While the timing for Michigan’s introduction of legal sports betting wasn’t ideal, the good news is that the best is yet to come. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed sweeping gambling expansion legislation in December 2019, which included legalization of online and onsite sports betting. The Michigan Gaming Control Board estimated it would take a year to formally adopt rules and regulation for online sports betting and said the process is moving along. Online sports betting in Michigan launched on Jan. 22, 2021 with 10 online sportsbooks available to bettors.
Retail sports wagering in Michigan began on March 11, 2020, but five days later the state’s three commercial casinos in Detroit were ordered to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The three casinos did not reopen until the first week of August at 155 capacity. Several of the state’s tribal casinos — not bound by the governor’s orders — reopened sooner and added retail sportsbooks.
Yes. Online sports betting was legalized in December 2019 and launched in January 2021 after the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) formulated online sports gambling rules and regulations and accepted license applications. Online sports bettors in Michigan have plenty of options with more on the way. The state allows each of its three commercial casinos and 12 Native American tribal casino owners to partner with one online sports betting operator – meaning as many as 15 online sportsbooks could be available.
MGM Grand Detroit
Michigan is home to 23 licensed tribal casinos, owned by 12 Native American tribes. As of August 2020, several offer in-person, onsite sports betting and/or have announced partnerships for online sports wagering.
Here are the tribal casinos with retail sportsbooks launched:
Four Winds Casino
Little River Casino Resort
These tribal casinos will offer legal sports betting in onsite sportsbooks soon:
Bay Mills Resort & Casino
Gun Lake Casino
Island Resort & Casino
Northern Waters Casino
Soaring Eagles Casino & Resort
Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel
Mobile betting is the present and future of sports betting. Where legal, about 80% of sports wagers made in the U.S. are placed on mobile devices or online. Gambling and technology executives expect that number to climb as high as 90% within the next decade.
Mobile betting apps provide a sports bettor with an unmatched level of convenience, allowing them to place wagers 24/7 from anywhere inside their state. The apps also offer in-game betting options, which are not available at retail sportsbooks.
More than a dozen online sports betting operators plan to do business in Michigan. Each is expected to launch online apps, which are free to download and available for use on Android and iOS devices. All wagers on the mobile apps must be placed within Michigan state lines. Geofencing technology tracks each bettor’s location.
Michigan sportsbooks have no restrictions on the pro and college sports available for wagering. That means bettors can place wagers on football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, tennis, soccer, motorsports, mixed martial arts, boxing, international sports and more, as well as fantasy sports.
Wagering is permitted on games involving Michigan-based college teams, such as the University of Michigan and Michigan State, which is great news both for college football fans and for when March Madness rolls around.
State law prohibits wagering on any sporting events involving minors, such as high school sports.
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All of the most popular betting options are available at Michigan sportsbooks, including:
Moneyline bets: A wager on a team to win a game with no point spread. Moneyline odds are set by the sportsbook. For example, the Detroit Red Wings are -130 to beat the Chicago Blackhawks, who are +110. That means a bettor must wager $130 to win $100 on the favored Red Wings, or $100 to win $110 on the underdog Blackhawks.
Spread bets: Teams are favored to win by a certain number of points or goals and bettors choose the favorite or underdog with their respective odds. If the Detroit Pistons are a 3 1/2-point favorite over the New York Knicks, the Pistons must win by more than 4 points or more to cover the spread.
Parlay bets: A parlay is a single wager on two games or more. All games must win for the parlay to cash. The more teams in the parlay, the higher the odds and payoff.
Teaser Bets: Wagers that allow bettors to adjust the point spread in a game for reduced payoff odds. Teaser bets are often made in a parlay format. Let’s say the Detroit Lions are a 4-point favorite over the Miami Dolphins. In a 6-point teaser, a bettor could select the Lions +2 or the Dolphins +10. The same 6-point adjustment is applied to all other games in the parlay. The reduced payout depends on how many points are teased.
Over/Under Bets: Also known as a totals wager. A bet that the final score will be over or under the combined points of both teams in a game.
Futures Bet: A wager on a team or player to be determined in the future. Future bet examples: Wagering on a specific team to win the Super Bowl before or during the NFL season; or betting on a golfer to win the U.S. Open before the event tees off.
In-Game Betting: Wagers placed on a mobile sports betting app while the event or game is ongoing. In-game betting options range from adjusted point spreads to real-time proposition bets, such as how many runs will be scored in a particular inning of a baseball game. Sportsbook operators use computer algorithms to set in-game wagering odds.
Online sportsbooks offers a variety of ways to deposit and withdraw funds from your account. Some of the most popular:
Credit/debit cards: The most convenient option because most people have one. But be aware that some banks will not process gambling transactions and others may charge high fees. Credit/debit cards are not commonly accepted for withdrawals.
Play+/Prepaid cards: Most online casino operators offer their own branded prepaid card, often through Play+. Players can usually apply for one directly from the operator’s website. A player can load a Play+ card with a credit card or bank account and transfer the funds to a sportsbook account. Winnings can be transferred back to the Play+ card and the cash accessed at an ATM.
E-wallets: PayPal is the most widely accepted, with Neteller and Skrill also popular options. Setting up an e-wallet account allows you to transfer money to and from your online sportsbook account quickly for low fees.
ACH/bank transfer: Deposits and withdrawals are made to your online account through e-checks and wire transfers.
Cash, check, money order: Cash deposits can be made at the casino partnered with your online sportsbook operator. Cash deposits can also be made via PayNearMe, available at Michigan 7-Eleven, CVS Pharmacy or Family Dollar stores. Checks remain a viable withdrawal method. Simply make a request and a check will be mailed to you.
The Michigan Lawful Sports Betting Act was signed into law in December 2019, and with the first bet made in March, Michigan became the 20th state with legalized sports betting.
1933: Wagering on pari-mutuel horse racing is legalized.
1972: Michigan voters approve launch of state lottery.
1984: Kings Club Casino, owned and operated by Bay Mills Indian Community, opens on tribal land in Brimley. It’s the first tribal-owned casino in the U.S.
1996: Michigan voters approve Proposal E by 51-48 margin, allowing up to three licensed casinos in Detroit.
1999: MGM Grand Detroit casino opens, followed by MotorCity Casino Hotel. Greektown Casino opens the following year.
2016: Michigan Lottery allows online ticket sales for draw games.
2018: Michigan lawmakers pass online gambling legislation, but Gov. Rick Snyder vetoes bill a week before leaving office.
2019: Michigan lawmakers pass massive gambling expansion, including online and in-person sports betting, legal casino games and legal online poker. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs bills into law. State’s commercial and tribal casinos are each eligible to apply for sports betting license.
2020: First retail sportsbook opens in March.
January 22, 2021: First online sportsbooks launch in Michigan.
The minimum legal age to wager on sports in Michigan is 21. Tribal casinos in the state set their own age limits, with some allowing players as young as 18 or 19.
Bettors will need to be physically located in the state of Michigan to place an online wager. Online sportsbooks use geofencing technology to track a sports bettor’s location. The technology gathers pinpoint accurate location data from multiple digital sources.
The fee for a sports betting license is $100,000, with a $50,000 license application fee. The license must be renewed annually for a $50,000 fee.
Yes, as long as you are playing at a site that is licensed and regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. It is not safe to play at offshore sportsbooks. Those sports betting sites lack regulation and oversight and may abruptly shut down, causing players to lose access to their account funds with no recourse.
Yes. In fact, Michigan is expected to be one of the most competitive online markets in the U.S. That’s because each of the state’s commercial casinos and tribal casino owners is allowed to pursue a sports betting license and partner with one online sports betting operator. That means as many as 15 online sportsbooks may be operating in 2021. Increased competition and the state’s reasonable tax structure should be a boon for bettors.
All gambling winnings are subject to federal and Michigan tax. The state tax on gambling winnings is 4.25%. You can read more about gambling winnings taxes here.
Casinos pay an 8.4% tax on adjusted gross sports betting receipts. Most of that money is earmarked for the state’s public schools. A smaller percentage goes into a state fund that compensates first responders for lost wages and medical benefits.
Legalized sports betting in Michigan began when the state’s casinos took their first sports bet on March 11, 2020. Bad timing — five days later, the casinos were ordered to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. The three Detroit casinos were not permitted to reopen until early August. Online sports betting launched in January 2021.
The sign-up process is easy. First, select your online operator of choice and register for an account. You will be asked to provide some personal information, such as name, address, date of birth and last four digits of Social Security number (needed to verify your identity and prevent underage gambling). Once you’ve signed up, choose a method to deposit funds into your account. After funds are deposited, you’re ready to wager.
Yes. In-game wagering is available on your mobile device or computer.
Yes. And with Michigan expected to be a competitive online marketplace, expect plenty of online sportsbook bonus offers and promotions as operators vie to sign up new players.
Casino gambling at commercial and tribal casinos; pari-mutuel wagering at Northville Downs harness track and online; Daily Fantasy Sports; lottery.
Yes. The Michigan Problem Gambling Hotline is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-270-7117. Treatment options are also available through the Michigan Association on Problem Gambling (www.michapg.com) and Gamblers Anonymous (www.gamblersanonymous.org). Register with the Michigan Control Board (www.michigan.gov/mgcb) and players can exclude themselves from sports betting at the state’s three commercial casinos.
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.