An 18-year-old freshman at Central Michigan University will be able to walk into Soaring Eagle Casino this fall, and legally play a hand of blackjack. Or place a bet on the CMU football team. Whatever they’d like.
That same person, however, would not be able to sit in their dorm room and make a bet on the casino’s Eagle Casino & Sports online platform.
This odd quirk is the result of the differences in legal gambling age at Michigan’s tribal casinos and their online counterparts, as the latter are governed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
Tribal casinos can set their own age for their properties, while the MGCB has set 21 as the legal age for all online gambling.
Soaring Eagle age requirement, online vs. in-person
The difference in gambling ages is nothing new for Michigan. Since the launch of online casinos, online sportsbooks and online poker, these gaps have existed.
An 18-year-old could have gone to Bay Mills Casino in Brimley and played roulette, but couldn’t do the same on their DraftKings app despite it being available for more than a year.
But Soaring Eagle is its own animal, in a way.
For one, its online product is still very new. It launched in April, more than a year after any of its competitors.
But its connection to CMU is the biggie. While college students don’t come close to making up the majority of Soaring Eagle’s patrons, plenty do make the trip across town. With the addition of Ascend Sportsbook, also in April, you can expect that to increase, especially during football season.
Soaring Eagle is also the southernmost Michigan casino with an age requirement of 18. That makes it a popular destination for birthdays or just a day trip for the under 21 crowd.
None of that is going to change, of course, but you could imagine there have been, and will be, some disappointed 18-, 19- and 20-year olds who see the shiny new Eagle Casino & Sports brand then realize they’re still too young to gamble online.
What is the legal gambling age at Michigan casinos?
If you’re 21, you’re old enough to gamble anywhere in Michigan, both online and at any of the state’s 26 casinos.
Along with online casinos, the three retail casinos in Detroit — Hollywood Casino at Greektown, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino — are all regulated by the MGCB and have an age requirement of 21.
The tribal casinos have their own age requirements, and here’s the breakdown:
Casinos in Michigan that are age 18 and up
- Bay Mills Casino, Brimley
- Island Resort Casino, Harris
- Leelanau Sands Casino, Peshawbestown
- Little River Casino Resort, Manistee
- Kewadin Casinos, Christmas, Hessel, Manistique, Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace
- Northern Waters Casino Resort, Watersmeet
- Ojibwa Casinos, Baraga and Marquette
- Saganing Eagles Landing Casino, Standish
- Soaring Eagle Casino Resort, Mount Pleaasant
- Turtle Creek Casino, Williamsburg
Casinos in Michigan that have a 19-year-old age requirement
- Odawa Casino, Petoskey
Tribal casinos in Michigan you have to be 21 to enter
- FireKeepers Casino, Battle Creek
- Four Winds Casinos, Dowagiac, Hartford, and New Buffalo
- Gun Lake Casino, Wayland
- Odawa Casino, Mackinaw City