Michigan is the 20th state in the U.S.A. to legalize sports betting. It also has some of the friendliest laws regulating this industry, and there are exciting plans in place for the future.
Sports betting in Michigan was legalized in 2019. However, the first retail sportsbook did not open its doors until March 11, 2020. Now there are three retail sportsbooks in all three of the commercial casinos in the Great Lake State, and dozens of the tribal casinos also offer sports betting options, too.
However, lawmakers are still working out some of the details regarding certain aspects of sports betting. Here is an overview of the state of sports betting in Michigan.
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What Kinds of Gambling are Legal in Michigan?
Michigan’s gambling laws are generally friendly. The state allows a wind range of gambling activities, including Las-Vegas-Style casino gambling, gambling on track and race events, and (most recently) sports betting.
Casino gambling has been around since the Racing Act was passed in 1933. The state takes pride in being home to the first tribally-owned casino in the U.S., King’s Club casino, which was opened in 1984. Today Michigan is home to three commercial casinos, which rank among the best in the country, and more than a dozen tribal casinos.
Michiganders have a lot of freedom when it comes to the types of sports they can bet on. However, online sports betting options are only limited to Michigan’s state teams, which are many and diverse considering the state’s population. These limitations do not exist when betting at the retail sportsbooks in the state’s casinos. Bettors here can bet on any local, national, and international sporting event, including:
|Tennis||Mixed Martial Arts||Wrestling|
Bettors can also make a wide range of bets, including:
However, it is worth noting that Michigan sports betting still has a strict ban on collegiate and high school sports bets. Additionally, the law is not clear about where it stands on e-Sports. A sport is defined as an event involving at least two professional athletes, according to Michigan law. Some forms of e-Sports involve more than one professional eSports player, hence the lack of clarity in this area.
Where to Bet on Sports in Michigan
You can bet on sports virtually anywhere within Michigan state lines, including at one of close to a dozen retail sportsbooks and online via dozens of the most reputable sports betting apps. The options include:
Online Sports Betting in Michigan
Online betting has already taken off in Michigan. Betting online was one of the priorities, and it was expedited following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this sector of the gambling industry is still in its early stages, and there are only a handful of players currently operating.
One important thing to mention is that online betting platforms are required to strike partnerships with land-based casinos if they wish to operate in the state. The Star Group and PointsBet were the first online betting platforms to strike partnerships with land-based casinos in the state. The Stars Group is in a partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, while PointsBet is in a partnership with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
More notable online sports betting platforms have struck partnerships of their own with other casino organizations. Some of the most notable partnerships so far are:
|DraftKings||Bay Mills Indian Community|
|Fox Bet||Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians|
|BetMGM||MGM Grand Detroit|
|BetAmerica||Hannahville Indian Community|
|PointsBet||Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians|
|Parx Casino||Gun Lake Tribe|
One of the perks of online sports betting Michigan is that bettors can place their wagers from anywhere, including on the move as they go about their everyday activities. In fact, bettors don’t have to visit a casino to get access to sports betting options – they can do it all online, from first-time registration to withdrawing their winnings after a successful bet.
Registration is quick and simple. First, players will be required to download the sportsbook app of their choice on their phone or a registered mobile device. Next, players will be required to provide some personal information to establish their identity.
The required information is standard ID details, including your name, address, Social Security Number, and a working phone number and email address – it is recommendable to provide credible information to avoid complications. Players will be able to start betting once their information has been verified.
Betting online in Michigan only works when you are in the state. Operators are required to verify their users’ locations by law – to this end, your operator will insist on using your device’s geo-location tracking and verification software as a prerequisite to use their apps. Similarly, the app will stop working and your online accounts will become inactive if you try to access it outside the state.
Financial transactions also take place remotely, and the law has provided for a range of secure money transfer options. Popular banking methods include:
- Debit and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Maestro, and more).
- Electronic wallets (PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, and more).
- Electronic checks (ACH).
- Bank and wire transfers.
- Cash via PayNearMe and other select retail locations.
One of the other perks of online sports betting is that the operators in the market are offering lucrative bonuses in a bid to woo clients. The types of bonuses vary, and they include a no-deposit bonus just for signing up with a particular online sportsbook. The majority of operators also offer a deposit bonus for your first deposit, which can be matched by as much as 100% of your deposit amount. To this end, it is advisable to check with each operator and reviewers for the best deals in the market.
Michigan’s sports betting law, albeit friendly, is also strict when it comes to regulating operators. To this end, Michiganders are assured protection from unscrupulous operators. However, it is still important to ensure that your operator of choice is trustworthy. Consider each operator’s reputation and study their terms of service before signing up!
Mobile Sports Betting Apps in Michigan
Mobile sports betting Michigan came early, so to speak. The legal process was scheduled to be finalized some time in 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced lawmakers to expedite it. Consequently, mobile sports betting is currently legal, thriving, and expanding fast in the Great Lake State.
Several mobile sports apps have already acquired the necessary licensing to offer sports betting and are currently operational. Some of the leading apps include:
DraftKings Sportsbook App
DraftKings is one of the best sportsbook apps in the industry. One of its best aspects is that it customizes its interface according to each user’s personality. DraftKings has partnered with the Bay Mills Indian Community.
FanDuel Sportsbook App
FanDuel is also reputable across the world for its robust portfolio of sports betting options. It also has one of the most generous promotion programs. FanDuel has partnered with MotorCity Casino Resort.
Fox Bet Sportsbook App
Fox Bet is one of the biggest sportsbook brands to venture into the state, as it is a partnership between Fox Sports and The Stars Group. The app is particularly popular for its premium media features, including flawless live streaming. Fox Bet has partnered with Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.
BetMGM Sportsbook App
BetMGM Casino Resort has its very own sportsbook: the BetMGM Michigan sportsbook app, which is operated by MGM Resorts International. It also has a retail sportsbook located at the casino.
William Hill Sportsbook App
William Hill is one of the biggest players in the state – and one of the largest sportsbook brands in the world. Its main selling points include one of the biggest sports betting portfolios and one of the most user-friendly apps. William Hill has partnered with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
PointsBet Sportsbook App
PointsBet Sportsbook App is one of the most responsive sportsbooks with a focus on customer relations. It is particularly popular for its high odds, and in particular its Points Bet feature – the Points Bet feature boosts players’ odds and potential wins by combining the point spread bet with a multiplier.
Land-Based Sports Betting in Michigan
There are three commercial casinos and 23 tribal casinos in Michigan, and all of them are eligible for the necessary licensing to operate a retail sportsbook. This means that there could be 26 retail sportsbooks in Michigan at some point.
Currently, however, there are only eight retail sportsbooks. The three biggest sportsbooks are located in Detroit’s commercial casinos. They are:
BetMGM Sports Lounge – MGM Grand Detroit
MGM Grand Detroit is one of the biggest casinos in the state and the country, and it has one of the flashiest sportsbooks in the state. There are multiple betting terminals in the sportsbooks and on other levels of the casino. The sportsbook also broadcasts live games and serves a wide range of drinks. The casino is located at 1777 Third Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48226. The sportsbook is open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
FanDuel Sportsbook – MotorCity Casino
MotorCity Casino is one of the three commercial casinos in Detroit. It has a global reputation for its state-of-the-art facilities, including a classy sportsbook with a large and comfortable seating area, live games on a vast TV wall, and refreshing drinks to go around. The casino is located at 2901 Grand River Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48201. The sportsbook is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
GreekTown Casino-Hotel Sportsbook
GreekTown Casino Hotel is operated by Penn National Gaming, one of the largest gaming organizations in the country. It also has a classy sportsbook with access to assisted betting kiosks, self-help betting terminals, and large-screen HD TVs broadcasting live games from all over the world. The casino is located at 555 East Lafayette Street, Detroit, Michigan 48226. The sportsbook is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The other retail sportsbooks are located at the state’s tribal casinos. They are not as big as Detroit’s, but they feature everything that a sports enthusiast would need. They are:
- Dacey’s Sportsbook – Firekeepers Casino (11177 E. Michigan Avenue, Battle Creek, Michigan 49014)
- River Rock Sportsbook & Grill – Little River Casino Resort (2700 Orchard Highway, Manistee, Michigan 49660)
- Four Winds Sportsbook – Four Winds Casinos
Four Winds Casinos has three branches, and there is a sportsbook at each of these branches. They are:
- Four Winds New Buffalo (11111 Wilson Road, New Buffalo, Michigan 49117)
- Four Winds Hartford (68600 Red Arrow Highway, Hartford, Michigan 49057)
- Four Winds Dowagiac (58700 M-51 South Dowagiac, Michigan 49047)
More retail sportsbooks will be opening up in the near future, as more and more tribal casinos acquire the necessary licensing and strike partnerships with sportsbooks.
Who Can Bet On Sports in Michigan?
Anyone of legal age in Michigan can engage in sports betting, provided that they have a government-issued ID to prove it. The legal gambling age in Michigan is at least 21 years old. The government-issued ID will be necessary to prove this wherever you want to place your bet, whether at a land-based casino or with an online sportsbook.
You don’t have to be an official resident of Michigan to engage in sports betting in the state. However, you will be required to register with a sportsbook licensed to operate in the state – this is still necessary even when you have an account with the same sportsbook from another state.
Besides age and legality, the only other restriction that can prevent you from engaging in sports betting in Michigan is your profession. The law prohibits betting among people associated with sports leagues and teams in a bid to prevent fraud.
Michigan sports betting laws are only applicable within the state, and so sports betting accounts registered here can only function inside the state. The state requires operators to verify their users’ locations using geo-location technology. GPS technology is quite accurate, and the operators are strict when it comes to enforcing this requirement as they risk heavy penalties if they don’t.
Michigan already has close to a dozen sportsbooks currently operating legally. These include some of the biggest brands in the industry, including DraftKings and FanDuel. Each sportsbook has partnered with a commercial or tribal casino – on that note, it is also worth noting that there are close to a dozen retail sportsbooks with actual sports lounges in the land-based casinos.
Many of the sportsbooks venturing into Michigan are reputable, and they include global brands such as William Hill and DraftKings. However, each sportsbook has something unique to offer. There are several distinguishing characteristics of a good sportsbook, and they include the app’s user interface, its policies, its overall reputation, and its promotions. It is recommended to explore each site personally before signing up.
Michigan’s sports betting industry is expected to be a multi-million venture with great potential for exponential growth. Unfortunately, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a slow start. The first month of sports betting only generated $105,000 because of the restrictions on casinos and the late launch of online sports betting, according to the state. However, this figure is expected to shoot up when the economy opens back up.
Sports betting in Michigan is regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). The state legislature also has a big say in the industry’s affairs, especially considering that some bills are still under review.
Yes, Michigan is concerned about addiction to gambling and has the necessary resources to deal with the problem. In fact, a portion of the revenues collected from sports betting will go into supporting people affected both directly and indirectly by addiction to gambling.
There are several state-sponsored resources to help people struggling with addiction to gambling. They include a Get Help page on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website, which is available here. The alternative is making a toll-free call to the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline via the number 1-800-270-7117. Besides the state, other organizations that are ready to help include the Gamblers Anonymous online support group.
P.S. Gambling is fun, but it is also addictive, unfortunately. To this end, the State of Michigan cautions its residents and visitors not to overdo gambling of any kind. People already struggling with addiction are urged to contact these resources or talk to a friend!