Online sports betting and online casinos are scheduled to launch in Michigan at noon on Friday. When they do, these 10 online gambling apps are authorized to launch:
- Barstool (sports only)
- BetMGM (casino & sports)
- BetRivers (casino & sports)
- DraftKings (casino & sports)
- FanDuel (casino & sports)
- Golden Nugget (casino & sports)
- PointsBet (sports only)
- TwinSpires (casino & sports)
- William Hill (casino & sports)
- WynnBET (casino & sports)
The announcement came from the Michigan Gaming Control Board on Tuesday more than a year after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed expanded gambling laws. The rules allow for each of the state’s 15 casino operators to partner with one operator apiece for online sports betting, online casinos, and online poker. Online poker has been approved as part of launch, but no operators have yet announced plans to go live.
PointsBet sportsbook added to initial launch group
PointsBet was added to the group in a follow-up announcement on Wednesday. The Australian company is partnered with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians tribe in the Upper Peninsula and was approved for just sports betting, not yet for online casino. PointsBet has big plans for Michigan and is partnered with the Detroit Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers.
PointsBet has confirmed to PlayMichigan that it will launch sports betting on Friday, adding this statement from spokesperson Patrick Eichner.
“The PointsBet team is thrilled to be on the starting line in the Great Lakes State. Michigan presents a fantastic opportunity that we are excited to realize in leveraging our relationships with the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesars Arena – which will feature the PointsBet Sports Bar – and new brand ambassador Rip Hamilton. It is a tremendous privilege and responsibility to work alongside our partners in the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, and we look forward to achieving success together.”
Fox Bet and Parx are among the operators not yet approved, though both are expected soon. None of the expected self-branded apps from FireKeepers, Four Winds or Soaring Eagle are included in the initial launch.
It’s been a long year for potential Michigan sports bettors and casino players waiting for online gambling to arrive.
Even so, legal Michigan online gambling is just days away.
“The Michigan Gaming Control Board and the state’s commercial and tribal casinos will begin a new era Jan. 22 with the launch of regulated online gaming and sports betting,” said Richard Kalm, MGCB executive director. “Michigan residents love sports and, judging by inquiries we’ve received, eagerly anticipate using mobile devices to place bets through the commercial and tribal casinos. Online gaming and sports betting will provide the casinos with new ways to engage with customers while the state and local communities will benefit from taxes and payments on wagering revenue.”
Reaction from approved Michigan apps
We’re checking with each of the nine operators to see if they expect to be ready to go right at noon on Friday.
Penn National Gaming has confirmed that Barstool intends to be ready right at the noon hour for sports betting and hopes to launch online casino products “shortly thereafter.”
“This is an exciting time to be launching our online Barstool Sportsbook in Michigan,” said Jay Snowden, president and CEO of Penn National. “We have been incredibly pleased with the success of the mobile app since launching in Pennsylvania in September. Our customers have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with Dave Portnoy, Dan ‘Big Cat’ Katz and other Barstool fan favorites, and we expect more of the same in Michigan. As the only gaming operator with a fully integrated sports media and entertainment partner, Penn can provide our customers the opportunity to interact with Barstool personalities online and also in-person at our new Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown.”
The company also announced that from Friday’s launch until Sunday just before midnight, Michigan residents will have their first-time deposits (provided they wager equal or more to that deposit during the weekend) matched with a donation to The Barstool Fund to support Michigan small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visitors to the retail Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown will have their first-time rated wager matched by Greektown Casino with a donation to the fund, according to PNG.
DraftKings confirmed sports betting and online casino launches on Friday, as did BetRivers, BetMGM, Golden Nugget and WynnBet for both. William Hill and TwinSpires also confirmed a Friday launch to PlayMichigan. FanDuel confirmed a Friday sports betting launch through a social media post on Twitter.
Michigan online gambling expected to do big business
Fifteen online gambling operators were provisionally licensed by the MGCB in December. At least one platform tied to a Native American casino operator and one partnered with a commercial casino operator need to be ready at launch.
Michigan is expected to be one of the leading markets for online gambling, given the state’s population, sports fandom, and gambling culture. The leading states have set a high bar, though, as New Jersey had nearly $1 billion of sports bets placed and nearly $100 million in online casino revenue in December 2020.
Public entities in the state will benefit, too. The state taxes online sports betting at 8.4% and online casino and poker from 20%-28% based on a graduated system.
Plus, gambling online in Michigan arrives just in time for the biggest betting day of the year, the 2021 Super Bowl. Sportsbook apps should be aggressive with their welcome offers with the convergence of the initial launch and the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
Online poker approved though no signs of launch yet
Mary Kay Bean, spokesperson for the MGCB, told PlayMichigan that online poker has also been approved as part of the internet casino games approval.
However, no platform has yet announced plans to launch online poker.
BetMGM poker, which is expected to launch online poker soon after the initial launch, is one of the approved platforms as part of the initial wave. Fox Bet has not yet been approved, and that entity is tied in with PokerStars in Michigan, fellow The Stars Group property.
The Michigan Legislature has approved the MGCB entering into interstate compacts, however no such compact, such as entry into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, has yet been formalized.
Kalm said last week during the MGCB’s regular meeting that he expects interstate poker play in Michigan late this year.