Detroit Sportsbooks Now Serving Tennis, European Soccer And Asian Baseball

Posted on October 5, 2020

Detroit sports fans were not able to bet on last month’s US Open tennis tournament, as Naomi Osaka added to her young legend.

But with the tennis world now across the pond in France, all bets are on in the Motor City.

Tennis is one of the sports recently added to the sports betting options at Detroit’s casinos and just in time for the French Open. The other two are European soccer and Asian baseball.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) made the changes shortly before the major tennis tournament began.

From soccer to tennis, new bets at Detroit sportsbooks

The MGCB added all Women’s Tennis Association and Association of Tennis Professionals men’s events to the sports betting menu.

Perhaps the biggest noticeable change could come from the addition of major international soccer leagues. The initial Detroit launch had Major League Soccer bets, but major European club leagues were absent from soccer betting.

Sportsbooks could fill up early on weekend mornings for English Premier League crowds. Then, as NFL games get started later, sportsbooks could make it an all-day affair.

Soccer additions to the sports wagering menu for Greektown Casino, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino include:

  • English Premier League
  • Spanish La Liga
  • Italy Serie A
  • German Bundesliga
  • Europa
  • UEFA Champions League

The MGCB also added Nippon Professional League baseball in Japan and the KBO League in South Korea.

Sports betting at Detroit casinos

When Michigan finished its rules for retail sports betting, the Detroit casinos were the first to open sportsbooks in mid-March. The first bet came March 11, five days before the pandemic closed Detroit casinos for nearly five months.

The sports available were:

  • Boxing (IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO)
  • Division 1 NCAA men’s and women’s college basketball
  • Division 1 NCAA Football – FBS only
  • MLB
  • MLS
  • Mixed Martial Arts (UFC and Bellator)
  • NASCAR
  • NBA
  • NFL
  • NHL
  • PGA Tour/LPGA/European Tour golf
  • Winter and Summer Olympic Games

This may seem like a lot, but as the pandemic wore on, most of the above sports canceled, postponed, or delayed the restart of their seasons. European soccer and Asian baseball were sometimes the only available sports for betting.

Tribal casinos were already taking tennis bets

Nearly a dozen of Michigan’s 23 tribal casinos also have retail sportsbooks now, though they are not subject to MGCB controls.

So, facilities such as River Rock Sportsbook & Grill at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee offers markets such as esports or tennis, which are not yet approved in Detroit.

The addition of the new markets is perhaps most significantly impactful for the state’s upcoming online gambling launches.

For those apps, which could start to launch statewide around Thanksgiving, only sports approved by the MGCB can be wagered on.

That’s true even for online sports betting platforms that gain online access through Michigan’s 12 federally recognized Native American tribes.

Photo by AP Photo/Christophe Ena
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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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