- Mobile sports betting and gaming will go live in Michigan on Friday, January 22.
- Nine operators have been authorized to offer wagering at the outset.
- Michigan legalized retail sports betting in 2019.
It’s always great news when a new US state launches sports betting and they actually have a chance to do it right. Unfortunately, this has become the exception rather than the rule in the infancy of the North American market but the mood is optimistic regarding the next state to come ‘online’. Michigan started offering retail sports betting in 2019 but they’re just now launching the online/mobile component. Mobile betting in the state will begin on Friday with nine sportsbook providers licensed at the outset.
As far as the regulatory framework for mobile betting it could be much worse. The tax rate for online sports betting is a reasonable 8.4% (though the tax rate for casino games is significantly higher at between 20 and 28%). The Detroit based casinos will have to pay a bit more to apease the deep pocketed politicians that preside over the city. The bad news is that each property can offer only one brand for online sports betting. The good news is that with 25 tribal gaming properties statewide and three commercial casinos in Detroit there should be decent variety in offerings.
Of the nine sportsbooks set to launch on ‘opening day’ there aren’t many surprises. All of the ‘usual suspects’ are here but hopefully the variety will increase as more of the state’s gaming properties come online. In addition to William Hill, DraftKings, Barstool Sports, FanDuel and BetMGM the Michigan sports betting community will have access to WynnBET on opening day. That’s the interactive division of Wynn Resorts and they obtained market access in Michigan through a multi-year deal with GAN and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Michigan will be their third state joining Colorado and New Jersey. Here’s what Craig Billings, President of Wynn Resorts, had to say about entering the Michigan sports betting market:
“We are excited to bring WynnBET and the renowned Wynn betting experience to Michigan, the first of many additional states we intend to enter in 2021. With its large and highly engaged community of sports and casino fans, we are confident that Michigan will become a meaningful market for us.”
Wynn’s partnership is with the Kewadin Casinos and there are betting kiosks located in all five Kedawin branded properties in Michigan.
Also launching in Michigan on Friday will be TwinSpires. Earlier this month, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced that they would be rebranding all of their BetAmerica online and retail sportsbooks under the TwinSpires brand. Their Michigan mobile platform will be the first to reflect the new branding effort. Bill Mudd, President and Chief Operating Officer of CDI, explains why his company made the decision to move away from the BetAmerica brand:
“Our TwinSpires brand has consistently delivered over 13 years and is associated with more than a century of wagering experience. That history and heritage offers a unique point of difference in a competitive space. We remain focused on building a profitable sports betting and iGaming business that provides our customers with an integrated experience alongside our horse racing wagering platform. The transition to TwinSpires not only generates marketing efficiencies, but also allows us to deliver a more complete overall experience to our growing online wagering customer base.”
The BetAmerica retail and online sportsbooks in Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will transition to the TwinSpires brand in the first half of 2021. That includes the BetAmerica Sportsbook at the Island Casino Resort in Harris, MI.
Also joining the fray in Michigan will be Rush Street Interactive under their BetRivers.com brand. They’ll begin taking bets in Michigan at 12 noon Eastern Time on Friday and RSI President Richard Schwartz is excited to be there:
“We are excited to continue the successful expansion of our online casino and sportsbook and bring greater ease and convenience to Michiganders with the debut of BetRivers.com. Since launching our award winning online gaming platform in 2016, RSI has become a leading US online casino and sports betting operator due to our unwavering commitment to earning and retaining player trust, and constantly innovating and creating player-friendly features that are unique to the industry.”
“We are confident our customers in Michigan will appreciate RSI’s acute focus on offering an honest and transparent gaming service, unique to the industry player bonusing and loyalty programs, and BetRiver.com’s comprehensive selection of casino games and sports betting options.”
Rush Street also operates the retail sportsbook at Little River Casino Resort (LRCR) in Manistee, Michigan. Andrew Gentile, LRCR GM, is looking forward to expanding their relationship with RSI to include mobile betting:
“RSI has an outstanding reputation as a top-rated online casino and sportsbook operator nationwide and has been invaluable in helping us successfully launch in-person sports wagering at our Little River Casino Resort. We are delighted to expand our partnership and bring online gaming to Michigan through the launch of betting on BetRivers.com on Friday.”
Should be a lot of news coming out of Michigan in the next few months. Stay tuned.