- Mobile sports betting and gaming launched in Michigan on Friday, January 22.
- Twelve operators are now authorized to offer wagering.
- Michigan legalized retail sports betting in 2019.
In a US marketplace that has decided been a ‘feast or famine’ situation for sports bettors Michigan looks like they’re doing it right. Unfortunately, that has been the exception rather than the rule in the nascent US sports betting marketplace. For every state that has done a good job like Colorado or Iowa there are at least two that have been a complete disaster like Tennessee and the District of Columbia. The primary issue has been the boneheaded decision in many states to put the lottery commission in charge of regulating and in some cases operating sports betting.
Michigan is now up to 12 online sports betting providers with the addition of two more operators. One is very familiar to the US market–Australia’s PointBet has partnered with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians to bring mobile sports betting to the Michigan market. The Lac Vieux Desert tribe operates the Northern Waters Casino Resort and will add a retail sportsbook to the property at some point in the future. PointsBet is also slated to operate the retail side with the launch date of that still ‘TBA’.
Johnny Aitken, PointsBet USA CEO, is excited about opening up in a state was so much potential as Michigan:
“Launching in Michigan is truly a special moment for PointsBet, and presents a tremendous opportunity we are excited to attack alongside our partners in the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. As always, PointsBet will provide this passionate, sports-loving community with the fastest online sports betting product across every customer touchpoint as well as the most betting options in market for every NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL game. We are thrilled to be on the starting line and be able to immediately introduce Michigan sports bettors to the competitive advantages PointsBet possesses in owning our technology end-to-end, as well as further activate our investments in the state such as the partnerships in place with the Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, and Little Caesars Arena.”
Tribal Chairman James Williams, Jr is equally enthused about working with a proven commodity like PointsBet as they expand into the mobile betting market:
“The Tribe worked hard to be among the first to launch mobile sports betting in the State of Michigan and is thrilled to offer innovative betting options to Michigan residents in conjunction with our PointsBet partner. Gaming is the cornerstone of our tribal community, funding our tribal government and essential governmental services such as health care, education, law enforcement, cultural and human services as well as providing employment opportunities for tribal members and others. Harnessing the power of the internet to expand the Tribe’s gaming footprint has been our dream for more than a decade. The fact that this day has come is long-time in the making. We are confident that this giant step forward will bring the Tribe closer to its goals of self-sufficiency and will serve to stabilize the Tribal economy for future generations.”
The other new launch comes from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians who are providing online/mobile iGaming and sports betting services under the ‘Four Winds Casino’ brand. Kambi is powering their sports betting efforts with PALA Interactive technology behind their iGaming. The Pokagaon Band operates three Four Winds branded gaming properties in the state with each offering a retail sportsbook also powered by Kambi.
MGCB executive director Richard Kalm had this to say about the Four Winds iGaming launch:
“We welcome the addition of Four Winds Casinos and Pala Interactive to Michigan’s growing online gaming and sports wagering market. Their participation will generate revenue to support education, economic development and the Pokagon Band’s tribal community.”
Internet gaming and sports betting operators in Michigan reported $42.7 million in handle for January–pretty impressive for just 10 days with the Michigan Gaming Control Board authorizing a 1/22/21 launch. Internet gaming handle was $29.4 million. Internet sports betting operators drew $13.3 million in total gross sports betting receipts and reported a total handle of $115.2 million for the period.