The First Two Legal Sportsbooks In Michigan Will Start Taking Action On Wednesday

Posted on March 9, 2020

Wednesday will be a historic day in the Wolverine State. That’s the day that two Detroit sportsbooks will accept the first-ever legal wagers on sporting events in Michigan.

Michiganders will be able to place bets at the sportsbooks inside the Greektown and MGM Grand casinos that day. There are some details that Michigan bettors need to know.

Details on the two Detroit sportsbooks going live

Bettors should expect both sportsbooks to start taking bets at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Customers at the MGM Grand will be able to utilize kiosks as well as the betting windows.

“With just 11 weeks to prepare, Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) staff worked hard to make the launch of onsite sports betting at the Detroit casinos possible by March Madness,” said Richard Kalm, the MGCB executive director, in a news release. “The casinos and their suppliers helped us by their timely efforts to share information we needed to authorize the gaming. This new gaming opportunity has been highly anticipated, and we hope citizens will enjoy it and see benefits from additional revenue to both the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit.”

While MGM has its own sportsbook brand, Greektown is part of a partnership between Barstool Sports and the casino’s parent company, Penn National Gaming. Although MGM has an online component in other states, the action in Michigan will be limited to retail for the near future.

Patrons of the MotorCity Casino in Detroit may be wondering what’s going on there. Although the casino has announced a market access deal with FanDuel, the casino hasn’t made any announcements about when it will open that sportsbook.

It looks like MotorCity will receive clearance Tuesday to start taking bets.

That isn’t the only brand waiting to launch in Michigan, however. The state’s tribal casinos are pending launches as well.

Other casinos and sportsbook brands pending in MI

Several tribal casinos in Michigan have announced market access deals with sportsbook operators. Those brands include Fox Bet, PointsBet and William Hill.

Those facilities could open much later, perhaps even next year. That’s because Michigan won’t authorize online wagering until 2021, and the real value in these deals is online access.

William Hill does plan to launch a retail sportsbook later this year at two locations. Its target date is the start of the next college football and NFL seasons.

That may be what a lot of the tribal sportsbooks shoot for as it looks as though they will miss March Madness this year. It’s the next big event on the sports betting calendar.

Late August/early September launch events

After the launch of these two sportsbooks in Detroit next week, the next biggest event in Michigan sports betting will be the start of the next football season. Even the sportsbooks that are already operating by then will feature special marketing campaigns.

For those of the 23 tribal casinos in Michigan still pending launch, it’s a perfect opportunity. Football is the most popular sport for betting by the value of handle in the United States by a solid margin.

This fall, Michiganders will be able to place legal wagers on that sport, even if it’s just in person and not online. Wednesday is a monumental day leading up to that.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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