Bay Mills, State Reach Settlement in Decade-Long Gaming Issue

Bay Mills, State Reach Settlement in Decade-Long Gaming Issue
By Bryce Derouin

After a decade-long court battle over tribal gaming on a parcel of land in Vanderbilt, Bay Mills Indian Community has reached an agreement with the state of Michigan. With the new deal, the state and the tribe will dismiss their lawsuits against each other, and the tribe will not attempt to operate a gaming facility on the parcel for a minimum of five years.

Both the tribe and the state sued each other over whether Bay Mills could host gaming on the parcel of land. The lawsuits began in 2010 and the disagreement reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016. Bay Mills won a ruling that stated Indian tribes are granted sovereign immunity from lawsuits. Once the case was eventually sent back to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, the tribe and the state remained at odds until each side agreed to dismiss it on Thursday.

“BMIC acquired the parcel of land in Vanderbilt under the Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, which allows the tribe to use certain trust funds to acquire additional tribal lands,” Bay Mills officials said in a media release. “Bay Mills’ goal in developing a gaming facility on the Vanderbilt parcel was to provide new economic opportunities for the tribe, its citizens and partner communities.”

Bay Mills preparing for online launch with DraftKings

Bay Mills Resorts and Casino is preparing for the online launch of DraftKings’ mobile sportsbook and Michigan online casino. DraftKings gained access to the online Michigan market through its partnership with Bay Mills, allowing DraftKings to provide a Michigan sportsbook and iGaming platform to Michigan’s citizens.

The partnership was announced on June 4, 2020, and includes a DraftKings Sportsbook inside the Bay Mills Casino.

“We are excited about our new partnership with DraftKings,” said Bryan Newland, tribal chairman for the Bay Mills Indian Community, in a media release. “Expanding on what entertainment options we can offer at Michigan’s longest operating gaming facility is always our goal. Our new on-site DraftKings Sportsbook will be one more great reason for Michiganders to vacation with us in the Upper Peninsula.”

Michigan’s online launch is on hold while the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) awaits a response on its waiver request. The MGCB requested a waiver for the required 15 session days the final gaming rules and regulations need to be in front of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR).

Once the JCAR approves the rules, the MGCB can prepare the certificate of adoption before filing it with the Office of the Great Seal.

If a waiver is not granted, Michigan’s online gaming and mobile sports betting launch could possibly be delayed until February. There are just 11 session days scheduled for January 2021, which would mean gaming regulators might not get the rules back until February.



With a decade in the media and gambling space in Michigan, I aim to bring you the latest news and developments in Michigan online casino and sports betting.

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