First In The U.P.? Island Resort Sportsbook To Kick Off With NFL Launch

Posted on August 28, 2020

Upper Peninsula residents in Michigan have at least one sports betting option for the start of the NFL season.

Just in time.

Island Resort & Casino in Harris announced Friday afternoon that BetAmerica Sportsbook will open on Sept. 10, the same day Kansas City will host Houston to open the NFL season.

The sportsbook will be inside T. McC’s Sports Bar. There also will be a grand opening celebration for the sportsbook on Sept. 25.

BetAmerica is the sports betting and internet gaming business for Churchill Downs Incorporated, operator of the Kentucky Derby.

BetAmerica Sportsbook could be Michigan’s ninth

There are currently eight sportsbooks open in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, five of them on tribal lands.
In addition to Detroit’s three commercial casinos, there are sportsbooks at FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, and the trio of Four Winds Casinos in southwest Michigan.

Island Resort could be the next to open. However, Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel in Williamsburg, near Traverse City, is making social media rumblings about its Onyx Sports Book by William Hill opening soon.

BetAmerica partnered with Kambi, GAN for backend

CDI announced multi-year partnerships Thursday with technology platforms GAN and Kambi.

CDI and BetAmerica were aligned with SBTech, which is now tied up with DraftKings. GAN will serve as the online gambling backend with Kambi as the sportsbook.

Kambi also operates sportsbooks in Michigan at Greektown Casino-Hotel in Detroit, Four Winds, and the BetRivers platform at Little River.

“We believe the transition to GAN and Kambi as our new technology providers will enable our team to execute the rollout of BetAmerica sportsbooks and iGaming product offering more efficiently as states move to legalize and implement regulations permitting sports betting and iGaming in the coming years,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI, in a news release this week. “BetAmerica will benefit from the proven excellence of these market-leading providers.”

Island Resort one of 11 Upper Peninsula casinos

Near Escanaba, Island Resort is operated by the Hannahville Indian Tribe.

The partnership between CDI and the tribe was announced last month and includes online gaming and mobile sports betting.

BetAmerica sportsbooks are live in Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

According to the Island Resort website, T. McC’s features the “area’s only video wall” and “personalized viewing and audio areas.” The bar also has 20 beers on tap.

For the BetAmerica announcement, Hannahville tribal chairperson Kenneth Meshigaud said: “We are incredibly excited about our new partnership with BetAmerica.

“The BetAmerica sportsbook will expand upon our already compelling number of entertainment options, and provides another great reason for people to come and visit us up here on Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula.”

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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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