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Golden Nugget seals Michigan access with Ojibwa Casino


Golden Nugget Online Gaming, the online subsidiary of the Golden Nugget chain of casinos owned and operated by Landry’s Incorporated, has sealed a market access deal in Michigan.

The operator, which is in the process of spinning off from Landry’s and listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange, has partnered the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, operator of Ojibwa Casino. 

This facilitates the launch of the operator’s online casino and sportsbook in Michigan. The operator is in the process of expanding beyond its core market of New Jersey, where it has carved out a market-leading position in online casino.

The business is also eyeing a move into Pennsylvania’s igaming market early in 2021. 

“Golden Nugget Online Gaming is thrilled to partner with the Ojibwa Casino to provide casino players in Michigan with a premium online casino and sportsbook experience,” Golden Nugget Online Gaming president Thomas Winter said.

“Players in Michigan will be able to appreciate our award winning product offering and exceptional customer service from a nationally recognized and trusted brand.”

It comes as Michigan moves towards opening its online betting and gaming market ahead of schedule. While this was originally expected to take place early in 2021, the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has prompted lawmakers to accelerate the process. 

Last week the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) began to accept betting and gaming license applications, with director Richard S. Kalm saying operators could be taking bets before the end of 2020.

Golden Nugget’s new partner, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, operates two Ojibwa Casinos, in Marquette and Baraga.

“We are excited to partner with Golden Nugget to bring online casino and sports betting to the state of Michigan,” Keweenaw Bay Indian Community president Chris Swartz said. 

“Working with a strong brand will be a perfect complement to our brand new casino in Marquette as well as our casino in Baraga.”

Earlier this week he MGCB reported a 59.3% year-on-year decline in revenue from Detroit’s three commercial casinos – MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino – for the first half of 2020. The properties’ combined revenue totalled $229.2m, though all of this was generated before 16 March, when the venues were shuttered as a result of Covid-19. 

This came after retail sports betting launched at each property on 11 March, with the trio generating revenue of $105,548 over this five-day period.