Eager to get the ball rolling, the state of Michigan officially began accepting sports betting wagers on Wednesday, March 4, at 1 p.m. Markedly, the Wolverine State now becomes the 16th US state to accept legal sports bets.
MGM Resorts’ MGM Grand Detroit along with Penn National’s Greektown both launched their sportsbooks on Wednesday. In late January, Penn National entered into a partnership with Barstool Sports which means Greektown’s sportsbook will bear the Barstool Sports brand. In addition, MotorCity in partnership with FanDuel Sportsbook plans to launch on Thursday.
The growing landscape of Michigan sports betting
Although just three commercial casinos stand in Michigan, there are 23 tribal casinos ready to toss their hat into the legalized sports betting arena.
For example, FOX Bet, PointsBet, and William Hill have all partnered up with tribal casinos. More specifically, Turtle Creek Casino and Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge will bear the William Hill branding at their sportsbooks.
No online sports betting until 2021
The tribal casinos provide a way in for online sports betting and online casino operators, but they will be biding their time until at least the start of 2021.
Currently, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is busy developing administrative, gaming rules, and licensing procedures.
“The rules should be final by early 2021, and online and mobile sports betting and gaming can begin next year after proper licenses are issued to the Michigan tribes and the Detroit commercial casinos and the firms that assist with these activities,” explained the regulator.
In addition, the MGCB is unable to use emergency rules to expedite the launch of online sports betting and casinos in the Wolverine State as advised by MI Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Just in time for March Madness
Back in December, it did not seem possible to launch sports betting in time for March Madness.
However, Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director explained:
“With just 11 weeks to prepare, MGCB staff worked hard to make the launch of onsite sports betting at the Detroit casinos possible by March Madness. The casinos and their suppliers helped us by their timely efforts to share information we needed to authorize the gaming.”
How MI sports betting affects Indiana
As to how MI legalizing sports betting affects Indiana’s gaming landscape, the long and short of it is possibly a little, but it is too soon to really tell. The casinos that accept legal sports wagers are located in Detroit which is a 2 hour and 15 minute drive to the Indiana state border.
Currently, Indiana enjoys a unique economic and geographic advantage because the Hoosier state has legalized and launched online gambling whereas its neighbors Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky lag behind. Illinois appears to be catching up and closing that gap by allowing applications for sportsbook operators in late 2019.
As such, Indiana currently attracts visitors, especially border residents from its neighboring states which only helps to boost its revenue from legalized online betting. However, what remains to be seen is how Indiana’s gaming revenue will be affected when Michigan and other neighboring states legalize online gambling.