Welcome to the wild world of sports betting, Michigan. From the Motor City to the UP, bets will be placed on mobile apps and sports betting websites in the first or second quarter of 2020. The Michigan Senate voted 35-3 to pass bills that would allow for legalized sports betting and also other forms of online gambling (casinos) in the state and the hope is that things will be up and running in time for March Madness 2020.
We know that games often come down to the final seconds when a betting spread is involved. In the state of Michigan, the Senate completed its vote on the second-to-last day of the legislative session before the holiday break. The Michigan House of Representatives completed its vote on the last day. The Governor was on board and that led to a seamless passing of the bills from one floor to the other and that was that.
Michigan has 26 casinos in total. There are three commercial casinos, all in Detroit, and then 23 tribal casinos. MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City Casino, and Greektown are the three commercial casinos, so obviously MGM will be one of the likely sports betting operators in Michigan. It stands to reason that we will see companies like DraftKings and Fanduel involved and quite possibly BetRivers, which is already operating south in Indiana.
Greektown is in very close proximity to the downtown Detroit sports venues, so that will be a popular destination for those that want to hang out and watch some games, but the bill in Michigan allows for online sports betting right from the jump.
Unlike other states, where casinos can have multiple “skins”, or partnerships with different operators, Michigan allows for one internet sports betting platform per casino. In some states, places like BetAmerica and DraftKings can acquire licensing through the same property. Based on the interpretation of the bill, that will not be the case in Michigan.
Nevertheless, this is a big win for Michiganders and for the industry as a whole. Another state, and a large one with a big gaming presence at that, will come online early in 2020. The iGaming portion of the bill is a big win as well. There are several states that take sports bets, but are not open to playing slots or table games in an online casino format. Michigan will adopt all of it and the wave of gambling bills also included the legalization of daily fantasy sports. That is sure to drive DraftKings and Fanduel into the sports betting side of the market.
Low tax rates and application fees are going to allow Michigan to get up and running swiftly and efficiently. The initial application is $50,000 with a $100,000 cost for the license and then a $50,000 annual fee to keep the license. Given the astonishing revenue numbers we’ve seen in states like Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, this will be an easy sell for the casino properties, especially those tribal ones in less populated parts of the state.
The nice thing is that online wagering will be available from day one, so that means that anybody located in the state can bet. This will also open Michigan up to some activity from the Cleveland metro area and also places like Toledo and Bowling Green. All it would take is simply getting across the state border to place bets. Once geolocation tracking can place you in the state of Michigan, you will be free to access your real money account.
Revenue from sports betting is expected to go to funding for education and first responders, which made it an easier sell for the state senators and representatives.
The writing was on the wall back in October when MGM Grand Detroit opened the appropriately-named Moneyline Sports Lounge. It will be transitioned to a retail sportsbook now after serving as a bar and seating area.
With the landmark decision to allow legalized sports betting, Michigan became the 20th state to authorize sports betting and is also the fifth to allow online casino gaming. It will be interesting to see if that becomes a growing trend as more states adopt similar sports betting legislation.
As operators get going in Michigan, we will review what they have to offer, but for now, you can check out our reviews of the sports betting operators in other states like Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and West Virginia to see what they have to offer and to get a feel for what should be available in Michigan going forward.