Sports betting in Michigan became legal when a new gambling bill was signed into law on December 20, 2019. Michigan is now estimated to become one of the most robust online gambling and sports betting markets in the U.S, although sports betting is still in its initial stages.
While a few retail sportsbooks in Detroit have opened many more tribal-owned casinos will start offering sports betting in the near future.
How Did Michigan Legalize Sports Betting?
Michigan sports betting and overall gambling expansion has been an issue that House Rep. Brandt Iden had been working towards for quite some time.
Having to balance concerns between sports gambling companies, potential sportsbook operators, state legislators, and multiple governors all played factors into bills finally being passed.
In January of 2017, Michigan Rep. Robert Kosowski introduced MI H 4060 to the Michigan House. It was a stand-alone bill that would’ve legalized sports betting in Michigan. It was then heard in the House Regulatory Reform Committee in which Rep. Brandt Iden was the chair of. The bill ultimately did not gain traction after that hearing.
Later on, in September of 2017, Iden introduced MI HB 4926. That bill aimed to legalize online casino gaming in the state. It wasn’t until December of that year that a single line was written into the bill that would have given online casinos the authority to offer sports betting. That bill was then carried over to the following year.
MI HB 4926 didn’t see any action taken on it in the legislature until June 12, 2018. The bill made it out of the House that same month, but it wasn’t until the final days of December that it passed through both legislative chambers.
It was presented to former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on the final days of that year’s session and on December 31, 2018, he ultimately vetoed the package of online gaming bills.
In March of 2019, Rep. Brandt Iden introduced MI HB 4311. The bill originally excluded language that had to do with sports betting but kept provisions for online casino gaming.
Eventually, in September of 2019, Iden introduced MI HB 4916 which was a stand-alone sports betting bill. Both pieces of legislation introduced that year were combined into a package of gambling expansion bills. The bills were seen as favorable by industry stakeholders, but concerns from current Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer stalled the momentum of them.
History ultimately repeated itself and the package of bills was passed on the final day of the 2019 legislative session. Although, this time the governor signed off and approved each of those bills.
In March of 2020, retail sportsbooks in Michigan launched.
The first to market was the casino sportsbooks in Detroit. However, enthusiasm and access to those sportsbooks were short-lived. Within less than a week, all Michigan sportsbooks were forced to close down due to COVID-19 precautions. These venues are slowly starting to reopen at minimal capacity and soon enough they will see a robust line of sports bettors that lawmakers had originally imagined.
The first mobile sports betting apps in Michigan launched in January of 2021. A total of 10 of them launched on the same day before the AFC and NFC Championships in the NFL Playoffs. More online sportsbooks are slated to launch so Michigan is expecting a robust online market.
Online Sports Betting Sites In Michigan
There are about a dozen active online sportsbooks in Michigan. A total of 10 of them launched at once in January of 2021 and other sportsbooks have hopped along since. The current list is as follows:
- DraftKings (Bay Mills Indian Community)
- FanDuel (MotorCity Casino)
- PointsBet (Lac Vieux Desert Band)
- BetMGM (MGM Grand Detroit)
- BetRivers (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians)
- Penn Sports Interactive/Barstool Sportsbook (Greektown Casino)
- William Hill (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians)
- TwinSpires (Hannahville Indian Community)
- Golden Nugget (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community)
- WynnBet (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)
While all of these sites are partnered with land-based locations, you don’t have to go to those places to sign up. You may, however, want to visit there to pick up any winnings.
Which Sportsbooks are available in Michigan?
The current list of Michigan sportsbooks are as follows:
- FanDuel Sportsbook at Motor City Casino
- BetMGM Sports Lounge at MGM Grand Detroit
- The Sportsbook at Greektown Casino Hotel
- Four Winds Sportsbook at Four Winds Casino Dowagiac
- Four Winds Sportsbook at Four Winds Hartford
- Four Winds Sportsbook at Four Winds Casino Resort New Buffalo
- Dacey’s Sportsbook at FireKeepers casino
- Onyx Sports Book by William Hill at Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel
- BetAmerica Sportsbook at Island Resort and Casino
- Stage 131 Sportsbook at Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, MI
PointsBet signed a 20-year deal with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. The deal allows PointsBet to operate retail sportsbooks within the tribe’s casinos, as well as offer a mobile sports betting app.
On the same day, The Stars Group also signed a deal with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority. The deal allows them to offer online poker, casino games, and sports betting in Michigan. The Stars Group will launch Fox Bet as their online sports wagering platform.
The most recent partnership came between DraftKings and Bay Mills Resort and Casino. This allows DraftKings to operate a statewide mobile betting app.
How are Michigan sports betting laws different compared to those in other states?
The experience of other states and other countries has informed the new Michigan laws. The combined package of low license fees, low taxes, and wide game selection creates a recipe for success.
- Online poker and casino games, as well as retail and online sports betting in Michigan, are legal.
- Gambling taxes will be 8.4 percent of gross gaming revenues—comparable with Nevada’s 6.75 percent
- Application fees are $50,000, license fees are $100,000 and annual renewal fees are $50,000.
- State-licensed casinos will pay an additional 1.25 percent tax to help Detroit recover from its bankruptcy. Tribal casinos are exempt from the additional tax.
Casinos in Pennsylvania have to pay up to $12 million for an interactive gaming license and another $10 million for a live and online sports betting license. On top of these fees, gaming taxes are extremely high with 54 percent to pay on online slots and 36 percent on sports betting.
Michigan has set its rates and fees at a level that will attract players back from the black market and encourage new players to opt for legal providers.
What are the gambling restriction rules?
Anyone over the age of 21 can gamble at live and online properties subject only to the provision that they must be within state borders.
Michigan sports betting operators are limited to offering only one online sports wagering skin. But, there are a total of 26 casinos in Michigan which means there is plenty of opportunity for online operators to hit the market.
In-person registration for the use of mobile sports betting apps in Michigan is not required to you will be able to sign up and bet from anywhere in the state.
Although, the new laws do not necessarily leave open the option for the state to enter into an interstate compact with other gaming states. This would have been particularly useful in enabling betting exchanges.
Unlike the gambling packages in 2018, the 2019 versions did not explicitly mention provisions for this. Those rules may change in the future since there is a bill in the state legislature aiming to amend it, but for now, online gambling in Michigan is going to be a lone wolf.
Currently, Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada form one interstate compact where players may be pooled for online poker. If Michigan then joins, the network will serve states with a total population of 36 million—more than 10 percent of the US population.
Michigan Sports Betting FAQs
Can I bet on the Michigan Wolverines or the Michigan State Spartans in MI?
Yes, collegiate sports betting in Michigan is legal and the law allows residents to bet on the state’s home teams. Traditional bet types and even player props on MI athletes are all on the table in Michigan.
When will Michigan sportsbooks launch?
The first set of sportsbooks in Michigan launched in March of 2020. Online sportsbooks in MI launched in January of 2021 and more are continuing to pop up.
Are online sports betting apps in Michigan Legal?
Yes, sports betting apps in Michigan are legal. Big names like DraftKings, PointsBet, and William Hill already entered the market with more confirmed businesses on the way.
Who is in charge of Michigan sports betting?
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is the regulatory agency that oversees sports betting operations in the state. They accept applications and award sports betting licenses to casinos.