Bettors in Michigan may eventually be able to wager on minor league sports.
Recently, the Michigan Gaming Control Board lifted its ban on subordinate developmental leagues. The change means the MGCB can accept approval requests for these types of leagues to be added to Michigan’s sports betting catalog.
Developmental leagues would include minor league baseball teams such as the Lansing Lugnuts, West Michigan Whitecaps and Great Lakes Loons.
Michigan is also home to a G-League team, with the Grand Rapid Drive currently serving as an affiliate of the NBA's Denver Nuggets.
Minor League Baseball Returns
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, minor league baseball was shut down for the entire 2020 season. As a result of the financial impact of the pandemic, minor league baseball was restructured for the first time in over a century. The changes forced 120 clubs to join the Professional Development League, with 30 Triple-A teams and the remaining Double-A, High-Class A and Low-Class A teams having started their seasons during the week of May 4.
The sports betting market has been slow to expand since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA to legal sports betting on a state-by-state basis. Only land-based casinos in New Jersey and Nevada took action on minor league games during the only full season that took place after the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The Borgata sportsbook in Atlantic City, New Jersey, took bets on Triple-A games, in addition to Mexican League contests, while the Las Vegas Superbook handled bets on the Triple-A West Las Vegas Aviators.
Sportsbooks Need to Decide if Minor Sports Are Worth It
Even if the MGCB approves betting on minor leagues, operators like DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and BetMGM Sportsbook will have to decide if it is financially worth it to invest their resources in these developmental leagues. They’ll have to gauge the general betting interest from their player base, in addition to implementing a data integrity system that currently does not exist in the minor leagues.
Several sports leagues and types of wagers are currently awaiting approval from the MGCB. The American Cornhole League, World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, NBA Draft Lottery, Golf Wagers, Olympics, Match IV Golf and the Northwoods Baseball League have been submitted by operators to allow betting on those respective sports.
Cricket, NCAA golf and various soccer bets were approved by the MGCB on June 3.