Recently the Michigan sports betting scene added two more reputable sportsbooks and casino gaming operators to the fold. Both PointsBet and Fox Bet, which are in The Stars Group (TSG), have partnered up with tribes that are federally recognized in Michigan and run gambling properties.
PointsBet and Fox Bet have been proactive in getting their sports betting product to the U.S. market since the May 2018 decision by the Supreme Court, which lifted the ban on sports wagering in the United States.
What that decision did was legalize sports betting in the U.S. on a state-by-state basis. In the latter part of December 2019, the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, signed the Lawful Sports Betting Act.
She also signed a couple of other bills in relation to gaming, and with the new laws in place, it legalized and regulated Michigan sports betting online gambling, and poker.
PointsBet, which has its headquarters in Australia, has a smooth sports betting application using the latest technology, and in Iowa in 2019, it opened its first land-based casino.
PointsBet is live or has deals in place to be live and operate in the states of Iowa, Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, and Illinois.
The Stars Group closed shop on its sportsbook, BetStars, to launch Fox Bet with the Fox media giant. This partnership between the companies was finalized in May of last year.
Basically, Fox Bet is a rebrand of BetStars with Fox Sports figures such as Colin Cowherd on the site.
So, what do these current developments mean for players that are looking for legal places to make wagers in Michigan? Also, what do they mean for the stakeholders?
Michigan Onboard For Sportsbook, Poker, And iGaming Operators
In its agreement in Michigan, PointsBet is “to provide online and mobile sports wagering and gaming to be rolled out statewide.” The agreement was with them and Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
On the Lac Vieux Desert reservation, it owns and operates the Northern Waters Casino Resort property, which is located in Watersmeet, Mich. It was stated in a press release for the agreement that PointsBet will pay LVD online sportsbook and gaming “market access fees.”
It will also pay some of the net revenues from gaming that come from the sportsbook and gaming operations, which operate online. The monetary figures, as well as the terms of the agreement, have not been disclosed.
For The Stars Group to get into the Michigan gaming market, it had a deal that was similar to the one between PointsBet and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority. The deal between TSG and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians gives the gaming operator “first skin market access,” according to a press release, for sports wagering, poker, and iGaming.
Michigan legal sports and iGaming betting had been anticipated for a long time in the state. It was also very attractive by many stakeholders in the gaming industry, considering that Michigan has a population of almost 10 million, which puts it in the top 10 states in the U.S.
In the latter part of 2018, bills that would legalize sports betting were signed by the state legislature, but they were all vetoed by former Governor Rick Snyder, who was on his way out of office.
In late 2019, Michigan finally did legalize sports betting, as well as poker and iGaming. It looks as if legal wagering was given the green light from some of the Michigan tribes that are recognized on the federal level.
In states that have significant gaming run by tribes, such as Michigan, the issue of exclusivity, as well as the tribes not wanting to have their compacts reopened, was won over by the many positive things that legalized sports betting would bring to the state of Michigan.
Basically, all throughout 2019, there were proposals and discussions between operators. Those are now happening at a more rapid pace considering that the 26 Michigan casinos, 23 of which are tribe owned and operated, are looking into how to profit the most from their online “skins” or brands.
Actually, there are not 26 opportunities in Michigan because there are 26 casinos, as every tribe in the state (12) and commercial operator (three) will be able to give players one sportsbook online.
This is as opposed to having one brand for each of the casino properties in the state. In terms of Michigan law, each one of the 12 tribes can partner up with a gaming operator to have a product for online sports wagering, online casino gaming, and online poker.