Sportsbooks Popping Up All Over Northern Michigan This Week

Written By Matt Schoch on September 25, 2020 - Last Updated on March 4, 2021
MI Upper Peninsula sportsbook launches

In what should go down as the biggest week in northwest Michigan sports gambling history, another casino is now taking your sports bets.

Odawa Casino in Petoskey opened its sportsbook on Thursday night. The soft opening will be followed by a grand opening on Oct. 8, according to a Facebook post from the casino.

The sportsbook is the 12th to go live in Michigan, and Odawa’s Mackinaw City location will open a satellite location soon.

Also this week, Turtle Creek Casino near Traverse City christened its Onyx Sports Book by William Hill with a grand opening.

While these sportsbooks will cater to the bulk of the NFL season, the state’s online sports betting market is still several weeks away.

Odawa Casino partnered with The Stars Group

The Odawa operators, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, were previously linked to USBookmaking for the retail sports betting operations.

However, the Las Vegas B2B company no longer lists Odawa as a partner on its web site.

When online wagering becomes available, possibly around Thanksgiving, Odawa’s operations will be in partnership with The Stars Group.

The Flutter Entertainment company will launch brands like Fox Bet Sportsbook in Michigan for sports betting and PokerStars for online poker with license access through the tribal partnership.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board held a public hearing on Wednesday for its draft internet gaming rules. The licensing process is ongoing.

Sportsbooks miss summer tourist season

Northwest Michigan is a popular summer destination for Michiganians statewide and visitors from the Chicago area.

When the Odawa’s Mackinaw City casino starts taking sports bets, that means there will be five tribal sportsbooks in the region off the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The first to open its sportsbook was Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, which is partnered with BetRivers Sports Betting.

Turtle Creek, near Traverse City, opened Onyx Sports Book by William Hill last week. The operator also opened a satellite location at Leelanau Sands farther up the Leelanau Peninsula.

The openings are moving toward the Mackinac Bridge with the Odawa books.

Across the bridge to the Upper Peninsula, one of 11 tribal casinos in MI has opened a sportsbook. Island Resort & Casino launched a BetAmerica facility for the NFL’s opening night.

Odawa has reported recent COVID cases

A third employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the casino announced on Tuesday.

Valued Guests, We have been advised that we have our 3rd positive case of COVID-19 with a Petoskey Team Member. We…

Posted by Odawa Casino on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

All three cases have been from third-shift workers, according to the announcement. The employee had not worked since Sept. 11.

The casino requires guests to wear masks covering their mouth and nose. Crews clean the facility nightly from 4 a.m. until 8 a.m.

Turtle Creek opened with a Bad Boy bang

Meanwhile, former Detroit Pistons Bad Boy Rick Mahorn was the featured guest at Turtle Creek’s grand opening Wednesday.

It looks like Mahorn is thinking big heading into this weekend’s NFL action.

Photo by AP / Charlie Riedel
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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 former 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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