The Horizon League Conference Tournament used to be in Detroit and was known as Motor City Madness. This year, Motor City Madness takes on an altogether different context with the start of legalized sports betting in the state of Michigan and, more specifically, at MGM Grand Detroit.
It is amazing how fast things can move once the initial hurdles are cleared. It took quite some time for the state of Michigan to legalize sports betting, but once the state legislature agreed to the plans and the bill, it didn’t take long to get the infrastructure set up.
In fact, MGM Grand Detroit is just about ready to open its retail sportsbook. The Moneyline Sports Lounge has been open for a while in anticipation of legalized sports wagering and that day could very well be coming as soon as the week before March Madness. News circulated around social media outlets that MGM Grand Detroit had installed automated betting kiosks right near the entrance to the Moneyline Sports Lounge.
Unfortunately, the rollout of mobile betting isn’t likely to come until 2021, but there are three casinos in the populous Metro Detroit area, so bettors will be able to get their wagers down at MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City Casino, and Greektown Casino in short order. MGM Grand will obviously use the BetMGM setup for both retail and online betting.
It seems that FanDuel has worked its way into a partnership with MotorCity Casino to provide betting support for that property. That is likely to include a retail sportsbook and then also the online components once that is eligible to go live in the state.
Penn National Gaming owns Greektown Casino near the heart of downtown and in close proximity to both Comerica Park and Ford Field. Penn National Gaming recently worked out a deal with media giant Barstool Sports, so we’ll have to wait and see what sort of branding comes about with that property.
There are a lot of tribal casinos throughout the state of Michigan as well and those will have to be the entry points for companies like DraftKings, William Hill, Fox Bet, theScore Bet, Caesars, PointsBet, and other operators. PointsBet, William Hill, and Fox Bet seem to have initial agreements in place with some of the tribal casinos. Once the online component launches in 2021, the physical location of the casino is irrelevant, except for states where interested gamblers have to sign up in person.
Before the online component goes live, however, Michiganders will be able to place their bets in a retail capacity, starting with MGM Grand Detroit in time for March Madness.
The craziest thing about all of this is that Governor Gretchen Whitmer just signed the sports betting legislation into law in December. It seems like the push for the Super Bowl came up short, but all of that hard work allowed Michigan the opportunity to be live in time for March Madness, which generally takes in even more money than the singular Super Bowl event. March Madness is a multi-week tournament that even the most casual of observers get involved with by filling out brackets or participating in pools and contests.
It made sense for Michigan to move fast with Indiana already live and Illinois moving quickly to start taking legal wagers. Those desperate to get their bets in were also able to go across the border into Canada and bet at Caesars Windsor or even get involved in Proline, which is legal in Ontario.
The expediency with which Michigan has gotten going with betting could also lead to a domino effect in border states like Ohio, which has been dragging its feet on betting since PASPA was overturned and on gambling in general for the last several decades, and also Wisconsin, a state that hasn’t made too much noise with regards to legal sports betting.
More and more states continue to adopt legislation or inch closer to getting started with each passing day, so keep it tuned right here at ATS for all the latest.