PointsBet, Evolution Ink Live Dealer Deal That Includes Michigan

Posted on August 17, 2020 - Last Updated on August 18, 2020

With online casinos coming later this year, Michigan residents can simulate the live casino experience from their homes.

At least one operator will eventually take that simulation a step further.

Evolution Gaming has signed on with PointsBet to offer live dealer games in the Great Lakes State after online gambling launches statewide and PointsBet goes live. The PointsBet live dealer launch is expected in 2021, according to the announcement.

Evolution Games has a monopoly on live dealer games in the US, acquiring its only US competitor, Ezugi, in January 2019.

The PointsBet pact was not announced as an exclusive deal. That means Evolution Gaming could partner with other Michigan online operators, as it has in New Jersey.

Live dealers one step closer to the real thing

Live dealer casino games simulate the live casino experience.

Some online casino games can feel cold and quick. With an actual person acting as dealer to interact with, there’s a slower pace and more social interaction.

Players also might have more trust in a game they can watch unfold.

In New Jersey, the live dealer market has expanded to include more online operators than not.

PointsBet is expected to launch the live dealer in Michigan before New Jersey, according to Online Poker Report. That’s because Twin River Worldwide Holdings is in the process of acquiring Bally’s Atlantic City, causing a holdup.

In Pennsylvania, Online Poker Report concluded that a proposed late 2020 live dealer launch “corresponds with the expected opening of Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia, which seems like a logical choice.”

In Michigan, the studio location could be north of the Mackinac Bridge at a tribal casino PointsBet is partnered with.

PointsBet has high hopes for Michigan online casino

PointsBet is an Australian company making a big bet in Michigan with its first online casino possibly launching here.

The company partnered with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in the Upper Peninsula for online access.

“We are thrilled to partner with Evolution Gaming to launch Live Casino technology in US jurisdictions, where we plan to offer our proprietary online casino platform,” said Seth Young, chief innovation officer at PointsBet. “The addition of Evolution Live Casino extends the appeal of PointsBet’s premium product in the rapidly growing US market.”

The tribal partnership with the Lac Vieux Desert tribe in Michigan is also a first for PointsBet.

The company was the first sportsbook to partner with a Major League Baseball team too, announcing a pact with the Detroit Tigers last month.

According to the draft rules proposed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, live dealers must be located in Michigan and approved by the board.

“The gaming environment used to conduct remote/proxy player or similar games must be located in this state in a location approved by the board,” the rules state.

That rule exists, in part, because of the Wire Act, which prevents interstate communication for the purposes of gambling.

Lac Vieux Desert’s Northern Waters closed for now

The tribe was forced to re-close its UP casino this month because of a local COVID-19 outbreak.

Northern Waters Casino in Watersmeet, near the Wisconsin border, only closed for two months during the initial coronavirus shutdown.

With no reopening date scheduled, Northern Waters is the only Michigan casino to reopen and then have to re-close.

PointsBet also has exclusive negotiating rights for a retail sportsbook at Northern Waters, though no launch date has been set.

Matt Schoch Avatar
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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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