The state of Michigan has joined the growing sports betting industry in the United States, becoming one of the most recent states to launch. Michigan was able to get sports betting launched less than four months after legalizing the industry.
Unfortunately, Michigan launched sports betting just as the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping through the US, ultimately shutting things down. This summer, the Michigan industry was able to pick things back up, and the state could become a huge leader in the sports betting industry.
Retail sports betting was available in March, and mobile sports betting is expected to launch at some point in late 2020 or early 2021. Some of the industry’s biggest names have already launched in the state, and several more are coming.
The History behind Legal Sports Betting in Michigan
The sports betting industry in Michigan actually dates back to 2015, when a legislator was looking to legalize sports betting. Representative Robert Kosowski introduced a pair of bills in 2015, but neither bill was able to make it out of committee.
Kosowski doubled down a year later, changing some of the language in an effort to get sports betting legalized. Those bills failed to make it out of committee either, but the sports betting discussion was underway.
In 2017, it was Representative Brandt Iden that was able to get things going in the right direction. An expanded gambling bill made it out of committee that year, and that bill included language that would legalize sports betting.
A year later, it looked as if the state was ready to legalize sports betting in 2018, but former Governor Rick Snyder was not on board. Bill H 4926 passed through both houses of the legislature, but Snyder vetoed the bill, killing any chance for sports betting.
A change in governor was needed to pursue sports betting seriously in Michigan, and that occurred in 2019. Governor Gretchen Whitmer supported legalizing sports betting, and she quickly signed a bill when it landed on her desk in December 2019.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board was put in charge of the sports betting industry, and that group worked quickly to get sports betting launched. The industry officially launched in March 2020, and things have gone well since launch.
Mobile sports betting is set to launch before the end of 2020, but an official date has not been announced. Michigan has favorable rules for operators, and that should help the state attract some big names.
Financial History behind Legal Sports Betting in Michigan
Even though Michigan has had sports betting since March 2020, the state has reported sports betting numbers for just three months. The entire industry was shut down from April-July as the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping through the state.
In March 2020, the sports betting handle totaled just over $593,000, with a revenue of more than $105,000. This was a slow start, but only a couple of sports betting operators were ready to go in the month.
Things started to open back up in August, and the state saw a huge boost in both betting handle and total revenue. In August, the state posted a sports betting handle of more than $15.7 million. The state brought in close to $2 million in revenue during August.
September was expected to be a huge month for the sports betting industry in Michigan, which was definitely the case. Total handle set a new record in September, posting more than $33 million during that month.
Michigan also posted some huge revenue numbers during September, bringing in more than $4.3 million. October numbers will be announced at some point in November, and it could be another record-setting month for the industry.
Sportsbook Apps in Michigan
Online sports betting has not yet launched in Michigan as of October 2020, but that should change in the coming weeks. Mobile betting was included when sports betting was legalized, but it has taken those operators a while to get things up and running.
Any of the sports betting operators that offer retail sports betting in the state can also offer mobile betting. Some of the biggest names in the industry already offer retail sports betting in Michigan, and these big names will launch mobile apps as well.
Here is a list of mobile sportsbook apps expected to launch in the state of Michigan at some point:
- Barstool Sportsbook
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- FOX Bet Sportsbook
- Golden Nugget
- Parx Sportsbook
- PointsBet Sportsbook
- William Hill
There are other mobile sports betting licenses available in the state as well, but it’s unclear what sportsbooks will be approved for these.
Landlocked Locations to Bet on Sports in Michigan
There are just three commercial casinos in Michigan, and all three of these properties are expected to dominate the sports betting industry. Each of these locations could apply for a sports betting license, but tribal casinos were also allowed to apply.
When tribal casinos were given a chance to apply for a sports betting license, many big-name sports betting operators worked to form a partnership with these properties. This was great news for Michigan, but it was a crushing blow to the commercial casinos.
Detroit is home to all of the commercial casinos in Michigan, and that city will likely emerge as the leader in the industry. Tribal casinos will post some impressive numbers when it comes to overall betting handle, but the commercial casinos will dominate the retail side of things.
The MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino, and Greektown Casino are the three commercial casinos in Michigan, and all three have already partnered with a big name in the sports betting industry. Bettors looking to physically place bets while in the state of Michigan will likely visit these locations.
Below is a current list of retail sports betting options in Michigan, with the date that it launched in parentheses.
- BetMGM Sportsbook (March 11, 2020)
- Barstool Sportsbook (March 11, 2020-Temporary)
- FanDuel Sportsbook (March 12, 2020)
- FireKeepers Casino (June 22, 2020)
- Four Winds Casino (July 13, 2020)
- BetRivers Sportsbook (July 17, 2020)
- BetAmerica Sportsbook (September 10, 2020)
- William Hill Sportsbook (September 18, 2020
- Fox Bet Sportsbook (September 24, 2020)
- Parx Casino (October 3, 2020)
- DraftKings Sportsbook (Fall 2020)
- PointsBet Sportsbook (Fall 2020)
Several other retail locations are expected to launch sports betting near the end of 2020 or early 2021. These three locations have applied for and received a sports betting license, and launch is coming soon.
- Golden Nugget Sportsbook
- Soaring Eagle Casino
- Wynn Sportsbook
Sports Teams to Bet on in Michigan
Several other states have a much better sports tradition, but Michigan should not be sold short. This state is home to several popular professional sports teams, and college teams are extremely popular as well.
Since betting on the National Football League is extremely popular in the United States, the Detroit Lions are by far the most popular team in Michigan. The Lions have not been extremely successful in recent years, but this team will likely drive sports betting in the state.
The state has three other professional sports teams, and these teams will help drive the sports betting industry. All of the professional teams are located in Detroit, but their popularity extends throughout the state.
The Detroit Pistons, Detroit Tigers, and Detroit Red Wings are all extremely popular throughout the state, and all three franchises will help drive sports betting in Michigan. Betting on the Detroit Lions will carry the industry, but these other three teams will do well.
Since betting on college athletic events is allowed in Michigan, the college teams will help drive up the numbers. Michigan is home to several popular sports teams, but the two most popular compete in the Big Ten Conference.
The Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans will help promote betting, especially during football and basketball seasons. Both teams have a strong tradition of being near the top of the conference in each sport.
Michigan is close to another of other states that feature some legendary sports teams. With all of these popular teams, it is no secret that the state is positioned to become a huge player in the US sports betting industry.
FAQ for betting in Michigan
When was the sports betting industry legalized in Michigan?
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a sports betting bill into law in December 2019 after months of debate from lawmakers. Michigan joined a handful of other states in the Midwest that legalized the industry in 2019.
When did the sports betting industry launch?
Retail sports betting in Michigan officially launched on March 11, 2020, but the industry was shut down just a few days later due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Online sports betting is expected to launch at some point before the start of 2021.
What group regulates the Michigan sports betting industry?
The Michigan Gaming Control Board regulates the sports betting industry. This group is in charge of reviewing all sports betting license applications and dealing with customer complaints or concerns.
Who can apply for a sports betting license?
All of the commercial and tribal casinos are eligible to apply for a sports betting license in Michigan. Online operators must partner with one of these locations to offer sports betting in the state.
What is the legal betting age in Michigan?
The legal age to place a bet on sports in the state of Michigan is 21 years of age. Almost every single state that has legalized and launched sports betting has set this as the age limit.
Can I place a bet online?
As of October 2020, the answer is no, but that is going to be changing soon. Michigan did legalize mobile or online betting, and mobile sportsbook apps are set to launch in the coming weeks.
Can I bet on the Michigan Wolverines?
Yes, betting on college sporting events is allowed in Michigan, with a few exceptions. Sportsbooks cannot offer in-game or prop betting for college sporting events at this time.
Do I have to live in the state to place a bet?
No. But you do have to be physically inside of the state to place a bet. When mobile betting officially launches, visitors of the state can register for a mobile account and begin placing bets immediately.