Michigan Mobile Sports Betting and Online Gaming Expected to Kick Off in December

Posted on: November 30, 2020, 09:15h. 

Last updated on: August 2, 2022, 11:45h.

Michigan online casino games and mobile sports betting platforms are expected to go live in December, nearly a full year after the expanded gambling was legalized.

Michigan online mobile sports betting Detroit
BetMGM is expected to go live in Michigan next month. When it does, Lions fans at the MGM Grand Detroit lounge inside Ford Field will be able to bet on sports from their seats. (Image: Ford Field)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed House Bill 4916 on December 31, 2019. The gambling expansion package legalized land-based sports betting at Detroit’s three commercial casinos, as well as at tribal casinos. HB 4916 additionally approved online gambling, including internet casinos and mobile sports betting.

Almost 365 days later, the online games and sportsbooks are finally approaching their debut. State Sen. Majority Whip Pete Lucido (R) tells the Associated Press that the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) will sign off on online gaming and mobile sports betting rules during its meeting tomorrow, December 1.

Everybody wants to get this thing going,” Lucido said. “This is something that’s long overdue. It’s being done in other states. We’re losing opportunity costs.”

Michigan Gaming Control Board spokesperson Mary Kay Bean explained that if the JCAR approves of such regulatory laws, mobile sports betting and internet casinos can start this year.

Critical Timing

Michigan is experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases. The alarming data resulted in Whitmer again forcing the three Detroit casinos to shutter their brick-and-mortar gaming operations.

MGM Grand Detroit, Motorcity, and Greektown closed their casinos on November 18. Whitmer has ordered them to remain dark for at least three weeks, December 9 being the earliest reopening date.

Allowing the three commercial casinos to conduct online gaming will provide the operators with at least some sort of gaming revenue. Various casino games will be permitted, including online slot machines, table games, and poker.

In New Jersey, one of only four states with online casinos, internet gaming win totals $779 million in 2020 through October. Gross gaming revenue from interactive online casinos is up 103 percent, as more players took their gambling online amid the coronavirus and shutdowns of Atlantic City casinos.

Mobile sportsbooks are also crucial for a successful sports betting market. In New Jersey, of the more than $4 billion bet this year, $3.73 billion — or 91 percent — has been wagered online.

Sportsbooks and Teams Align

With mobile sports betting expected to flourish in Michigan, the state’s four professional sports teams are partnering with sportsbooks for sponsorship deals.

This week, DraftKings announced it’s an official partner of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. The marketing pact includes daily fantasy sports, sports betting, and iGaming.

PointsBet has a multiyear arrangement with the MLB Detroit Tigers, which includes the sportsbook being permitted in-stadium signage and the rights to use the Tigers brand in its various marketing.

The Detroit Lions are sponsored by BetMGM. The contract includes BetMGM using the Lions brand in its broadcast programming, and the sportsbook has its signage inside Ford Field. BetMGM also has a deal in place with the NHL Detroit Red Wings.

Michigan is a sports-obsessed state, but 2020 hasn’t been kind to Great Lake State sports fans.

The Red Wings endured the worst record in the entire NHL this season, the Pistons failed to reach the expanded NBA playoffs, and the Lions have a losing record at 4-7. And the usually reliable Michigan Wolverines football team is uncharacteristically bad this year at 2-4.