BetAmerica Coming To Michigan Gaming Market Via Island Casino Partnership

Posted on July 30, 2020 - Last Updated on August 17, 2020

The music is about to stop in the game of musical chairs that is the Michigan online gambling market.

Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) found a landing spot before it was too late on Wednesday. The famed horse racing company will launch BetAmerica in Michigan through a partnership with the Hannahville Indian Community.

The Upper Peninsula tribe operates Island Resort & Casino in Harris. BetAmerica will operate a retail sportsbook there to go along with its online sports betting and online casino options, according to a news release announcing the deal.

Hannahville tribe one of the final online skins

The number of partners available for online access in Michigan continues to dwindle.

Some Michigan tribes are also planning on launching their own branded apps.

Meanwhile, at least 11 online companies have struck deals to join a robust online sports betting market, which is expected to launch this fall.

BrandPartnerProjected Online LaunchRetail Launch
BarstoolGreektown CasinoLate 2020Opened March 11, 2020 (temporary)
BetAmericaHannahville Indian CommunityLate 2020Opened Sept. 10, 2020
BetMGMMGM Grand DetroitNovember 2020Opened March 11, 2020
BetRiversLittle River Band of the Ottawa IndiansWhen permittedOpened July 17, 2020
DraftKingsBay Mills Indian CommunityLate 2020Expected by fall 2020
FanDuelMotorCity CasinoLate 2020Opened March 12, 2020
FOX BetLittle Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa IndiansLate 2020Expected in fall 2020
Golden NuggetKeweenaw Bay Indian CommunityEarly 2021Expected in early 2021
Parx CasinoGun Lake TribeLate 2020Expected by fall 2020
PointsBetLac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa IndiansLate 2020Expected by fall 2020
TBD/FireKeepers CasinoNottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi IndiansLate 2020Opened June 22, 2020
TBD/Four Winds CasinoPokagon Band of Potawatomi IndiansLate 2020Opened July 13, 2020
TBD/KewadinSault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa IndiansLate 2020Expected by fall 2020
TBD/Soaring Eagle CasinoSaginaw Chippewa Indian TribeLate 2020Expected by fall 2020
William HillGrand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa IndiansWhen permittedOpened Sept. 18, 2020

Churchill Downs one of gambling’s biggest brands

CDI launched BetAmerica in 2007. The company owns famed Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville and its Kentucky Derby.

According to Online Poker Report, BetAmerica was just a racebook for 10 years until a partnership with SBTech expanded the brand. The company plans to transition soon to a GAN platform and Kambi sportsbook.

“We are pleased to be able to offer sports fans throughout Michigan our innovative BetAmerica sportsbook and iGaming product,” said Bill Mudd, COO of CDI, in a news release. “Guests of Island Resort & Casino, as well as online players in Michigan, will be able to access sports betting, the best in online casino games and unique promotions through BetAmerica.”

BetAmerica is online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and operates an online sportsbook in Indiana.

Another tribal sportsbook on deck in Michigan

The retail sportsbook will soon join a growing list of tribal options across the state.

Little River Casino in Manistee became the fifth tribal sportsbook when it opened the River Rock Sportsbook & Grill this month. There are eight in all, including the three Detroit casinos, which will reopen on Aug. 5.

Island Resort could have the first UP sportsbook, though others are also in the works.

“We are incredibly excited about our new partnership with BetAmerica,” said Kenneth Meshigaud, Hannahville Indian Community tribal chairperson, in a statement. “The BetAmerica sportsbook will expand upon our already compelling number of entertainment options. It provides another great reason to come and visit us up here on Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula.”

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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 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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