3 Reasons Why You Can’t Bet On Bowling Just Yet In Michigan

Written By Matt Schoch on November 26, 2020 - Last Updated on October 26, 2023

You can’t go bowling in Michigan at the moment, but you can legally bet on it.

Perhaps you aren’t hankering for a trip to the nearest bowling alley right now. But what bets are available and when will you be able to bet on Professional Bowling Association events in MI?

Well, hold on to that bowling ball for now.

Though the Michigan Gaming Control Board added bowling to the list of approved wagers Tuesday, you can’t actually do it yet. Here are three reasons why.

1. Detroit casinos are closed due to COVID-19

Per order of the state health department, Detroit’s three commercial casinos are closed through Dec. 8. Some tribal casinos have also closed, but those that have sportsbooks do not offer bowling bets yet.

When Greektown Casino, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino do reopen, they will have the option to offer PBA bets at their sportsbooks.

Which brings us to the second reason.

2. Online sports betting has not launched yet

Michigan has not yet launched online sports betting, as the regulatory and rule-making process continues.

There are still slim hopes for a December launch, but that would require Michigan lawmakers to expedite the rulemaking process.

The congressional Joint Committee on Administrative Rules can waive the maximum 15 session days for internet gaming and internet sports betting rules, pushing the process along.

That could realistically happen as early as Tuesday, the next scheduled Senate and House of Representatives sessions. No JCAR meeting is scheduled yet though.

The 15 sports betting apps slated to arrive in Michigan are not available in the state, which brings us to the third reason.

3. Operators are not offering bowling bets

Bowling bets are also available in select other states such as Colorado and New Jersey, though no operators coming to Michigan had any bowling markets listed on their websites as of Wednesday.

The PBA League All-Star Clash comes to Fox on Sunday afternoon, however. It is entirely likely bowling odds are not as exciting as football odds. Or at least, not as popular.

Four PBA Hall of Famers will be rolling into action during the event: Chris Barnes, Norm Duke, Pete Weber, and Walter Ray Williams Jr.

The next PBA Tour event isn’t slated until 2021.

Bowling ready to embrace sports betting

All of that being said, the bowling world is a ready-made sport for betting.

PBA COO Lev Ekster told BonusSeeker.com this year the league was following sports betting expansion with “great interest.”

PBA Tour events have a television rights deal with Fox Sports through 2022. Ratings have increased with the exposure.

How tailor-made is bowling for sports betting? Well, it’s akin to golf in that live betting would be a key feature. The pace of play is perfect for in-game bets to take place. In Michigan, the bowling bets allowed include:

  • Moneyline
  • Totals
  • Head-to-head
  • Player props
  • In-game bets

Local Andrew Anderson a name to watch on PBA Tour

If you’re hoping to prepare for the launch of bowling betting in Michigan, you might have a look at Michigander Andrew Anderson of Holly.

In 96 career events, the 25-year-old has earned more than $183,000 on the PBA Tour, including three titles.

Tom Smallwood, 43, is another home-grown bowler. He grew up in Flushing.

Smallwood earned over $600,000 in 181 PBA Tour events over 16 years.

Photo by Dreamstime stock
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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