Michigan Could Start Taking Bets Next Week, But Only At Casinos

Posted on March 6, 2020

Michigan is ready to join the sports betting party.

On-site betting could begin at the state’s casinos as early as next week.

That puts Indiana’s northern neighbor right on track to launch before the start of March Madness. With popular in-state teams like Michigan and Michigan State in the tournament, March Madness is a great way to kick things off.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board regulates gambling throughout Michigan. If the board agrees that the state is ready at its meeting on March 10, it would be the final green light the state needs to launch.

Michigan and Indiana will be the only two states in the Midwest where sports betting is live.

What took Michigan so long?

It’s been a long road for Michigan to come to market finally.

Outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the state’s original sports betting back in 2018. That pushed things back an entire year, with the state having to start the process over again.

Eventually, a new bill was finalized back in December and sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk.

With Whitmer’s signature, sports betting became legal, but the state still and some work to do before it could actually launch.

Originally, Michigan was hoping to be taking bets in time for Super Bowl Sunday, but it wasn’t able to figure out all of the regulatory details in time.

Now that the sports betting launch is imminent throughout the state, most of the casino partnerships have been snatched up.

FanDuel just nailed down a partnership with MotorCity Casino, which was the last commercial casino in the state without a partner.

Sportsbooks like DraftKings that weren’t able to snag a partnership with one of those commercial spots are running out of options. Now DraftKings will have to partner with one of the state’s tribal casinos to gain access to the Michigan market.

No online betting in Michigan yet

FanDuel will be taking over MotorCity’s retail sportsbook but will have to wait until it can take online bets. All of the sportsbooks in the state are in the same boat in that regard.

Despite being ready for in-person action, online sports betting in Michigan is still a ways away. The state just isn’t sure how it wants to regulate its online sportsbooks yet, which has delayed the process.

Michigan isn’t expecting to have online betting until 2021, which is a painfully slow timeline for Michigan residents.

Indiana’s casinos started taking in-person bets in September 2019, and the online market opened up just a month later.

That’s significantly faster than how things are going to play out in Michigan.

Indiana will still benefit from Michigan visitors

At least for now, some Michigan residents are still likely to cross over into Indiana to bet.

Unlike Illinois, Indiana doesn’t have an in-person registration requirement to use its online sportsbooks.

All you have to do is cross the state line into Indiana, and you can place your bets online within a few minutes.

For a lot of bettors in Michigan living near the border, that will still be the easiest option. A trip to Indiana is just quicker than driving to one of the state’s casinos for some people.

That’s been great for Indiana, and the state will be happy to keep the money flowing. It’s extra income that Indiana’s pulling in from all of its neighbors right now.

Eventually, Michigan will offer online sports betting, but until then, its residents will continue to boost Indiana’s handle.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a sports writer based in Indianapolis, IN. He's an Indiana University graduate who's spent time as a sports reporter covering teams at the prep, collegiate and professional levels.

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