What Michigan Regulations Say About Caesars Adding Another Online Brand

Written By Drew Ellis on March 14, 2024
Cartoon Caesar with a speech bubble that reads

How is it possible for Caesars to operate more than one online casino in the state? PlayMichigan reached out to the Michigan Gaming Control Board for clarification.

In 2024, Caesars Palace Michigan will become the first online operator to launch a second brand in Michigan thanks to the purchase of the online license previously owned by WynnBET.

The MGCB told PlayMichigan, “Like any other online operating entity, Caesars’ branding needs to meet our established branding and branding-related requirements, as specified under Section 4(7) of Michigan’s Lawful Internet Gaming Act and Lawful Sports Betting Act.”

Essentially those requirements state:

“(7) An internet gaming operator may offer internet gaming under a maximum of 2 separate brands, 1 for each of interactive poker and other casino style games. This subsection does not prohibit an internet gaming operator from using fewer than 2 brands or from using a single brand to offer any combination of interactive poker or other casino style games. Only an internet gaming operator or its internet gaming platform providers may process, accept, or solicit internet wagers under this act.

All websites and corresponding applications used to offer internet gaming must clearly display the brand of the internet gaming operator or its affiliate. The internet gaming operator may also elect, in its sole discretion, to have the brand of each internet gaming platform that it utilizes be the name and logos or no more than 1 internet gaming platform provider if the internet gaming platform also clearly displays the internet gaming operator’s own trademarks and logos or those of an affiliate. The internet gaming operator is responsible for the conduct of its internet gaming platform provider.”

All of that can be a lot to process, but it essentially means that operators have the option to offer one brand for all casino games and one for poker only. The casino option may or may not include poker in its casino option, but not vice versa.

The story involves a lot of moving parts and involves multiple tribes and casinos.

However, if it proves successful for Caesars, it could have a domino effect in the state with other top operators looking to do the same.

Caesars established in Michigan in 2021

When online gambling was legalized in Michigan in January of 2021, Caesars was quick to jump on board.

Caesars struck a partnership with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. They own and operate Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, as well as Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge.

The Grand Traverse Band had one license for sports betting and one license for an online casino.

That was entrusted to Caesars, which allowed them to launch Caesars Sportsbook Michigan in January of 2021. As part of the sportsbook, Caesars included their online casino as an option within the application.

Caesars also was granted a license to operate WSOP Michigan, a standalone online poker app.

Caesars Palace launches in August 2023

Hoping to boost its online casino revenue, Caesars elected to create a standalone iGaming application that launched in August 2023.

Caesars Palace debuted with an expanded gaming library and different branding from the casino that appeared on the Caesars Sportsbook application.

Since the Caesars Palace launch, both online casino options have been running in the state. That has given Caesars two different avenues to bring in iCasino revenue.

On desktop, Caesars initially kept the branding different for the casino within the Caesars Sportsbook site and the one on the separate Caesars Palace site. Yet, both sites now have a Caesars Palace label for the casino sections.

However, the phone applications still show different branding for the casino within the sportsbook app and the Caesars Palace app.

Screen shots showing Branding for Michigan online casino in Caesars sports book app vs. Caesars Palace app

Caesars purchases WynnBET license for new brand

In February, Caesars agreed to purchase the Michigan online casino and sportsbook license of WynnBET.

When announcing the purchase, Caesars indicated that this purchase would allow them to unveil a new and unique brand to the Michigan market.

That means Caesars won’t be using Caesars Palace as its online casino for the Wynn replacement.

The Wynn licenses come from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. They own and operate Kewadin Casinos, which have five locations in the Upper Peninsula.

Caesars will use a new brand for this license, not just to try and maximize its purchase, but also to appease its multiple Michigan tribal partners.

The Grand Traverse Band would not want its portion of revenue from Caesars impacted by having another tribal partner brought into the mix.

That will now happen, as revenue from Caesars/Caesars Palace will go to Grand Traverse Band, while revenue from this new brand will go to the SSM tribe.

Caesars has yet to announce what this new brand will be, but PlayMichigan had its thoughts. The new brand is expected to debut before the end of 2024.

Photo by PlayMichigan
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of PlayILottery.com. He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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