MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm announced the news via press release earlier today:
“The Michigan Gaming Control Board and the state’s commercial and tribal casinos will begin a new era Jan. 22 with the launch of regulated online gaming and sports betting.
“Michigan residents love sports and, judging by inquiries we’ve received, eagerly anticipate using mobile devices to place bets through the commercial and tribal casinos. Online gaming and sports betting will provide the casinos with new ways to engage with customers while the state and local communities will benefit from taxes and payments on wagering revenue.”
First Michigan Sportsbooks and Gambling Sites Cleared for Launch
The MGCB has authorized ten operators to launch their online sportsbooks and gambling platforms on Friday:
- PointsBet MI
- William Hill
- Golden Nugget Online
- Barstool Sportsbook
The list of authorized providers includes the usual suspects in online gambling with two exceptions. WynnBET and TwinSpires Sports will each make their online sports betting debut in Michigan.
WynnBET is backed by international gaming operator Wynn Resorts, but it is an unknown quantity right now. Its Michigan launch on Friday should provide a firmer picture of Wynn Resorts’ approach to online gaming.
TwinSpires Sports will also make its grand opening on Friday as the product of Churchill Downs Inc. Churchill Downs is best known as the parent company of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Racetrack, and BetAmerica. The latter has had a tough time making headway in the US sports betting market, which is likely why Churchill Downs is relaunching under the TwinSpires Sports banner.
As Chris Krafcik of Eilers & Krejcik Gaming noted, Churchill Downs has all the appearances of making a serious run at establishing its place in the competitive sports betting market:
Michigan Sports Betting Launch a Long Time Coming
After Michigan legalized online sports betting and gambling in December 2019, the MGCB estimated a launch date of early 2021. The MGCB later revised its launch date to indicate a potential late-2020 launch in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that hit Michigan casinos hard due to mandated closures.
However, the MGCB could not get everything in place for a late 2020 launch and reinstated its original plan: for online casinos and sportsbooks to go live in early 2021. Now, we have a firm date with the state’s first operators set to launch on Friday.
The MGCB expects to approve additional launches over the coming weeks and months. Many gaming entities have already acquired licenses in anticipation of entering the MI sports betting market. Readers can see a list of licensees here (Excel file format).