History of Online Gambling in Michigan
The push for legal MI online gambling started in 2015. However, the state’s tribal casinos clashed with lawmakers over commercial casinos’ inclusion.
Additionally, the Michigan Lottery expressed fears that more gambling would cannibalize their lucrative industry. Lotteries generate roughly $1 billion for the MI school fund annually.
The state legislature made no serious efforts to legalize internet gambling until May 2018. May marks the point when the Supreme Court repealed PASPA—a long-time federal ban on sports betting.
Suddenly, MI lawmakers became much more interested in legalizing online gambling. They wanted to take advantage of the lucrative betting market that was sure to follow.
Rep. Brandt Iden drafted the Lawful Internet Gaming Act (HB 4311) and Lawful Sports Betting Act (HB 4916) in hopes of appeasing all sides. He largely achieved this goal when the commercial and tribal casinos agreed with both pieces of legislation.
The bills passed both houses in 2018 with little trouble. Many expected then-Gov. Rick Snyder to sign them into effect afterward. However, Snyder surprisingly rejected the bills as one of his last acts in office.
Iden reintroduced the Lawful Internet Gaming Act and Sports Betting Act in 2019. The bills again received bipartisan support and passed both houses.
New Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expressed the same concerns as the lottery, though. She feared that internet gambling would merely cannibalize money that would instead go to school funding.
However, Iden and other proponents convinced Whitmer that online gambling would raise fresh money for the state. She signed HB 4311 and HB 4916 into effect on December 20, 2019.
Contents of the Lawful Internet Gaming Act
HB 4311 and HB 4916 make the following types of internet gambling legal in Michigan:
- Online casino games
- Online poker
- Online sports betting
- Daily fantasy sports
Online lottery games were already legal before HB 4916 and HB 4311. Therefore, Michigan residents and visitors can enjoy five different types of internet gambling in total.
Who Regulates the Industry?
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) oversees the state’s online gambling industry. It carries the following responsibilities:
- Reviewing applications for licenses.
- Approving qualified applicants.
- Collecting relevant fees.
- Drafting rules for the internet gambling market.
- Ensuring that all licensees adhere to the MGCB’s standards.
Who can Participate in the Market?
Michigan’s three commercial casinos and 24 tribal casinos (collectively owned by 12 tribes) can participate in the online gambling market.
Outside companies (e.g., DraftKings, FanDuel) can also participate. However, they must form a partnership with a Michigan commercial or tribal casino.
Licensing Fees & Taxes
The Michigan online gambling licensing and taxation rates are as follows:
- Potential operators must pay a $50,000 application fee.
- If approved, operators must cover a $100,000 initial licensing fee.
- The annual renewal fee is $50,000.
- Licensees will pay an 8.4% tax rate on online sports betting revenue. Commercial casinos in Detroit must cover an additional 1.25% city tax.
- Online gaming operators must pay between a 20% and 28% tax rate.
- Free play at online casinos and sportsbooks counts as a tax deduction.
Michigan Online Sportsbooks
Land-based sportsbooks opened just a few months after Whitmer approved internet betting. However, MI online sportsbooks have dealt with a slower process.
No Michigan betting sites have launched at the time of this writing. Popular speculation, though, is that internet bookmakers will begin opening either in late 2020 or early 2021.
The MGCB is still working on the framework for MI online betting. It hopes to finish everything on its end before 2020 is up.
Once the MGCB gives the green light, bookmakers will try to launch as quickly as possible. The biggest brands will probably open before their counterparts.
Here are best estimates on when each betting site became available in Michigan:
- DraftKings (partnered w/ Bay Mills Indian Community) - January/February 2021
- FanDuel (partnered w/ MotorCity Casino) - January/February 2021
- BetMGM (partnered w/ MGM Grand Detroit) - March/April 2021
- FOX Bet (partnered w/ Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians) - May 2021
- Barstool Sportsbook (partnered w/ Greektown Casino) - May 2021
- PointsBet (Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians) - June 2021
- BetStars (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians) - June 2021
- William Hill (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians) - June/July 2021
Other bookmakers will likely jump into the online betting pool as well. However, we can’t say for sure which brands will join the main players.
What Bets will be Available in Michigan?
The Wolverine State will probably offer a full range of betting opportunities. Online bookmakers should feature the basics, such as moneylines and point spreads, along with exotic prop bets and teasers.
Here are the likely bet types that will be available at MI online sportsbooks:
- Point spreads
- Totals (over/under)
- Live betting
- Proposition bets
What Markets will you be Able to Wager on?
Football, basketball, hockey, and baseball are all popular in Michigan. After all, the Wolverine State features major professional teams in all of these sports. Therefore, we can guarantee that bookmakers will cover these four sports.
Of course, Michigan is a large state that can support many markets. Betting sites will take advantage of this liquidity by offering lines on a wide variety of sports.
Here’s what you can look forward to regarding markets:
- Australian rules football
- The Olympics
- World Cup
Michigan Online Casinos
MI online casinos are in the same boat as internet bookmakers. They’re still waiting on the MGCB to finish up the regulatory framework.
We don’t know when exactly gaming sites will become available. We also don’t know how many operators will be available.
Technically, Michigan could feature up to 15 casino skins. The three commercial casinos can run up to three skins apiece, while the 12 tribal gaming interests can each only run one.
Here’s speculation on when the major casino brands might launch:
- BetMGM Casino (partnered w/ MGM Grand Detroit) - December 2020
- FanDuel Casino (partnered w/ MotorCity Casino) - January 2021
- DraftKings Casino (partnered w/ Bay Mills Indian Community) - January 2021
- PokerStars Casino (partnered w/ Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians) - February 2021
- BetRivers Casino (partnered w/ MGM Grand Detroit) - March 2021
- Golden Nugget (partnered w/ Keweenaw Bay Indian Community) - May 2021
- Parx Casino (partnered w/ Gun Lake Tribe) - June/July 2021
If you don’t want to wait for these online casinos to arrive, you can play at Chumba Casino immediately.
Chumba is a legal sweepstakes gaming site that offers Sweeps Coins that let you enter sweepstakes contests and potentially win prizes.
What Online Casino Games will Michigan Offer?
We can only speculate on which internet casino games will be available in the Wolverine State. However, states with active online gaming markets (e.g., New Jersey, Pennsylvania) provide hints on this matter.
Online slots will no doubt be the primary games. Every other internet gaming market relies heavily on slots.
Blackjack and roulette should be the featured table games. Most online casinos from other states offer multiple variations of roulette and blackjack.
Here are some other games that’ll likely be available:
- Casino hold’em
- Let It Ride
- Mississippi Stud
- Pai gow poker
- Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
- Three-card poker
Will Live Dealer Casino Games be Available?
Michigan will assuredly offer live dealer gaming at some point. However, this likely won’t occur until months after online casinos launch.
Evolution Gaming is the primary supplier in most markets. It will need time to set up studios and equipment in Michigan.
Assuming the Wolverine State offers live gaming as expected, then it’ll likely feature the following games:
- Casino hold’em
- Dream Catcher
- European roulette
- Infinite Blackjack
- Three-card poker
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em
Michigan Poker Sites
Online poker plays third fiddle to online casinos and sportsbooks in any given market. The same will hold true in Michigan.
Even with almost 10 million residents, this state doesn’t boast the liquidity for a lucrative online poker market. It’ll need to sign a multi-state compact to generate more liquidity.
The MGCB will take its time in establishing the legal framework for internet poker. MI poker sites could begin launching by May/June 2021 or later.
Michigan Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) were already happening in Michigan before the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. However, HB 4311 officially legalized DFS.
No speculation on launch dates is necessary. DFS giants DraftKings and FanDuel are already running legally in the state.
MI Online Gambling Apps
Michigan online sportsbooks, casinos, and poker rooms will all feature apps. Most should provide Android and iOS apps, while others will only feature one or the other.
When a choice must be made, Android apps typically get the nod. More people own Android devices than iPhones.
Therefore, MI online gambling sites are more likely to provide an app for the former. They also appreciate that they can offer Android apps directly through their websites.
Apple, meanwhile, requires that all operators feature iOS apps in the App Store—not on the website. Gamblers must visit the App Store to download any iOS betting, casino, or poker app.
How to Deposit at Michigan Online Gambling Sites
Once MI internet gambling sites become available, you shouldn’t experience any trouble funding your account. You’ll just need to perform the following steps to deposit:
- Register for an account
- Visit the site’s banking section.
- Choose a valid deposit option.
- Enter the amount you’d like to deposit.
- Confirm the deposit and wait for funds to arrive.
The waiting time depends on which banking option you use. For example, credit cards and casino cages provide instant funding.
Here are the probable deposit methods that’ll be available in Michigan:
- Cash at the cage: Visit a relevant land-based casino and deposit directly at the cage.
- Credit card: Instantly fund your account using Visa or Mastercard.
- E-check: Move funds from your bank account to a gambling site through an e-check.
- E-wallet: Use an e-wallet (e.g., PayPal, Skrill) to send funds online to your gambling account.
- PayNearMe: Purchase a voucher at the local 7-Eleven that you can use for an online deposit.
- Prepaid card: Many gambling sites feature branded prepaid cards for depositing.
Online Gambling Bonuses in Michigan
WIth internet sportsbooks, poker sites, and casinos all coming up, Michigan will offer many bonus opportunities.
Of course, the bonuses will vary based on the type of gambling. Here are the different bonuses you can expect in each respective form of iGambling:
MI online Casino Bonuses
- No-deposit bonus: You collect a small bonus (e.g., $25) just for signing up.
- Match deposit bonus: The site matches a percentage (e.g., 100%) of your deposit up to a specified amount (e.g., $500).
- Cashback: You receive a percentage (e.g., 20%) of your losses back over a specified period (e.g., five days).
- Free spins: Free spins let you play real-money slots for free and generate winnings.
MI Online Sportsbook Bonuses
- Free bet: If your first bet loses, you can win the losses back up to a specified amount (e.g., $100).
- No-deposit bonus
- Match deposit bonus
MI Online Poker Bonuses
- Leaderboard races: You accumulate points by playing poker in an effort to earn a leaderboard prize.
- No-deposit bonus
- Match deposit bonus
Michigan Online Gambling FAQ
No. You only need to be within Michigan’s borders to participate in its online gambling market. Each site uses geolocation software to determine whether you’re in the Wolverine State.
Yes. The Lawful Internet Gaming Act (HB 4311) legalizes online casinos, poker sites, and DFS sites. The Lawful Sports Betting Act (HB 4916) legalizes internet sportsbooks.
Yes. All annual MI gambling profits—whether online or land-based—are subject to taxation. Michigan’s state income tax withholding rate is 4.25%.
Yes. The Michigan Gambling Control Board works to ensure that every licensee operates in a responsible manner. It reserves the power to revoke licenses from operators who fail to uphold its standards.
You must be 21 years or older to gamble at online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms. However, you can play online lotteries at 18 years of age.