Casinos, Drumlins and Legal Battles Are Making Michigan Sports And Gaming News

Written By Kim Yuhl on September 4, 2018 - Last Updated on December 8, 2023

With the Michigan legislature on summer break, the gaming industry news for the state is sparse. Following a month of revenue increases across the board, Detroit casinos are preparing for what is historically its slowest time of the year.

That didn’t stop some interesting news that includes casino news, drumlins and decades-old legal battles from coming across our feed.

Here are four Michigan news stories to keep you in the know.

1. Sage Run, a brand-new Michigan golf course, is formed around glaciers

Sage Run, the Paul Albanese-designed golf course, is part of Island Resort and Casino’s $8 million renovation project. While designing the course, Albanese introduced the golf community to drumlins, a broad ridge naturally formed by glaciers.

Albanese spoke to the Daily Herald about the new term.

“Drumlins aren’t everywhere. There aren’t a lot in the South but, they’re a great landform for golf. It gives you elevation change, and drumlins are usually above flatter land. They look like an upside down spoon, and they add a lot of character.”

The Potawatomi Tribe allowed Albanese to pick from thousands of acres to build the golf course. He decided a drumlin was a unique feature and would make the golf course a memorable experience.

2. Two is better than one at FireKeepers Casino

The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi believes more of a good thing will help attract more people.

The Tribe announced on August 27 that it would expand southern Michigan’s FireKeepers Casino Hotel. The expansion will include a second tower.

The six-year-old hotel includes a 243-room hotel tower that boasts a 95 percent occupancy rate. The casino houses 3,000 slot machines, 70 table games and a poker room, and is a huge attraction for the area.

The Tribe hopes the new rooms will attract larger casinos, more local meetings and casino players from around the region.

3. Bay Mills Indian Community heads back to court over Vanderbilt Casino

In November 2010, Bay Mills Indian Community purchased land with funds it received from the Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act (MILCSA). Lands acquired with the funds are “Indian lands,” and Bay Mills opened a casino on the property under that assumption.

The State of Michigan disagreed with the use of the lands and took the Tribe to court, forcing the closure of the casino. Michigan recognizes 12 Tribes. Of those 12, five do not have a casino outside their original lands.

Litigation around the definition of Tribal lands has been ongoing for over a decade. Last week, the state and Bay Mills were once again in court.

The state asked for a motion of summary judgment in the case based on the law. The Sault News reports that the two parties are currently awaiting a decision on the state’s request from the court.

4. Big jackpots and big jackpot winners

As the Mega Millions jackpot climbs to $152 million, Fantasy 5 paid out the largest jackpot in Michigan’s history.

A 58-year-old, Genesee County man won $894,666 on Aug. 12 when he matched all five numbers. The gentleman chose to remain anonymous upon claiming his prize. He bought the winning ticket at a convenience store on East Hill Road in Grand Blanc.

The lucky lottery winner commented on his win to the Detroit Free Press:

“When the jackpot got up around $500,000, something told me to start playing because I was going to win. I started buying tickets, and it turned out I was right.”

5. Sports betting talks continue

Football season is getting ready to kick off. No doubt the sports betting headlines, daily fantasy sports picks and revenue discussions will help spur the legal conversation.

Soon the Michigan legislature will be making its way back to work. If Rep. Brandt Iden has his way, legalizing sports betting will be on the agenda.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at

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