Michigan is on the fast track to becoming a powerhouse in online gambling.
Comprehensive gambling expansion has passed both houses of the legislature and needs only Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature to become law.
As a result, Michiganders will soon have an entire spectrum of gaming at their fingertips. The opportunities will include sports betting, casino gambling and online poker.
Legalization is only the first step, of course. Both potential operators and state regulators will have a hefty task ahead of them.
However, based upon the text of the bill and other bits of information, we can already get a sense of how things will proceed in Michigan.
Read on for all the latest information about Michigan online gambling.
Yes. After some haggling over the language of the bill, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4311, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, into law.
The bill opens the door for almost every type of online gambling. Michigan’s casino properties, which include 23 tribal casinos and three commercial locations, are now eligible to apply for licensing to offer online casino sites.
The tax proceeds from the new industry will primarily go to support education, a common target for gambling in many states. Furthermore, Michigan’s online casinos will also provide for medical assistance to the state’s first responders.
Of course, legal online gambling and launched online gambling are two different things. The timeframe for the debut of Michigan’s first online gambling sites remains a question, as both regulators and operators have to work out details surrounding rules and infrastructure.
However, according to statements by public officials, we can make a few guesses about when Michigan residents will finally get to play on their phones.
|#||Brand||License holder||Tech partner||Projected launch|
|1.||BetMGM Casino||MGM Grand Detroit||GVC||November 2020|
|2.||BetRivers Casino||Little River Band of the Ottawa Indians||N/A||When permitted|
|3.||DraftKings Casino||Bay Mills Indian Community||N/A||Late 2020|
|4.||FanDuel Casino||MotorCity Casino||Scientific Games||Late 2020|
|5.||PokerStars Casino||Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians||N/A||Late 2020|
|6.||Golden Nugget||Keweenaw Bay Indian Community||Scientific Games||Early 2021|
|7.||Parx Casino||Gun Lake Tribe||N/A||Late 2020|
|8.||TBD||Hannahville Indian Community||SBTech||Late 2020|
|9.||TBD||Greektown Casino||Kambi||Late 2020|
|10.||TBD||Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians||N/A||Late 2020|
|11.||TBD/FireKeepers Casino||Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Indians||Scientific Games||Late 2020|
|12.||TBD/Four Winds Casino||Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians||Kambi||Late 2020|
|13.||TBD/Kewadin||Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians||GAN||Late 2020|
|14.||TBD/Soaring Eagle Casino||Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe||N/A||Late 2020|
|15.||William Hill||Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians||N/A||When permitted|
Michigan sports betting launch dates: Sports betting kicks off at Greektown Casino and MGM Grand on March 11, at 1 p.m. just in time for March Madness.
As for online sports betting, a communications specialist with the Michigan Gaming Control Board noted that the board expects the first betting apps to go live in 2021 as that is the time it should take for the MGCB to develop rules for online gaming.
Such a timeline seemingly goes against the norm. Based on how things have proceeded in other states, the launch of online sports betting usually comes between one and three months after retail goes live. Based on this formula, if retail betting launched in March 2020, online wagering would go live in June.
Michigan online casino launch dates: The launch of online casinos in Michigan is harder to predict. Launches in other states have not followed a typical timeframe, with some states (New Jersey) needing only a few months from legalization to opening day.
In noting that online sports betting might not launch until next year, the MGCB communications specialist also said online casinos would follow the same timeline.
Michigan online poker launch dates: Online poker is a trickier proposition for a couple of reasons. For one thing, online poker is likely going to require Michigan to join in the multi-state compact in order to remain viable.
Because poker relies so much more on skilled players, there is a barrier to entry for casual players unlike other types of gambling. Without the opportunity to introduce new blood into the player pool from multiple locations, poker might not grow very well.
Poker is also not as profitable a proposition for operators or lawmakers as the other types of gambling. Though the game has a devoted following, there is some understandable feeling that the bottom line might be better served by introducing more slot titles or live dealer games.
To be fair, Pennsylvania’s addition to the market has been a shot in the arm for online poker’s popularity. However, online poker is unlikely to be a top priority in Michigan.
The push is likely to get the other types of gambling off the ground first. So, here’s our best guess:
Daily fantasy sports launch dates: Last, but not least, House Bill 4311 made daily fantasy sports (DFS) play completely legal in the state. However, the authorization only legalized what is already occurring on a daily basis in Michigan.
Every top DFS operator, including DraftKings and FanDuel, is already active in the state. So, there’s no launch date to estimate – DFS is already in Michigan.
Online casinos in Michigan are going to be an outgrowth of the state’s land-based casinos. Each property will gain the ability to debut its online casino brand, provided it achieves licensure.
In a wrinkle uncommon throughout the rest of the states with online gambling, Michigan’s law specifically extends to its tribal casino properties.
So far, other states have only seemed to focus on the commercial properties, and have either relied upon their existing compacts or left the tribal issue for later negotiation.
However, the vast majority of Michigan’s 26 casinos are tribal properties. So, it makes sense that the state is not merely legalizing online gambling for the three commercial casinos.
The language of the bill prevents either type of casino explicitly from gaining an advantage over the other. No tribal casino can offer iGaming if there aren’t any licensed commercial casinos and vice versa.
So, although it is uncertain which online casinos in Michigan will debut first, it is unlikely that any Michigan casino will gain a significant head start over the other. It may also delay the launch, since one group may have to wait for the other to begin.
While you wait for the MI online casinos to open, you can give Chumba Casino a try. Chumba Casino operates using a unique sweepstakes model, which allows the site to be available throughout the US.
Once the sites go live, however, the process for getting online with them will be virtually identical. Typically, both Apple and Android users will have their dedicated apps.
Those with Apple phones should be able to download the iPhone casino app without much change from their standard procedures. Simply search for the desired app in the Apple App Store and press the link to download.
Take care to choose the app appropriate to Michigan itself. Some states require different versions of the app, so make sure that the app description specifically mentions Michigan.
Android users will have to navigate Google’s continuing ban on gambling apps in the Google Play Store. So, they will have to proceed through their phones’ browsers to the casino’s browser version.
From there, the site should automatically prompt the phone to download and install a file. Make sure to set the phone to accept installations from other sources before proceeding with this step.
Finally, every person will be able to access the browser version of the casino through their chosen browser. Whether using Chrome, Safari or some other type of browsing program, the site should recognize the type of interface and automatically optimizes to fit the screen best.
The biggest prize for the people of Michigan may be the ability to place bets on sports. Part of the bill that sits on Gov. Whitmer’s desk would legalize both retail and online sports betting in Michigan.
The language of the bill explicitly grants licensees the opportunity to offer any type of betting in live casinos online. So, necessarily, Michigan casinos will be able to open land-based sportsbooks, too.
As is the case with online casinos and online poker, the casinos will be able to offer a single brand of Michigan online sports betting for players. While this provision limits the expansion a bit (some states allow multiple skins), the sheer number of casinos in the state means that Michiganders are likely to have roughly 20 online sportsbooks from which to choose.
Greektown Casino takes wagers at its Sportsbook at Greektown powered by Kambi. Over on the MGM side of things, customers can place bets at the MoneyLine Sports Lounge. Motor City Casino has a partnership with FanDuel which will bring a FanDuel Sportsbook to Detroit.
Michigan is home to a robust selection of online lottery games. There are a whopping 90 games available for purchase at the Michigan online lottery.
The primary type of game available is instant scratchers. These games play like their retail version, only without the need for a coin and the resulting mess.
There are also opportunities to purchase tickets for draw games. These games, which often carry jackpots that extend into the millions of dollars, include Mega Millions, Powerball and the state lottery, Lotto 47.
Michigan’s online lottery games are available both through web browsers and a dedicated mobile app. Apple players can download the iOS app from the Apple App Store, while Android players can get the app file directly from the Michigan Lottery website.
Until recently, online poker has been something of an afterthought for online gaming in the US. The lack of widespread opportunities to play has left the few operators in the space fighting for precious market share.
However, since Pennsylvania launched its version of online poker, the card game has been on the upswing. The addition of Michigan to the fold will only serve to strengthen the resurgence.
Of course, it’s too early to tell which online poker operators will make it into the Wolverine State. The partnerships that are sure to develop in the coming months should be instructive for figuring out what brands are on the way.
Michigan’s population should draw plenty of interest from the big players, however. So, don’t despair that Michigan poker players will go overlooked.
In the meantime, Michiganders can take a look at Global Poker. Like its sister site, Chumba Casino, Global Poker uses a sweepstakes model that allows it to offer players real-money action throughout the US.
Online poker is a bit of a different animal from the live version. There are quirks, both obvious and subtle, that make playing online its variant of the game.
First and foremost, the most common online game is No-Limit Texas Hold’em. Every single online poker room will have numerous options for NLHE at every price level.
Other games that might pop up, depending on the size of the site, include Pot-Limit Omaha and Razz. Some sites, like PokerStars, famously offer a wide selection of variants, including ones the operator designed itself.
The first thing that pops out is that online poker moves at a much faster pace than live poker; the lack of shuffling means that playing more than 100 hands in an hour is quite common.
With that speed comes an increased potential for variation in profit and loss. Things can turn south far more quickly at an online table.
Online poker players tend to be a bit more skilled than the average live player. The level of play at lower levels is much higher than at comparable live levels, so tread cautiously.
However, there is no denying that online poker is far more convenient than its real-world cousin. The ability to play one or two hands during a five-minute break should be a boon to all Michiganders with poker aspirations.
There once were several horse racetracks in Michigan. Now, it seems like the industry is in a tailspin, with seven tracks closing and only one left open.
Fans of wagering on horse racing have not fared much better on the internet, either. Online horse betting has not been permitted in the Wolverine State.
However, that may be changing in the near future — at least, in part. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is now considering a bill that would allow for wagering on historical horse races.
These bets would occur through third-party licensees. The wagers could occur electronically, thus giving Michigan a window in online horse betting.
While this development would not mean that Michiganders could sign up for accounts at betting sites like TVG, it would mean that handicapping fans might not have to travel to their nearest track to bet on horses.
The modern sportsbook can offer action on most sports. Nearly every game in every major sports league will have several options for wagering.
So, fans of betting on the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL will all have their pick of whichever game or team they like.
There will also be opportunities to wager on college athletics.
Fans of the University of Michigan and Michigan State won’t have trouble putting money on the line with their teams, which will add extra sweetness every time the Wolverines or Spartans prevail.
Finally, international or more esoteric sporting events will likely show up in Michigan’s online sportsbooks, too.
Placing bets on the Olympics, cricket, soccer, rugby or Australian-rules football will all be possible, even if the game is taking place on a different continent.
Michigan residents are blessed to have a wide selection of options for live gaming. No matter where a Michigander lives, they should be near a facility that can offer games of chance.
There are 26 casinos in Michigan that offer gaming to visitors and residents. Most of these are tribal properties, although there are three commercial casinos in the Detroit metroplex:
|Name||Address||Hours of operation||Slot Machines||Table Games|
|Bay Mills Resort & Casino||11386 W Lakeshore Dr, Brimley, MI 49715||24 hours||900||14|
|Dancing Eagles Resort||N5384 US-45, Watersmeet, MI 49969||N/A||100+||N/A|
|FireKeepers Casino Hotel||11177 East Michigan Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49014||24 hours||2900||78|
|Four Winds Casino||58700 M-51, Dowagiac, MI 49047||24 hours||400+||6+|
|Four Winds Casino||68600 Red Arrow Hwy, Hartford, MI 49057||24 hours||500||8|
|Four Winds Casino||11111 Wilson Rd, New Buffalo, MI 49117||24 hours||2,600+||49|
|Greektown Casino Hotel||555 E Lafayette St, Detroit, MI 48226||24 hours||3,000+||85|
|Gun Lake Casino||1123 129th Ave,|
Wayland, MI 49348
|Island Resort & Casino||W399 Hwy US 2- 41,|
Harris, MI 49845
|Kewadin Casino||N 3 Mile Rd, Hessel, MI 49745||9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.||131||3|
|Kewadin Casino||N7761 Candy Cane Ln, Christmas, MI 49862||9:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.||245||6|
|Kewadin Casino||5630 W, US-2, Manistique, MI 49854||9:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.||270||N/A|
|Kewadin Casino, Hotel and Convention Center||2186 Shunk Road,|
Sault Sainte Marie, MI 49783
|Kewadin Shores Casino & Hotel||3015 Mackinac Trail,|
Saint Ignace, MI 49781
|Kings Club Casino||12140 W. Lakeshore Drive,|
Brimley, MI 49715
|10:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.||280||N/A|
|Northern Waters Casino Resort||5384 Highway US 45 North, PO Box 129,|
Watersmeet, MI 49969
|Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge||2521 N West Bayshore Drive,|
Suttons Bay, MI 49682
|8:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.||350||7|
|Little River Casino Resort||2700 Orchard Hwy, U.S. 31 and M-22,|
Manistee, MI 49660
|MGM Grand||1777 Third Street,|
Detroit, MI 48226
|MotorCity Casino Hotel||2901 Grand River Avenue,|
Detroit, MI 48201
|Odawa Casino||1760 Lears Road,|
Petoskey, MI 49770
|Ojibwa Casino||105 Acre Trail,|
Marquette, MI 49855
|Ojibwa Casino||16449 Michigan Avenue, M-38,|
Baraga, MI 49908
|Saganing Eagles Landing Casino||2690 Worth Road,|
Standish, MI 48658
|Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort||6800 Soaring Eagle Boulevard,|
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
|Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel||7741 M-72 E.,|
Williamsburg, MI 49690
Michigan has a unique approach to providing poker action. Along with the poker rooms housed in some of its casinos, the state also allows licensed charitable organizations to hold poker tournaments and cash games throughout the state.
As a result, there are opportunities to play poker daily. First and foremost, the following casinos have full-service poker rooms available:
|Name||# of tables||Cash Games||Tournaments||Details|
|Bay Mills Resort & Casino||14||Yes||Yes||Texas Hold’Em Re Buy Tournament Tuesdays at 6 pm with $20 Buy-In
Bounty Tournament Fridays at 7:00 pm with $45 Buy-In.
|FireKeepers Casino Hotel||26||Yes||Yes||NLH ($1/$2, $2/$5 and $5/$10)
Limit Hold'em ($4/$8, $5/$10 and $10/$20)
O8 ($4/$8 and $10/$20)
7-Card Stud & Hi/Lo ($2 – $10 Spread Limit)
|Greektown Casino Hotel||12||Yes||Yes||Wednesday $70 Senior NLHE $55 Buy-In + $10 entry
Saturday NLH $50 Buy-in + $10 entry w' optional $10 bounty
Sunday NLH $50 Buy-In + $10 entry
|Gun Lake Casino||47|
|Kewadin Casino, Hotel and Convention Center||16|
|MotorCity Casino Hotel||59|
|Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort||60|
In addition to these locations, nearly 30 charity poker rooms are located throughout the state. Some of these are dedicated cardrooms; others are more accurately described as restaurants with poker.
Horse tracks in Michigan have suffered terribly in the last few years. Horse racing at its peak, there were eight active tracks in the state. Now, there is but one.
The last remaining holdout is Northville Downs. Though there has been a discussion of this facility closing, the Northville-area track continues to offer live racing to visitors.
Michigan is also not a state that allows inhabitants to bet horse races online. However, there is a chance that a bill on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk could allow wagering on historical races.
It’s not much, but it is a glimmer of hope for those in Michigan who enjoy handicapping and betting the ponies.
In addition to its charity-based poker rooms, Michigan allows various charitable organizations to apply for licenses to run charitable bingo games.
These organizations tend to be VFWs or other community facilities that have ample seating space and technology. There are hundreds of charity bingo games that take place in Michigan each week.
The Michigan Lottery’s Charitable Gaming section tracks all the locations of licensees in a searchable database, so those who are interested need only visit this site to find the game nearest them. It seems that every Michigan town of any size has at least one place to try and match the numbers.
Problem gambling affects a portion of the gaming public, regardless of the location. A percentage of the population finds themselves simply unable to stop gambling, even when they wish to do so.
For that reason, Michigan maintains a few resources to aid sufferers of problem gambling. The most notable of these options is a 24-hour, toll-free helpline.
This helpline, at 1-800-270-7117, is staffed around the clock by trained counselors. Problem gamblers or their family members can call this number to begin the treatment process, which includes initial consultations with counselors and details about possible financial assistance.
In addition, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services funds the Health Management Systems of America Gambling Treatment Program, which provides treatment services across the state. The program is available to assist individuals, groups and their families.
Finally, Michigan’s Gaming Control Board maintains a Disassociated Persons List to allow people to self-exclude from the three commercial casinos in Detroit. While this response is limited to these few properties only, it can be a vital step in beginning the journey to a problem gambling-free life.
At this point, only the state lottery has online games available for Michigan residents and visitors. However, online casino games, sports betting and poker are all expected to become legal in the first part of 2020.
After legalization, there will be a bit of a delay before any sites begin to show up in Michigan. Not only must regulators get their acts together, but operators must both receive the appropriate licensing and build out their sites to state specifications.
Michigan’s law is also written in such a way as to require that both the state’s tribal and commercial casinos cannot open online sites until both groups are ready to do so. So, depending on how things go, there could be an extra delay beyond the expected.
Based on all these factors, a launch in the latter half of 2020 seems reasonable. The top priority is likely to be sports betting, which operators will want to have underway by the time the 2020 NFL season begins.
Anyone inside the state lines and over the age of 21 will be able to play on Michigan online gambling sites.
Yes. Both state and federal law prohibits play from out of state.
As a function of state law and regulations, Michigan’s online sites must maintain geolocation software to verify the locations of every player on-site. These software programs are quite adept at using GPS and other data to pinpoint where a person’s device is.
The technology will usually err on the side of caution in their task, too. In other words, it’s far more likely that they would falsely exclude someone inside the border than to allow someone just on the other side to play.
Players will be required to verify their locations before any games will be available. So, there should be no way to cheat the system.
Most online sites will allow players both to register for an account and deposit money into that account. For those planning a visit to Michigan, it might be worthwhile to be ready to go before entering the state.