BetAmerica Coming To Michigan Gaming Market Via Island Casino Partnership

Posted By Matt Schoch 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.

BrandPartnerLaunch DateRetail Launch
BetMGM SportsbookMGM Grand DetroitJan. 22Opened March 11, 2020
BetRivers SportsbookLittle River Band of the Ottawa IndiansJan. 22Opened July 17, 2020
DraftKings SportsbookBay Mills Indian CommunityJan. 22Expected soon
FanDuel SportsbookMotorCity CasinoJan. 22Opened March 12, 2020
PointsBet SportsbookLac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa IndiansJan. 22Expected soon
William Hill SportsbookGrand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa IndiansJan. 22Opened Sept. 18, 2020
Barstool SportsbookGreektown CasinoJan. 22Opened March 11, 2020
Golden Nugget SportsKeweenaw Bay Indian CommunityJan. 22Expected in early 2021
Wynn SportsbookSault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa IndiansJan. 22Kiosks only, Dec. 14, 2020
TwinSpires SportsbookHannahville Indian CommunityJan. 22Opened Sept. 10, 2020
FOX Bet SportsbookLittle Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa IndiansJan. 29Opened Sept, 24 2020
Four Winds SportsbookPokagon Band of Potawatomi IndiansFeb. 15Opened July 13, 2020
Parx SportsbookGun Lake TribeExpected soonOpened Oct. 3, 2020
TBD/FireKeepers CasinoNottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi IndiansExpected in MarchOpened June 22, 2020
TBD/Soaring Eagle CasinoSaginaw Chippewa Indian TribeExpected in MarchExpected soon

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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