Few states have embraced the new era of online gambling in the U.S. like Michigan. The Michigan online gambling industry is new and exciting.
On December 20, 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of bills that included House Bills 4311 and 4916. The passage of these bills set the groundwork for Michigan to become a leader in the U.S. online gambling market.
What You Need To Know – Michigan Online Gambling Launch Dates
- Online Casinos Legalized in December 2019 — Expected Launch Spring 2021
- Online Sports Betting Legalized in December 2019 — Expected Launch Spring 2021
- Daily Fantasy Sports Formally Legalized in December 2019
House Bill 4311 legalizes online sports betting, casino games, and poker. Michigan is the fifth state to legalize all three. Michigan joins New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. House Bill 4916 legalizes sports betting, both retail and online, in the state.
These new online platforms are certain to boost Michigan’s gambling economy. House Bill 4311 also legalized retail sportsbooks, which have already launched at some of the state’s 26 land-based casinos.
When the plans put forth by HB 4311 reach full maturity, the selection of online gambling options in the state will rival any in the U.S.
Michigan Online Gambling At A Glance
|Game Type||Michigan Gaming Options|
|Online casinos||Online casinos legalized December 2019; launch of Michigan’s online casinos expected in spring 2021|
|Online sports betting||Legalized in December 2019; launch expected spring 2021|
|Online horse race betting||Not legalized in Michigan|
|Online lottery||Online purchase available for instant win, in-state drawings, and multi-state drawings like Powerball and Mega Millions|
|Daily Fantasy Sports||Formally legalized in December 2019|
|Online poker||Legalized in December 2019; launch TBA
|Sweepstakes casinos||Chumba Casino and Luckyland Slots available to Michigan players
|Sweepstakes poker sites||Global Poker open to Michigan players
Online Casino Comes To Michigan
Numerous U.S. states are jumping into the pool when it comes to online sports betting, but Michigan is just the fourth state to legalize online casinos.
With the passage of HB 4311, Michigan now joins Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware as states with legal, regulated online casinos. West Virginia also legalized online casinos. Like Michigan, the launch of West Virginia’s online casino industry is pending.
Current Tribal Casino Landscape
Like those other states, Michigan’s land-based casinos will operate the legal online casino sites. The retail casino industry in Michigan, however, has a different makeup than the other states.
Out of 26 total casinos in the state, 23 are tribal casinos. House Bill 4311 allows for all state casinos, both tribal and commercial, to apply for online gaming licenses.
The language of the bill contains a unique provision. It provides that at least one commercial and one tribal casino must be licensed to offer interactive gaming (iGaming) for any of the state’s casinos to offer iGaming. This provision is in place to ensure a competitive balance between tribal and commercial casinos.
Michigan Aims For NJ-Style Success
New Jersey is the benchmark in U.S. online casino gaming. After all, was the first state to legalize and launch online casinos. By far the largest U.S. market, New Jersey’s online casino industry has generated nearly $1.46 billion in revenue since the launch of the state’s first online casinos in December 2013.
When online casinos launch in Michigan, they will likely do so with full lineups of classic casino games. This includes blackjack, roulette, craps, slots, video poker, and casino table games. Live dealer games, which allow online players to interact with a live dealer and other players, are popular in New Jersey. It is a good bet that live dealer games will launch in Michigan at some point.
The convenience of playing from home, or anywhere within the state, makes online casino gaming a hit in New Jersey. This same is true in Pennsylvania’s emerging market as well. The ability to deposit, withdraw, and play a wide variety of casino games on a mobile phone or desktop computer has led to the growing popularity of the market in states where mobile casinos legally operate.
Who Could Be Big Players In Michigan?
Major retail casinos like the MGM Grand Detroit and tribal properties like the Soaring Eagle Casino and the Firekeepers Casino could all potentially be big players in the online casino market when products begin to launch.
The actual launch date for Michigan’s online casinos is pending but is expected in the first half of 2021.
Michigan Online Gambling Options: The Run-Down
The massive gambling expansion outlined in HB 4311 includes the legalization of online casinos.
Michigan is one of only five states to legalize online casino gaming, along with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Of those states, the actual launch of online casinos is still pending in Michigan and West Virginia.
Michigan hopes to see its mobile casino market catch on and grow in a similar fashion to Pennsylvania, another newcomer to the online casino industry. Pennsylvania’s online casinos earned a record $19.5 million in revenue in February 2020, growing nearly 40 percent over the previous month.
In a state that hosts 24 tribal and three commercial casinos, the upcoming launch of casino iGaming should give a welcome boost to the Michigan economy.
Online Sports Betting
House Bill 4916, aka the Lawful Sports Betting Act, brings a new era of sports betting to Michigan, both retail and online. With a population of 10 million and a deep tradition of both college and professional sports, the Michigan sports betting market looks to be poised for success.
Much like several other states with legal sports betting, the industry’s biggest brands are on their way to Michigan. Some of these brands already struck partnerships with retail casinos in the state.
Brands like FanDuel Sportsbook, Fox Bet, William Hill, and PointsBet have partnerships in place with state casinos. Michigan bettors can expect to see mobile betting platforms from these companies at some point.
The actual launch of Michigan’s online sportsbooks is still pending but is expected in early 2021.
Online Horse Racing
Michigan is one of a handful of states without legalized online horse race betting. The package of bills signed by Gov. Whitmer in December 2019 cleared the way for legal online sports betting. Those bills did not pave the way for any kind of legislation to make online horse race betting legal.
One form of online horse race betting that could come to Michigan is historical horse race betting. A bill to legalize this form of betting passed in the state Senate in December. It needs to pass in the state House to make it to Gov. Whitmer’s desk for approval.
If legalized, this form of betting would allow racetracks and casinos to offer wagering on terminals for races that have already happened. These terminals would withhold enough information about the races to not allow bettors to lookup results. The machines withhold information like when the race occurred and the horses’ names to prevent research.
Michigan was one of the first states to implement online options for the state lottery. The Michigan Lottery started to offer online purchases in 2014.
With this option to play online in place, the Michigan Lottery realized record sales figures in both 2018 ($3.6 billion) and 2019 ($3.9 billion).
Michigan’s online lottery platform allows players to purchase entries for a wide variety of instant win and drawing games. The Michigan Lotto 47, an in-state drawing game, offers jackpots reaching well into seven figures.
Online purchases for multi-state lotteries like MegaMillions and Powerball are also at the disposal of Michigan players. Michigan Lottery can be played online on both desktop and mobile apps for iOS and Android.
The gambling-expansion bills signed by Gov. Whitmer included HB 4308, a bill that regulates paid fantasy sports.
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) giants like FanDuel and DraftKings operated in Michigan for years without regulation. This practice is common in the U.S. FanDuel and DraftKings operate in about 40 states, with only around half of those states having explicit DFS regulations in place.
HB 4308 doesn’t change anything about the actual execution of fantasy sports sites. DFS operators can continue to offer their services. With the new legislation in place, DFS operators will be taxed by the state at the same rate (8.4 percent) as legal sportsbooks.
The bill set licensing fees for fantasy sports operators at a considerably lower rate than many other states The intent is to allow smaller DFS brands to compete in the Michigan market.
State-regulated online casinos will eventually be up and running in Michigan. For now, sweepstakes sites like Chumba Casino are available to Michigan players and offer a variety of casino games.
Chumba Casino allows for players to purchase “Gold Coins” to be used for play money games. Players receive an amount of “Sweeps Coins” as a gift that comes along with the Gold Coins packages.
Sweeps Coins can also be obtained for free through various offers. Gold Coins games and Sweeps Coins games both offer a variety of classic casino staples like slots, roulette, blackjack, and casino table games.
Players redeem Sweeps Coins for US dollars at a rate of SC 1 for $1 USD.
Sweepstakes Poker Sites
Chumba Casino also operates Global Poker, the largest sweepstakes poker site available to U.S. players. Like Chumba Casino, the games on Global Poker are mini-sweepstakes games.
Players purchase “Gold Coins” packages for play money poker games. Those packages award an amount of “Sweeps Coins” that come along with the Gold Coins purchase. Players can also receive Sweeps Coins as a free gift through various offers from Global Poker.
Like Chumba Casino, players can redeem Sweeps Coins for U.S. dollars at Global Poker, at a rate of SC 1 for $1 USD. Sweeps Coins are never available for direct purchase. They can only be obtained as a gift with Gold Coins purchases, or by special free offers.
Timeline For Legal Gambling In Michigan
- 1933 – The first form of legalized gambling became available in the form of pari-mutuel horse race betting. The Racing Act of 1933 legalized pari-mutuel betting on races. It also created the Office of Racing Commissioner to oversee the new industry.
- 1972 – Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment to permit a state lottery. Then Gov. William Milliken signed Public Act 239 into law later that same year. By the end of 1972, the newly created Michigan Lottery offered the first games.
- 1984 – Tribal casinos launched in Michigan. Fred Dakota, a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Tribe, challenged the state’s legal right to regulate gambling on tribal lands. Dakota opened a casino, called “The Pines,” in January 1984. The casino consisted of a single blackjack table in Dakota’s garage. Later in 1984, large-scale tribal casinos started to operate. The Bay Mills Indian Band opened Kings Casino Club, the first tribally owned casino in the U.S. By the end of 1985 multiple tribal properties started to offer casino gaming.
- 1996 – Michigan, along with five other states, started to offer tickets for the Big Game, the first multi-state lottery in the U.S. The Big Game eventually evolved into what is now known as MegaMillions, involving 45 U.S. states.
- 1997 – The Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act is signed into law. State voters passed the bill, originally called Proposal E, in November 1996. The bill permitted the construction of three commercial casinos in Detroit. The MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino Hotel both opened in 1999. The Greektown Casino-Hotel opened in 2000.
- 2014 – Online sales for the Michigan Lottery began in November. This made instant win games available for purchase online. Tickets for in-state and multi-state drawing games started online in January 2016.
- 2018 – Both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize online gambling. The bill only needed a signature from then-Governor Rick Snyder to go into law. Snyder instead vetoed the bill just days before his gubernatorial term ends.
- 2019 – A package of bills that included legislation to legalize sports betting (both retail and online), online casinos, and online poker passed the state Senate and House. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed these bills into law in December. The passage set the foundation for significant gambling expansion in the state.
- 2020 – The first of Michigan’s legal retail sportsbooks went live in March, but only briefly. The COVID-19 pandemic forced nationwide shutdowns of casinos just days later.
Recent History Of Michigan Online Gambling
The state first approved and regulated online lottery as the first form of online gambling in Michigan. The Michigan Lottery started to offer online purchases of instant win game tickets in November 2014. In January 2016, Michigan Lottery added options to buy tickets for in-state and national drawing games as well.
Pro-gambling lawmakers, led by former Michigan State Representative Robert Kosowski, began to advance the narrative for legalized sports betting in 2015. In 2017, State Representative Brandt Iden drafted a Lawful Internet Gaming Act bill. The bill was designed to legalize internet-based sports betting if the then-effective federal ban on sports betting was ever overturned.
By 2018, the prospects of legal online gambling in Michigan began to gain serious momentum. A package of bills outlining the legalization of online casino games, retail and online sports betting, and online poker made it through both the state House and Senate.
Overcoming The Veto Hurdle
The bills faced one final hurdle. Then Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the bills instead of signing them into law. This happened just days before his term as governor ended. Snyder vetoed the gaming bills in December 2018, which pushed Michigan back to square one.
Governor Whitmer took over in the governor’s office the following January. With Whitmer in office, 2019 proved to be a landmark year in the advancement of Michigan’s iGaming initiatives. A package of internet gaming bills, similar to 2018, once again made it through the state House and Senate.
These gaming bills made it to the governor’s desk for the second consecutive year. This time, they received the required signatures from Gov. Whitmer.
The bills package included HB 4311, which legalized online sports betting, casino games, and poker in Michigan. Michigan is now one of five states in which all three of those gaming verticals are legal.
Potential operators in all three areas are in the process of establishing partnerships with Michigan’s retail casinos. The Michigan Gaming Control Board will eventually need to approve and license each operation.
The launch date for Michigan’s online gambling platforms is pending but could happen as soon as early 2021.
History Of Live Gambling In Michigan
Pari-mutuel horse race wagering was the first form of legal gambling in Michigan. The Racing Act of 1933 legalized betting on horse races. The state’s first legal wagers took place in September 1933.
The state established the Michigan Lottery in 1972. This introduced instant win and drawing games to the state.
In 1984, a single individual in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Tribe put took the first step for what would eventually become a robust live casino industry in the state. Fred Dakota challenged the state’s stance toward regulated gambling on tribal lands by operating a single blackjack table in his garage.
Other tribal gaming interests soon followed suit. Kings Club Casino became the first tribally owned casino in the U.S., opening later in 1984. Michigan’s casino industry has grown to include 23 tribal casinos.
The 1997 Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act authorized the construction of three Detroit-area commercial casinos. All three of those properties started to operate by 2000. As of 2020 Michigan is home to a total of 26 casinos.
Michigan Live Gambling At A Glance
|Is lottery legal in Michigan?||Yes, the Michigan Lottery launched in 1972. Michigan players have access to in state instant win games and drawings, as well as multi-state lotteries like Powerball and MegaMillions|
|Does Michigan have casinos?||Yes, Michigan is home to 26 total casinos, including 23 tribal and 3 commercial properties|
|Does Michigan have racetracks?||Yes, Michigan has one horse racetrack, Northville Downs|
|Where else can I gamble in Michigan?||Online casinos, sports betting, and poker are legalized. Michigan’s mobile gaming platforms are expected to launch in 2021. Players will be able to play on these iGaming sites from anywhere within state borders|
|What is the minimum gambling age?||21 (18 for lottery and horse racing)|
|Who regulates gambling?||The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and the National Indian Gaming Commission|
Casinos In Michigan
Michigan is home to 26 casinos, with 23 tribal casinos situated throughout the state, as well as three commercial casinos in Detroit.
Players can find tribal casinos all over the Michigan map. There are 12 in the Lower Peninsula and the other 11 in the Upper Peninsula. Kings Club Casino, located in the Upper Peninsula’s Bay Mills Township, was the first tribally owned casino to open in the U.S., It started operations in 1984.
Michigan Casino Locations
|Bay Mills Resort & Casino||Brimley|
|FireKeepers Casino Hotel||Battle Creek|
|Four Winds New Buffalo||New Buffalo|
|Four Winds Hartford||Hartford|
|Four Winds Dowagiac||Dowagiac|
|Gun Lake Casino||Wayland|
|Island Resort & Casino||Bark River|
|Kewadin Casino Christmas||Christmas|
|Kewadin Casino Hessel||Hessel|
|Kewadin Casino Manistique||Manistique|
|Kewadin Casino Hotel and Convention Center||Sault Sainte Marie|
|Kewadin Shores Casino||St. Ignace|
|Kings Club Casino||Brimley|
|Leelanau Sands Casino||Suttons Bay|
|Little River Casino||Manistee|
|Northern Waters Casino Resort||Watersmeet|
|Odawa Mackinaw City Casino||Mackinaw City|
|Odawa Petoskey Casino||Petoskey|
|Ojibwa Baraga Casino||Baraga|
|Ojibwa Marquette Casino II||Marquette|
|Saganing Eagles Landing Casino||Standish|
|Soaring Eagle Casino||Mt. Pleasant|
|Turtle Creek Casino||Williamsburg|
|Greektown Casino Hotel||Detroit|
|MGM Grand Detroit||Detroit|
|MotorCity Casino Hotel||Detroit|
Tribal Casinos In Michigan
The opening of the Kings Club Casino, by the Bay Mills Indian Band, was just the beginning of a long history of tribal gaming in Michigan. Five more tribal casinos opened by the end of 1985.
At the time, these tribal casinos operated in a legal grey area. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 1987 that Native American tribes could legally operate on tribal lands. In 1988, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act further defined the legal relationship between tribal gaming industries and state regulatory agencies.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act required Michigan’s tribal casinos to enter a state compact. The Act provided that tribes retained exclusive rights to operate casino gaming throughout the entire state. This included off-reservation lands.
The compact required the tribes to pay 10 percent of revenue from video gambling machines to the state. As of 2020, the industry has grown to include 23 tribal casinos.
Commercial Casinos In Michigan
The 1997 passage of the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act authorized the construction of three commercial casinos in Detroit. This bill negates parts of the state compact, as tribal interests no longer held exclusive rights to operate casinos in the state. The tribal casinos were also no longer required to pay the 10 percent “tax” on video gaming profits.
All three of the proposed Detroit-area casinos opened in 1999 and 2000. The MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Greektown Casino-Hotel are still in business as of 2020.
These three casinos realized all-time highs in combined revenue for both 2018 ($1.44 billion) and 2019 ($1.45 billion).
Michigan’s tribal casinos are owned and operated by 12 different Native American tribes. Of the commercial casinos, MGM Resorts International owns the MGM Grand. IH Gaming owns the MotorCity Casino Hotel. And Penn National Gaming operates Vici Properties, which in turn owns Greektown Casino.
Other Ways To Gamble In Michigan
In May 1972, Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment to introduce a state lottery. Public Act 239 was signed into law in August 1972, which formally legalized the lottery.
The first lottery tickets were made available to the public in November 1972. By the end of 1977, the Michigan Lottery offered a variety of games. This included instant win tickets and the Daily 3 drawing game.
In August 1996, Michigan, in collaboration with five other states, begins offering the Big Game. The Big Game was the first multi-state lottery to operate in the U.S.
The Big Game eventually evolved into MegaMillions. It is currently one of the two biggest multi-state lotteries in the U.S. MegaMillions now includes 45 states. Michigan also participates in Powerball, which is the other of the two major national lotteries.
Michigan became one of the first states to implement online lottery ticket sales, which started in August 2014. The Michigan Lottery app offers purchases to almost every in-state instant win and drawing game, as well as MegaMillions and Powerball.
All profits from the Michigan Lottery go to the Michigan School Aid Fund. Since its inception in 1972, the Michigan Lottery has contributed more than $23.4 billion to the fund.
Michigan is home to one racetrack, Northville Downs. This venue is located in Northville, about 30 miles west of Detroit.
There are no legal off-track betting (OTB) parlors in Michigan. Mobile horse race wagering is not legalized in the state.
Other Reading On Michigan Gambling
Michigan Gaming Control Board
MGCB Online Gambling Information
History of Indian Casinos in Michigan
Michigan Gambling FAQ
Is casino gambling legal in Michigan?
Yes. Michigan is home to 23 tribal and three commercial casinos, all of which legally offer gambling in the state.
Michigan was the first state to introduce tribally owned casinos. These properties can be found throughout the state. The state authorizes tribal casinos to operate anywhere in the state, including on non-reservation lands.
Michigan’s three commercial casinos are all located in Detroit.
How old do you have to be to gamble in Michigan?
18 at some casinos, 19 or 21 at others. Michigan’s tribal casinos can individually set the minimum gambling age at their respective properties. Depending on the casino, this age can be 18, 19, or 21.
The minimum age to gamble at the three Detroit commercial casinos is 21. For horse racing and lottery, the minimum age is 18.
Do I have to pay taxes on gambling winnings in Michigan?
Yes, on gambling winnings of $5,000 or more. Federal laws require a 25 percent tax to be paid on all gambling wins of $5,000 or more.
For proper tax reporting, the casino will require paperwork for any players winning $5,000 or more. If a player provides a social security number, the casino withholds 25 percent. If the SSN is not provided, the casino withholds 28 percent.
The state tax rate of 4.25 percent also applies to winnings of more than $5,000. It is the player’s responsibility to report winnings to the state.
Is online gambling legal in Michigan?
Yes. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed off on a package of bills in December 2019 that legalized online sports betting, casino games, and poker. Michigan’s online gambling platforms are expected to roll out in early 2021.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board regulates the state’s land-based tribal and commercial casinos. The land-based casinos will operate all legal online gambling sites.
The Michigan Lottery also offers online purchases for tickets.
Do you have to be a resident of Michigan to gamble online in the state?
No, apart from the online lottery. When Michigan’s online gambling platforms go live, anyone within state borders and of legal gambling age will be able to play.
Purchasing online tickets for the Michigan Lottery is different. Players must be located in Michigan and be able to provide proof of residency.
Is online sports betting legal in Michigan?
Yes. In 2019, Gov. Whitmer signed off on a package of bills that legalized sports betting, both online and retail.
Michigan’s tribal and commercial casinos are eligible to apply for licenses and to launch online sportsbooks in the state. Michigan’s mobile sportsbooks are expected to start operating in early 2021.
Who regulates online gambling in Michigan?
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and the National Indian Gaming Commission. The MGCB, a government agency, regulates commercial casinos in the state.
The National Indian Gaming Commission oversees tribal casino operations. Both of these agencies will take part in the overall regulation of Michigan’s online gambling industry.
How can I deposit and withdraw on Michigan’s online gambling sites?
A variety of options should be available for players to deposit and withdraw when Michigan’s online gambling platforms launch. This includes ACH/eCheck, credit/debit cards, prepaid cards, casino cage deposit, PayPal, eWallets, and wire transfers.
These are the most common ways to deposit and withdraw in other states that offer legal online gambling.
How old do I need to be to gamble online in Michigan?
Players must be 18, 19, or 21. The minimum age to gamble on Michigan’s iGaming platforms will depend on the casino operating a given site.
The state permits Native American tribes to set the minimum gambling age at their respective casinos, while the Detroit-area commercial casinos all have 21 as the minimum gambling age. The minimum age laws for each casino will carry over to the online gambling platforms offered by each individual casino.
Is online gambling safe?
Yes. The Michigan Gaming Control Board and the National Indian Gaming Commission regulate Michigan’s state-regulated online gambling sites.
These agencies, along with the state’s casinos, have a vested interest in providing safe, legal gambling on its online platforms.