Two Michigan Sportsbooks Opening In Traverse City Area On Friday

Posted on September 17, 2020 - Last Updated on October 14, 2020

The amount of Michigan sportsbooks will reach double digits after two more open in northern Michigan on Friday, PlayMichigan has learned.

Turtle Creek Casino and Leelanau Sands Casino will open a pair of William Hill Michigan sportsbooks near Traverse City at 3 p.m.

The books will be branded as Onyx Sports Book by William Hill and there is a grand opening ceremony Wednesday. Casino operators Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians partnered with William Hill, which will also operate online sports betting and online casino statewide through the pact.

Online gambling will launch after the rulemaking process is completed, possibly by November.

The Grand Traverse sportsbooks will be the 10th and 11th in Michigan after expanded gambling laws were passed in December.

Michigan has 26 casinos. All are eventually expected to have retail sports betting.

Retail sports betting launched March 11 in Michigan when a pair of Detroit commercial casinos opened their sportsbooks.

More sports betting options in northern Michigan

There will now be eight Michigan tribal casinos with sports betting. This is the second tribe to launch sportsbooks over multiple locations.

Turtle Creek is in Williamsburg, a little over 10 miles east of Traverse City. Leelanau Sands is in Peshawbestown about halfway up the Leelanau Peninsula, north of the Cherry Capital.

The Turtle Creek sportsbook has more than 20 televisions, a bar and outdoor patio.

The northern Michigan region already had one sportsbook open this summer at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee. Last week, Island Resort & Casino opened the first sportsbook in the Upper Peninsula.

Another appears to be on the horizon soon as Odawa Casino has been promoting its upcoming sportsbook on social media. There are Odawa locations in Petoskey and Mackinaw City.

William Hill moved quickly to get in Michigan

After the expanded gambling laws went into effect, the global gambling brand William Hill moved quickly, announcing the tribal partnership in February.

Established in 1934, the United Kingdom company expanded into the United States in 2012. Since then, William Hills has tried to make as big of a name for itself here as across the pond.

The company launched its sports betting app this week in Illinois. Last week, the company went live in Colorado.

The brand is also expanding in New Jersey where it will soon launch a second sports betting app in partnership with Caesars. William Hill was a big winner in the Caesars merger with Eldorado. The company partnered with Eldorado for sports betting prior to the deal. Now that the two companies are one, William Hill is the sportsbook provider for one of the largest casino companies in the country.

It’s among the online sports betting brands looking up at DraftKings and FanDuel, but hopes to put a big dent in Great Lakes State market share down the line.

Bad Boy Rick Mahorn in town for grand opening

For the grand opening celebration at noon on Wednesday, former Detroit Pistons world champion Rick Mahorn will be in the house at Turtle Creek.

The celebration will have draft beer specials and a chance to win $1,500 in prizes, including autographed sports gear from Detroit and Michigan athletes Dennis Rodman of the Pistons, Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, Jack Morris of the Detroit Tigers, former Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell and others.

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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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