Michigan online sports betting is coming soon—just not quite yet. Legislation signed in December 2019 by Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer legalized sports betting in the Wolverine State, and while its retail casino sites will begin offering sports betting this spring, a January update provided by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) implies that online wagering won’t be available until 2021.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the time frame, it seems like next year’s Super Bowl is a realistic target date. State regulators will move cautiously as they write and adopt rules for commercial and tribal casinos to obtain sports betting operating licenses. In the meantime, we’ll attempt to answer the key questions about Michigan online sports betting.
Anticipate Michigan Mobile Sports Betting Apps
As is the case in other states where online sports betting is legal, Michigan’s mobile sportsbook operators must partner with licensed casinos in order to offer action. Each casino is issued the ability to license a single skin, which is what allows popular sportsbook apps (think DraftKings, FanDuel) to enter a state’s online gaming space without owning a physical property.
In total, we can expect all three of Michigan’s commercial casinos and at least some of the tribal casinos to offer online sports betting via self-branded apps or through such licensing partnerships.
It’s still early in the process, but we’re beginning to see some partnerships take shape.
Barstool Sportsbook is anticipated to launch in August of 2020. Penn National Gaming, Barstool’s new minority stakes holder, has casino licenses in Michigan and will almost certainly bring the Barstool betting brand to the Wolverine State. It will undoubtedly have a huge audience here since the site’s founder, Dave Portnoy, attended Michigan and is a huge Wolverine fan… though he left the 2018 NCAA National Championship game forlorn after Villanova wiped the floor with them.
PointsBet, which has been a popular online sportsbook in New Jersey, teamed with Lac Vieux Desert Public Enterprise and Finance Commission in early January, 2020 on a 20-year agreement that will help it enter Michigan’s online sports betting scene. The two sides will now work together to bring the PointsBet sports betting brand to both the retail sportsbook located in northwest Michigan, and an app to the Michigan residents when mobile wagering launches.
The Australian company moved its headquarters to New Jersey back in 2018 and immediately began making their presence known in the market via marketing partnerships with NBA legend Allen Iverson and headline-grabbing Karma Committee payouts. Most recently, PointsBet refunded all AL futures and World Series bets on the New York Yankees in light of the highly-publicized Astros cheating scandal.
A distinguishing element of the app is the “PointsBetting” feature– a multiplier-based betting option that allows you to win a multiple of your wager. In short, it adds an extra element of excitement to smaller bets.
The Stars Group, operators of the rapidly growing FOX Bet app, hooked on with Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority in early January. Pending regulatory approval, the pact will allow The Stars Group a skin to operate FOX Bet via the Odawa Casino located in Petoskey, MI. FOX Bet has been an extremely popular app since its launch in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
FOX Bet excels by branding the app with FOX Sports talent, along with featuring excellent daily promos and bet boosts. This, in addition to a $20 sign-up bonus and deposit match.
The betMGM app isn’t an official go in Michigan quite yet, but given the prominence of MGM Grand in Detroit, some industry experts expect the casino to launch a self-branded app. The betMGM app is not as popular in New Jersey as mobile-first brands such as DraftKings, FOX Bet, and FanDuel, but perhaps the 20-year influence of the commercial casino could drive its popularity in Michigan.
How To Bet on Sports in Michigan
Sports betting is legal in Michigan and is expected to first be available beginning this spring at the state’s physical sportsbooks. Online and mobile sports betting is not expected to be ready for operation until early 2021. When mobile betting does go live, prospective bettors will have to be be at least 21 years of age and physically located within the state’s limits to place a bet.
While Michigan’s online and mobile wagering regulations are in the process of being drafted, we can look to other states’ functionality and operations for insight into what to expect. Typically, such apps offer the following options for deposit:
- online baking
- credit or debit card
- prepaid cards
- Pay with Cash
- Cash at Cage
- wire transfer
In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, there were some early complications with unexpected card declines, but this has become much less frequent in recent months. Moreover, we’ve noticed smooth deposits and withdraws with PayPal accounts in these states.
Types of Bets
Michigan is expected to offer a wide range of wagering options, including futures, spreads, moneylines, totals, parlays, teasers, in-game/live, and prop betting.
Michigan sports betting will offer action on all major sporting events, several national and international professional leagues, and other sanctioned events. Action will also be offered on college football and basketball. However, it is currently unclear how the state will handle increasingly popular e-sports betting. States like Indiana prohibit wagers on e-sports, while others, like New Jersey, permit it.
Michigan Sports Betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Michigan?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Michigan. HB 4916 (the Lawful Sports Betting Act), a December 2019 legislation signed by governor Gretchen Whitmer, formally legalized sports wagering within the state's limits.
When will Michigan sports betting go live?
The state's retail casinos are expected to begin taking action in 2019--there has been speculation that its arrival could be in time for March Madness--while online and mobile wagering is expected to go live in early 2021.
Where can I bet on sports in Michigan?
Sports betting will be permitted in Michigan's three commercial casinos and a currently undisclosed amount of its 23 Native American casinos. All three of the state's commercial casinos (MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Greektown Casino) are located in Detroit.
Do I have to be in Michigan to bet?
Yes. Initially, Michigan sports bettors will need to be present in the state's retail casinos to place wagers. When online and mobile wagering goes live, bettors will need to be within the state's limits. However, bettors can currently place wagers in other states where online sports betting is legal.
Why isn't mobile sports betting available yet?
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) announced in late-January that anticipates it will take approximately one year to fully develop rules and regulations for online casino and online sports betting operations. Mary Kay Bean, a spokesperson for the MGCB, estimates an early 2021 launch based on the time needed to develop similar rules in other states.
What types of bets can I make in Michigan?
All popular sports wagering bets will be available. Spread, moneyline, parlay, teaser, prop, and in-game, among others, will be available.
Will the official data and statistics of pro leagues be used in Michigan?
Yes. After lobbyists from various major sports leagues spent nearly $200,000, Michigan (along with Illinois and Tennessee) will use the data and stats of professional leagues to grade and settle bets. In short, while this mandate creates an extra assurance of accuracy in scoring bets, long-term concerns remain over who will foot the bill for the added expense of such data. Of the 20 states that have legalized sports betting, only three have an official league data requirement.
What are Michigan sports betting tax rates?
The tax rate has been set at 8.4%, which is essentially in line with New Jersey's 8.5% rate. However, Detroit's three commercial casinos will pay an additional 1.25% city tax. The agreement also allows for free-bet and promotional money allotted to customers to be deducted from gross receipts applicable to the tax rate. Meanwhile, the tax on internet poker and casino games will range between 20-28%.
Michigan Sports Betting Locations
All three of Detroit’s casinos will offer sports betting. Each location is in the mold of a traditional Las Vegas-style luxury casino, offering a wide-range of gaming, dining, and entertainment options. While it is expected that at least some of the state’s 23 tribal casinos will offer sports wagering, the exact number is still unknown. Here is a more detailed look at all three of Michigan’s commercial casinos.
MGM Grand Detroit
1777 3rd Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
Built in 1999, MGM Grand Detroit is a 400-room casino hotel located just within walking distance of Ford Field and Comerica Park. MGM Grand Detroit is well positioned when legal sports betting finally gets the green light after building The Moneyline Sports Lounge. The physical sportsbook, located across from TAP restaurant near the casino’s entrance, is open to those 21+ and features a 60-foot wide screen capable of showing both single or multiple sporting events.
Greektown Casino Hotel
555 E Lafayette St.
Detroit, MI 48226
Operated by Penn National Gaming since its May 2019 acquisition of the property, Greektown Casino Hotel is located just a short walk away from both Comerica Park and Ford Field and will most certainly be a key player in legal Michigan online sports betting. Penn National Gaming has already partnered into multi-decade agreements with various online gaming operators, including DraftKings Sportsbook, to bring sports betting to its physical properties spanning multiple states. Renovated in 2018, the nearly 20-year-old Greektown Casino features a 100,000 square foot gaming floor that is heavy with slot and table game options.
2901 Grand River Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
Motorcity Casino, which opened in December 1999, is Detroit’s only locally-owned and operated casino, offering luxury hotel accommodations, live entertainment, a casino, and an array of dining options. The site features a 100,000 square-foot casino with nearly 3,000 slot machines and five dozen table games.