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Michigan sports betting set for March 11 launch


Regulated sports betting is set to begin in Michigan this week, with Detroit’s three commercial casinos expected to be authorized to launch retail wagering by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. 

Should the casinos – MGM Resorts’ MGM Grand Detroit, Penn National Gaming’s Greektown Casino and the privately-owned MotorCity Casino – be licensed at a Control Board meeting on Tuesday, March 10, they could launch from 1PM the next day.

The state regulator noted that it expects to approve each casino after hearing final presentations at the meeting, with all preliminary requirements for going live already met.

“With just 11 weeks to prepare, MGCB staff worked hard to make the launch of onsite sports betting at the Detroit casinos possible by March Madness,” Gaming Control Board executive director Richard S. Kalm said. 

“The casinos and their suppliers helped us by their timely efforts to share information we needed to authorize the gaming. This new gaming opportunity has been highly anticipated, and we hope citizens will enjoy it and see benefits from additional revenue to both the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit.”

The regulator said it had already issued provisional licenses to the suppliers providing solutions for on-site sports betting such as kiosks and data solutions. MGM Grand will launch an offering powered by BetMGM, via the Roar Digital joint venture between MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings. Sources suggest it is preparing for a roll-out on March 11.

Greektown, meanwhile, is likely to launch a Kambi-powered, Penn National-operated offering, and it remains to be seen whether this will be under the Barstool Bet brand, facilitated by its exclusive partnership with Barstool Sports. While the operator said it was unwilling to comment on pending regulatory matters, it aimed to launch quickly should it be given the green light.

MotorCity, meanwhile, is rumoured to have struck a market access deal with FanDuel. It did not respond to requests for comment from iGB North America.

Once the licenses have been issued to the operators, the Control Board will work to issue full licenses to these suppliers in the coming months. 

It will also continue to develop administrative rules for online sports betting, online casino and fantasy sports. Each product was legalized after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4311, regulating online casino, HB916, covering sports betting, and HB4308 to regulate fantasy sports, in December 2019.

These rules are expected to be finalized early in 2021, after which online and mobile betting and gaming are expected to be launched once the first licenses are awarded.

HB916 also regulates sports betting at Michigan’s tribal casinos, with the likes of The Stars Group, Scientific Games and PointsBet all striking deals with these operators. They will announce the launch of onsite sports betting individually.