Which Michigan Casino Will Open A Sportsbook Next?

Posted on July 14, 2020 - Last Updated on July 13, 2020

With FireKeepers and Four Winds casinos now online with sports betting in southwest Michigan, who is next in the Great Lakes State?

Most of Michigan’s 12 federally recognized Native American tribes plan to open sportsbooks at their casinos soon, joining the three sportsbooks at commercial casinos in Detroit.

FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek beat the rest of Michigan’s tribal casinos to launch, opening Dacey’s Sportsbook on June 22.

Four Winds Casinos opened sportsbooks at its three Michigan locations on Monday, in its New Buffalo flagship location, Dowagiac and Hartford.

With two tribes already taking wagers at four casinos, which of the 19 other tribal casinos are next in line?

Our best bet is far up the Lake Michigan coast from Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, which opened its sportsbook on Monday.

Little River Casino Resort in Manistee due up next

The next tribal casino to launch a Michigan sportsbook could be Little River Casino Resort in Manistee.

The launch could be this week, maybe as early as Friday, if final approval is made, according to Marketing Manager Joanne Green.

River Rock Sportsbook is the name of the space, though that could change.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians entered an agreement last month with Rush Street Interactive. The Chicago company is bringing its BetRivers brand to Michigan for Little River’s online partnership.

RSI also will power the retail sportsbook, though the announcement did not specify the book’s branding.

Michigan’s 12 tribes also have sportsbook plans

Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino are Detroit’s commercial casinos. In addition, here are what Michigan’s tribes are planning:

Lower Peninsula tribal casinos

  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians: William Hill has teamed with the tribe to brand and supply online and retail sportsbooks at Turtle Creek and Leelanau Sands casinos near Traverse City.
    There is no launch date for the public.
  • Little River Band of Ottawa Indians: River Rock Sportsbook could open for bets as soon as Friday. The tribe has a partnership with Rush Street Interactive for its online and retail sportsbook platforms.
  • Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians: The operators of Odawa Casinos in Mackinaw City and Petoskey have a partnership with The Stars Group for online access.
    A launch for the retail sportsbook, which will be in the Victories lounge, has not yet been set.
  • Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians: Gun Lake Casino in Wayland partnered with Parx Casino in Pennsylvania for online and retail sportsbooks. No launch date has been announced.
  • Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi: FireKeepers Casino opened Dacey’s Sportsbook, supplied by Scientific Games, on June 22. Casino officials have considered a self-branded app.
  • Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians: Four Winds casinos, along with its technology partner Kambi, launched three sportsbooks on Monday.
  • Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe: Soaring Eagle and Saganing Eagles Landing will have sportsbooks. Soaring Eagle in Mount Pleasant will have it in its Ascend sports bar. Saganing in Standish will take bets in Creekside Lounge.
    Soaring Eagle has explored a self-branded app.

Upper Peninsula tribal casinos

  • Bay Mills Indian Community: DraftKings will be the brand for the Bay Mills retail and online products.
    The Brimley casinos, Bay Mills and Kings Club, have not set retail sportsbook launch dates.
  • Hannahville Indian Community: The tribe has not made announcements or plans for a sportsbook. The tribe operates Island Resort and Casino in Harris and is the mystery of Michigan’s online gambling market.
  • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community: Ojibwa Casinos in Baraga and Marquette have not yet announced retail sportsbook plans.
    General manager Larry Denomie wrote in the May edition of the tribe’s publication, the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe, that it was “working with Golden Nugget and their platform partner, Scientific Gaming” on iGaming and internet sports betting.
    Golden Nugget is going public with its online business and has announced it has a partnership in Michigan, though it has not disclosed the partner yet.
  • Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians: The tribe has partnered with PointsBet for its online gambling operations. The group also could power a retail sportsbook at Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet.
    The deal was the first for PointsBet with a Native American tribe and will feature its first online casino launch.
  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians: The tribe’s five Kewadin Casinos have partnered with GAN for its sportsbook technology.
    In addition, a major US casino operator was involved in the deal, as yet undisclosed pending regulatory approval.
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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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