an online lottery, 23 tribal casinos, three commercial casinos, and two race tracks that host pari-mutuel horse betting.
Michigan sports betting revenue
The first 10 months of regulated sports betting were limited to retail sportsbooks at brick-and-mortar casinos, the operation of which were severely inhibited by the pandemic. A spring season marred by closures foreshadowed a lackluster second half of 2020, and operators could not combine to reach $50 million in handle in any single month.
Activity has ramped up substantially since the launch of online and mobile betting in January 2021. Michigan is now the fifth-largest market in the US, with more than a dozen online sportsbooks booking hundreds of millions of dollars in monthly wagers.
More US sports betting revenue and handle data here.
How to start betting at Michigan sportsbooks
Now that online betting is live, you’ll have to do a few things before you can start wagering. Here’s a quick look at what you’ll have to do:
- Download a sportsbook app: You can download a Michigan sportsbook app or apps. Once you get to the sportsbook’s site, it will direct you where to go for downloads for iPhones and Android phones.
- Sign up for a sports betting account: Getting the app is step one. Once you’ve done that, you need to go through the registration process at the sportsbook you choose. You’ll have to give the sportsbooks some of your information, like name, address and the last four digits of your Social Security number to complete the process.
- Deposit at a sportsbook: The last step before you start betting is putting money in your account. Most sportsbooks offer several ways to fund your account.
Banking options at Michigan sportsbooks
Legal and regulated sportsbooks in Michigan offer up a number of different funding options for customers. The exact offering will vary by operator, but here are the main methods available.
- eCheck/ACH Transfer: Once you verify your account, you can quickly transfer funds via bank account.
- PayPal: A popular eWallet provider on which users can make both deposits and withdrawals.
- Wires/Money Orders: These options can be accepted for large amounts by certain operators.
- Prepaid cards: Some books have their own branded options, while standard prepaid cards may also be accepted.
- Credit/Debit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are standard options with American Express and Discover accepted by some operators.
- Bill pay: Another option to process transactions via bank account, similar to an online bill pay function.
- PayNearMe: If an operator offers this option, users can pay with cash at 7-Eleven stores to fund their sportsbook account.
- Skrill/Neteller: Other eWallet providers which function in the same fashion as PayPal.
- Casino cage: Certain operators have deals in place with casino license holders for on-site transactions.
Again, not all options will be available with every operator, but the top books generally have a good assortment to choose from. Also, some options may only be available for deposits while others will work fine for both types of transactions.
Live betting options at Michigan sportsbooks
Live betting is one of the fastest-growing segments of the sports betting industry. Also known as in-play or in-game betting, these are wagers that you can place in real-time as the action unfolds.
Online and mobile sportsbooks will provide updated odds every step of the way. There will be new lines on game results, as well as many opportunities which resemble what you would find in prop betting markets.
It’s a fast-moving marketplace, but leading operators have made major strides on this front and offer up platforms that are up to the task. Live betting can help to enhance engagement with contests as they play out while also providing additional chances to profit.
Information on sportsbook bonuses in Michigan
The Michigan sports betting market shapes up to be a competitive one. Leading operators will continually be battling for market share, and one of the tools they will use to help attract attention are sportsbook bonuses.
Here are the types of offers you might see in other states:
- Deposit match: Sportsbooks will match the first deposit for new users. The amount of the match will vary, but it can be up to 100% in some spots.
- Free bet: Operators will provide new users with site credits that they can use to place real money bets. If the wager is a winner, the user can withdraw the proceeds, but the free bet amount typically has a play-through requirement attached.
- Risk-free bet: After you make your first deposit, some sites will allow users to place their first bet in risk-free fashion. The amount of the offer will vary, but some books offer a maximum of $500-$1,000.
Michigan sportsbooks and casinos
Michigan has three commercial casinos and 23 tribal casinos permitted to offer sports betting. MGM Grand Detroit and Greektown Casino opened their sportsbooks on March 11, 2020, with MotorCity following the next day. Soon after, the casinos were shut down as a result of the coronavirus, and were eventually closed for five months. The first tribal sportsbook opened in June 2020 at FireKeepers Casino.
Here’s a look at the Michigan casino sportsbooks open thus far. All hours subject to change.
FireKeepers became the first tribal casino with sports betting in Michigan when it opened Dacey’s Sportsbook on June 22, 2020. The sportsbook is part of Dacey’s Taphouse restaurant. There are three live-wagering windows and four self-service kiosks.
- Address: 11177 E Michigan Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49014
- Telephone: 877-352-8777
- Sportsbook Hours: Mon-Fri 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sat and Sun 9 a.m. to midnight, kiosks 7 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Four Winds Casinos
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians owns three casinos in Michigan (and one more in Indiana), and partnered with Pala and Kambi to bring its self-branded online sportsbook and casino gaming to the state. However, only the New Buffalo location has a full-service sportsbook; the other two are kiosks only.
- Locations: New Buffalo, Hartford, Dowagiac
- Telephone: 1-866-494-6371
- Sportsbook Hours: Open daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; kiosks open 24/7
Operated by Penn National Gaming, Greektown opened its temporary sportsbook on March 11, 2020, but built a permanent one branded by Barstool Sports. The sportsbook hosts 40 betting kiosks, 25 HDTVs and a 30-foot video wall.
- Address: 555 E Lafayette St, Detroit, MI 48226
- Telephone: 313-223-2999
- Sportsbook Hours: Mon-Thu 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri 10 a.m. to midnight, Sat-Sun 9 a.m. to midnight
Gun Lake Casino
The Stage131 Sportsbook & Lounge at Gun Lake includes a full-service bar and plenty of ways to watch the game. The casino teamed up with Parx for online betting, which resulted in a self-branded site, PlayGunLake.
- Address: 1123 129th Ave., Wayland, MI 49348
- Telephone: 269-792-7777
- Sportsbook Hours: Daily noon to 10 p.m.
Island Resort & Casino
The Hannahville Indian Community partnered with TwinSpires and Churchill Downs in the state. And alongside the online sportsbook is a retail sportsbook branded TwinSpires at the U.P. casino. The kiosks are located in T.McC’s Sports Bar.
- Address: W 399 US 2 & 41, Harris, MI 49845
- Telephone: 800-682-6040
- Sportsbook Hours: Open daily 24/7
There are five Kewadin properties in Michigan, all of which are owned and operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The tribe partnered with WynnBet for online sports betting, but for now, its casinos host self-serve kiosks rather than full Vegas-style sportsbooks. There are eight kiosks spread across all five casinos in the state.
- Locations: Christmas, Hessel, Sault Ste. Marie, Manistique, St. Ignace
- Telephone: 1-800-539-2346 (KEWADIN)
- Kiosks Hours: Open daily
Leelanau Sands Casino
Caesars is the sports betting partner of the casino’s operator, Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, but there is no in-person betting at the casino. Its sister casino in Williamsburg hosts a full-service sportsbook. So for now, there are only kiosks at Leelanau.
- Address: 2521 N West Bay Shore Dr., Peshawbestown, MI 49682
- Telephone: 231-534-8100
- Kiosk Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Little River Casino Resort
The Little River Band of the Ottawa Indians partnered with BetRivers for online sports betting in Michigan. The River Rock Sportsbook & Grill includes 12 kiosks, betting windows, and a full-service dining experience. The tribe itself is hoping to
- Address: 2700 Orchard Highway, Manistee, MI 49660
- Telephone: 231-723-1535
- Sportsbook Hours: Mon & Thur 2 p.m.-midnight; Tue & Wed 4-9 p.m.; Fri noon to midnight; Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-midnight; kiosks open Sun-Thu 7a.m.-2 a.m., Fri-Sat 7 a.m.-4 a.m.
MotorCity opened its FanDuel Sportsbook in style on March 12, 2020, with Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders placing the first bet. The sportsbook features 67 HDTVs and 54 self-service IGT PlaySports betting kiosks. The casino is owned by Little Caesars Pizza co-founder Marian Ilitch, who also owns the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers.
- Address: 2901 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48201
- Telephone: 866-782-9622
- Sportsbook Hours: Daily 9 a.m.-midnight
MGM Grand Detroit
One of the biggest casino names in Las Vegas, MGM opened the BetMGM Sports Lounge on March 11, 2020, with 60 HDTVs providing wall-to-wall coverage of sporting events, six betting windows, and 14 self-service kiosks.
- Address: 1777 3rd Ave, Detroit, MI 48226
- Telephone: 877-888-2121
- Sportsbook Hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Odawa Casino Resort (Petoskey)
Odawa Casino is partnered with Fox Bet, but its retail space is self-branded. The Petoskey casino is the only casino of the two properties owned by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians to have in-person betting as well as kiosks.
- Address: 1760 Lears Rd., Petoskey, MI 49770
- Telephone: 877-442-6464
- Sportsbook Hours: Monday and Thursday: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; kiosks open 24 hours a day.
Odawa Casino (Mackinaw City)
Like its sister casino in Petoskey, there is sports betting available in Mackinaw City but only via self-serve kiosks. The kiosks are available when the casino is open.
- Address: 1080 S. Nicolet St., Mackinaw City, MI 49701
- Telephone: 877-442-6464
- Kiosk Hours: 9 a.m.- noon daily
Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel
Turtle Creek partnered with Caesars for sports betting, and as such, the Onyx Sportsbook by Caesars opened in 2020. The sportsbook is located on Level 3, while the kiosks are available throughout the casino.
- Address: 7741 M-72, Williamsburg, MI 49690
- Telephone: 231-534-8870
- Sportsbook Hours: Fri-Sat: noon-midnight; Sun: noon-8 p.m.; kiosks open Sun-Thur 10 a.m.-1o p.m.
Legal sports betting options in Michigan
Michiganders can bet on professional, collegiate and international sporting events at online sportsbooks in Michigan.
The only legal requirements are that you are over 21, physically located inside state lines when you bet, and not on a self-exclusion list. There is no requirement to be a permanent resident of Michigan.
There are also illegal offshore websites that offer sports betting in Michigan. Without regulation from the state, these offshore betting apps can’t be counted on to pay out winnings and have been known to disappear with people’s money. The safest option is to play with a reputable licensed sportsbook.
Most popular sports to bet on in Michigan
All major professional sports teams in Michigan are based in the city of Detroit. It is one of only 12 cities in the country to have teams from all four major North American sports leagues. Detroit is the only city ever to win three major professional sports championships in the same year.
The feat way back in 1935-36 gave it the nickname “City of Champions.” Michigan also features strong collegiate sports programs.
NHL betting in Michigan
There’s a reason Detroit is called Hockeytown. The Detroit Red Wings have won 11 Stanley Cup titles, most of any NHL franchise based in the US. However, it’s been a minute as the team’s last championship came in 2008. Founded in 1926, the Red Wings are one of the “Original 6” teams of the NHL.
NFL betting in Michigan
It says something about the popularity of the NFL that there’s an argument to be made for the Detroit Lions as the most popular team in the state. Although they did win four NFL championships from 1935 to 1957, the Lions are the only team in operation for the entire Super Bowl era never to play in one.
It’s not a streak likely to end anytime soon, but Michiganders will keep hope alive. The Lions signed a partnership deal with BetMGM prior to the 2020 NFL season.
MLB betting in Michigan
There’s something to be said for longevity. As by far the oldest professional sports team in Michigan, the Detroit Tigers have a passionate and loyal fanbase. The Tigers were founded in 1894 and became one of the American League’s eight charter franchises that went on to form one half of Major League Baseball in 1903.
Tigers fandom has passed down the generations since. The last of the Tigers’ four World Series titles came in 1984.
In July 2020, the Tigers announced a multiyear deal with PointsBet, the sponsorship between an MLB team and a sportsbook. As the official gaming partner of the Tigers, PointsBet will be featured on signage in Comerica Park and the team’s digital platforms.
NBA betting in Michigan
The Detroit Pistons might be the least popular of the major teams in Michigan, but when they win they do so with style. The “Bad Boys” with Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman played the villain role to perfection in 1989 and 1990.
Then the Pistons beat a Lakers lineup in 2004 that featured four future Hall of Famers. The Pistons haven’t won a playoff game in a dozen years, but they always seem to come back around.
NCAA betting in Michigan
After all that talk of the four major sports teams in the City of Champions, the most popular sports team in Michigan has to be Michigan Wolverines football. The Wolverines have 11 national titles and the most all-time wins in NCAA college football history.
The rivalry with Ohio State is one of the biggest in college athletics. Though there’s been some lean years of late, they’ve got a coach in Jim Harbaugh who shouldn’t be counted out to bring them back to glory.
The Wolverines have a legitimate in-state rival in the Michigan State Spartans, which have won six national titles in football. Amazingly, the Spartans have made the last 22 NCAA Tournaments while the Wolverines have made 8 of 9.
Michigan sports betting timeline
The first Michigan sportsbooks began taking online wagers in January 2021. This concluded a journey of more than a year from when legislators first passed a sports betting law that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into place. With the COVID-19 pandemic making an online option even more important to casino revenues, there was a concerted effort among all involved in the process to get the rulemaking and licensing for internet gambling and mobile sports wagering done as soon as possible. It still took more than a year for online sites to be up and running.
Even so, sports betting in Michigan accelerated almost immediately. Well more than $100 million in wagers were placed in just the first 10 days of mobile MI sports wagering, indicating a pent-up demand for a more convenient legal sports betting option in the state.
The first retail Michigan sportsbooks opened just days before the beginning of shutdowns statewide and nationwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most casinos in and around Detroit really did not have a chance to launch sports betting in earnest prior to the closings.
In June, Michigan gaming regulators signaled a willingness to advance their timeline for online sports betting from early 2021 to late 2020. They began pursuing this path as a response to the pandemic and could bring mobile sports betting sites to the state much sooner than first anticipated.
Yet despite this aggressive indication, it still would take months longer to clear all necessary hurdles to bring the Michigan sports betting market online. Rules and regulations governing MI sportsbooks eventually received final approval later in the year, setting up the launch of the mobile market.
In December 2019, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of gambling expansion bills into law that included legalizing online sports betting and fantasy sports contests.
When Rep. Brandt Iden introduced H 4916, he couldn’t get the governor to discuss the gambling expansion package with him. It seemed like partisan politics could derail the bill as Whitmer, a newly elected Democrat, warred with the Republican-controlled legislature.
The governor even opposed the bills when they passed the House in October. But Iden was able to tag team with Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., who was able to use his longtime connections with the governor to broker an agreement between Whitmer and industry stakeholders.
Iden thought he had an internet gambling bill passed in 2018 that included one line that could have led to legal sports betting in Michigan.
The bill gave the Michigan Gaming Control Board authority to permit internet gambling operators to accept sports betting wagers.
Iden and Sen. Mike Kowall worked hard to get all stakeholders on board with H 4926 only to have Gov. Rick Snyder veto the bill.
Iden began his efforts to pass internet gambling legislation in 2017. His first version of H 4926 prohibited sports betting, but a substitute version flipped the script and Iden included provisions for legalization.
Late in 2017, Iden’s Lawful Internet Gaming Act became the first with sports betting language to pass through the Committee on Regulatory Reform.
Well before the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA, Rep. Robert Kosowski started off efforts to legalize Michigan sports betting.
In 2015, he introduced the state’s first two pieces of sports betting legislation. H 4669 moved to allow casinos to conduct sports betting. H 4670 would have extended the permissions to include wagering on simulcast horse racing, too.
Rep. Kosowski re-introduced his 2015 bill once again in 2016. This time, H 5828 included language that would permit third parties to offer sports betting, in addition to the commercial casinos.
The bills never made it out of committee, but they did start the conversation for MI sports betting.
The future of Michigan sports betting
Michigan is primed to be a huge sports betting market.
One of the biggest things the state has going is that it legalized all forms of online gambling alongside sports betting. Michigan online casino and online poker will also be live soon; we know from the example in New Jersey that all these forms of gambling have a complementary effect.
Michigan has a competitive marketplace for sportsbooks with lots of brands going live and a large population. All of it adds up to the state being one of the biggest states for sports betting revenue and wagers, eventually.
Michigan and daily fantasy sports
In addition to legalizing online sports betting and internet gambling in 2019, Michigan tagged on daily fantasy sports.
Michiganders already were able to participate in fantasy contests on sites such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo! and Fantasy Draft. But now they can do so in a regulated environment.
With oversight from the Michigan Gaming Control Board, DFS sites paid $20,000 for an initial license, a $5,000 annual fee and are taxed at 8.4%.
Michigan sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Michigan?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Michigan. In-person betting started in March 2020 with online following in January 2021. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law in late December 2019 despite it looking like a dead-end for the majority of the year.
Who oversees Michigan sports betting?
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) regulates sports betting in the state. It sets and enforces the rules and regulations under which casinos and sportsbooks operate.
Where can I bet on sports in Michigan?
Retail sports betting went live in March 2020. Online sports betting is now also available throughout Michigan via smartphones, tablets, and computers as of January 2021. You need to be physically located in Michigan to use any of the options.
Who can apply for a Michigan sports betting license?
All commercial and tribal casino operators are allowed to apply under the approved bill.
These are the three commercial casinos, all of which are located in Detroit:
- Greektown Casino
- MGM Grand Detroit
- Motor City Casino
Who can bet on sports in Michigan?
You have to be 21 in order to place a sports bet in Michigan. Otherwise, only certain key personnel associated with sports teams and leagues are restricted from betting.
Is mobile sports betting available in Michigan?
Yes, mobile sports betting is here in Michigan. State regulators launched mobile wagering in January 2021, nearly a year after the start of in-person sportsbook betting. Mobile wagers can be placed anywhere within state borders.
Is horse racing legal in Michigan?
Yes, Michigan has one horse racetrack with simulcast betting. The package of gambling bills passed in December 2019 also added online horse betting. Michigan began offering parimutuel betting on horse races back in 1933 and added simulcast racing in 1995. There is only one racetrack left standing in Michigan, Northville Downs located just outside Detroit. People can bet on live thoroughbred racing at Northville and also watch and bet on races around North America.
Following the law to permit online horse betting, TVG became the first third-party facilitator to launch legal advanced-deposit wagering in June, just ahead of the last two legs of the Triple Crown. TwinSpires horse betting app, the sister site to TwinSpires Sportsbook & Casino, is available in the state after working its way through the regulatory process.