Michigan Online Sports Betting: When Does It Launch?

The wait for Michigan online sports betting to launch will soon come to an end, and it will do so much earlier than initially expected.

With the anticipated launch for Michigan online sports betting now set for late-November, sports bettors will be able to wager with a variety of popular online operators such as DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, FOX Bet and more.

As the official rollout quickly approaches, both the anticipation and expectations are great for the Michigan sports betting market. With just under 10 million residents, Michigan has America’s tenth largest population by state. Meanwhile, it is home to teams in all four major professional sports leagues. It also home to more than a handful of Division I college programs. That is a recipe for success in what should quickly emerge as one of the top U.S. legal sports betting markets.

Michigan Online Sports Betting Launch

Michigan formally approved legal sports wagering on December 20, 2019 when Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed off on legistlation. The state quickly rolled out retail sports betting at casinos in March 2020. The launch was almost immediately halted when both physical sportsbook locations and sports leagues around the globe were forced to shutdown in response to COVID-19. Subsequently, the shutdowns dealt a significant blow to the state’s projected gaming revenue.

Retail locations have since reopened its doors with limited capacity. However, the timeline for the online rollout has been expedited to help jump start revenue as the state deals with the ongoing financial impact of the virus.

Initially, Michigan online sports betting was set to go live in the early months of 2021. Given the economic impact of the virus, it’s now expected to arrive right in the midst of the NFL and Big Ten seasons.

Here’s what to expect at the onset from Michigan online sports betting.

Best Michigan Online Sports Betting Apps

As is the case in several other states where online sports betting is already live, online sportsbook operators must work with a state’s pre-existing retail casino location to offer online and mobile sports wagering. In effect, this means that each of the state’s 26 retail casino entities are permitted to work with one online operator.

Michigan’s sports betting law requires that at least one commercial and one tribal casino receive approval before the state formally offers legal sports betting, so multiple operators will be live upon launch.

While it is not expected that every casino eventually offers online sports betting,¬† the Michigan market should be both fierce and crowded from the start. In time, it is sure to feature all of the prominent online betting brands. That’s good news for the state’s prospective bettors, who will have an opportunity to shop around for the best odds, betting specials, and prices with a variety of outstanding sportsbook options.

Here’s what you need to know about the best Michigan online sports betting apps.

DraftKings Michigan Sportsbook

DraftKings Sportsbook is an online sports betting industry leader. It entered the Michigan market through a June 2020 deal with Bay Mills Resort & Casino with which it will also offer a retail sports betting operation. More than its well-known brand name built during its DFS dominance, the DraftKings app supports a sleek interface that is with rife a variety of sports wagering markets.

DraftKings is also among the best apps in terms of incentivizing both new and current players. New users are eligible to receive up to $1,000 in free bets and no-brainer odds deals. For instance, in the days following its Nov. 2020 Tennessee launch, DraftKings offered the favored Tennessee Volunteers to win at 100-1 odds. Meanwhile, new and current players can also take advantage of daily odds boosts, profit boosts, and occasional can’t-lose betting offers.

 

FanDuel Michigan Sportsbook

Along with DraftKings, FanDuel Sportsbook is another industry leader that figures to make big moves in the Michigan market. FanDuel, which is in Michigan via a partnership with MotorCity Casino, also built its brand and a massive following during the DFS boom and has parlayed that momentum into a fast start in the legal U.S. sports betting scene.

In our view, FanDuel Sportsbook may offer the best pound-for-pound online sports betting experience. At the heart of its success is an aesthetically smooth app that offers a tremendous breadth of bet types across dozens of sports leagues. Despite such extensive betting options, the app is both easy to use and navigate, making wagers easy to place and manage.

New bettors at FanDuel Sportsbook receive a $1,000 risk-free first bet, while all new and current players can take advantage of awesome betting promos. Among these promos include same-game parlays, bet insurance, and occasional specials such as the “Spread the Love” campaign. This particularly popular special allows FanDuel users to rally together and drive up the odds of a selected game to can’t-lose levels. For instance, FanDuel players have previously driven football and basketball spreads well over 50 points.

 

FOX Bet Michigan

With numerous factors in working in its favor, FOX Bet should do well right from the jump in Michigan. FOX Bet hooked on in the state with Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority in early January. The pact will allow The Stars Group a skin to operate its FOX Bet app via the Odawa Casino located in Petoskey.

The app draws heavily from the FOX Sports brand, featuring its top network and radio talent in both the in-app experience and outside marketing. FOX Bet also benefits from the visibility of its integration into FOX Sports broadcasts and programming.

The app has been able to enjoy big success in states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey because of its fun and creative betting experience. FOX Bet consistently cooks up fun and potentially lucrative prop outcomes. During Week 8 of the 2020 NFL regular season, it offered players the ability to wager $1 and win $100 on the Eagles to score a point against the Cowboys. Obviously, the bet cashed.

FOX Bet is also among the industry’s best when it comes to prop betting, offering a variety of game and players props as well as exclusive custom bets.

 

BetMGM Michigan

MGM is one of the biggest and best brands in the U.S. gaming industry and one that should be familiar to people in Michigan. The MGM Grand first opened in Detroit back in July 1999, signaling the arrival of legalized gambling in the state. MGM is now entering the MI online sports betting fray with its popular BetMGM app. The app has already enjoyed a solid performance in states such as New Jersey, Colorado, and Indiana, while it’s also off to a good start in the brand new Tennessee market.

BetMGM offers a wide range of betting odds, packaged into a solid app experience. It hAS also stepped up its promotional game in recent months, consistently offering new players the chance to grab a $500 risk-free first bet or can’t-miss 100-1 bonuses. For instance, BetMGM will offer 100-1 odds on outcomes such as a team to score at least one point.

 

BetRivers Michigan

BetRivers may not have the brand name recognition in Michigan that some of its competition benefits from, but it’s a top performer in other states where it is currently live. Rush Street Gaming’s BetRivers, which comes to Michigan through its deal with Little River Casino Resort, has been tremendously successful in eastern states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, it was also the first app to go live in Illinois back in June 2020, beating the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel out of the gates.

BetRivers’ overall app experience isn’t seamless or as advanced as the competition, nor are its daily promo offers as strong, but its unique new user promo makes it worth checking out. Unlike other apps that rely on risk-free first bets or no-brainer odds deals, BetRivers brings a $250 first deposit match to the table. This bonus is up front and provides new players with a flexible bankroll bonus that can be utilized in a variety of ways.

PointsBet Michigan

PointsBet arrived in the United States in 2019 when it first launched in New Jersey. The company teamed with Lac Vieux Desert Public Enterprise and Finance Commission in early January on a 20-year agreement that brings this wild card to the Michigan sports betting scene. The two sides will now work together to bring the PointsBet sports betting brand online and to a retail sportsbook located in northwest Michigan.

Previously, PointsBet teamed with local market legends Allen Iverson and Darrelle Revis (New Jersey) and Devin Hester (Illinois) to promote brand awareness, but it has also grabbed industry headlines with its Karma Committee payouts. In early 2020, PointsBet refunded all 2019 AL futures and World Series bets on the New York Yankees in light of the highly-publicized Astros cheating scandal.

A distinguishing element of the app is the “PointsBetting” feature — a multiplier-based betting option that allows you to win (or lose) more dependent upon by how much a wager wins or loses. In short, it adds an extra element of excitement to smaller bets. Meanwhile, PointsBet also excels with daily betting specials such as odds boosts and no-juice NFL spreads. In the past, its new-user sign up offer has consisted of either risk-free bets totaling $1,000 or a tiered deposit bonus.

William Hill Michigan

William Hill is one of the world’s leading sports betting brands, but it trailed the competition early on in other states. More recently, however, William Hill has backed up a solid app experience with more aggressive promotional offers.

In Illinois, bettors were able to wager $10 on teams such as the Bears and Notre Dame to score a point, netting $100 payouts. Such promo offers have helped the app, which enters Michigan through Turtle Creek Casino, grow in highly competitive markets.

While we don’t yet know what William Hill will offer in terms of its standard new user sign up bonus, in Michigan previous risk-free bet offers have ranged from $300-500.

Barstool Sportsbook Michigan

Barstool Sportsbook first launched in Pennsylvania in September 2020. Penn National Gaming teamed up with Barstool to launch an app powered by the popular sports website’s brand. It has experienced mild success in the early going, but it doesn’t offer any distinguishing benefit, nor does it possess a unique trait that separates it from the field.

Michigan Online Sports Betting Promos

Here is a look at all of the currently known new user and promo offers at each of Michigan’s top online sportsbooks.

Michigan Online Sports Betting History

Gambling isn’t new to the state of Michigan, even if sports betting is new.

Michigan became the 20th state to legalize online sports betting on December 20, 2019 when Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Sports Betting Act. Whitmer, who indicated during her 2018 campaign a willingness to regulate online gaming, made good on her words by quickly ensuring it reached the finish line by the end of her first year on the job.

Upon signing the bill into law, Whitmer lauded it and its future positive economic impact on the Michigan public school system.

The state worked swiftly to get sports betting off the ground. Expediting the March 2020 retail launch was an advanced gaming infrastructure that already featured expansive casino retail betting. After a series of strike downs, Michigan first approved legal wagering in 1996 and soon began erecting retail casinos in Detroit. The first locations opened for business in 1999.

The pre-existing rules and structure of regulated casino gaming made it easy to implement and execute retail sports betting. However, there was more detailed work needed to be done ahead of an online launch.

The early timeline to get online sports betting into the hands of people in Michigan was supposed to be a little over a year. Preliminary projections set Super Bowl 55 as a potential target, as the state wanted to be both methodical and diligent in its development and implementation of its betting rules. Based on the timelines of other recent states that have formally launched legal sports wagering, Michigan’s approach was somewhere in the middle.

Michigan’s Methodical Approach Is Expedited

States such as Iowa (approximately three months) and Indiana (five months) moved quickly from official approval to online launches, while Tennessee online sports betting took nearly 16 months before the state’s bettors could place wagers.

At the heart of the speed up is COVID-19. It almost immediately shuttered Michigan’s retail sports betting operation back in March. Facing a brutal economic impact in the wake of significant shutdowns and disruptions caused by the coronavirus, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MCGB) and state lawmakers worked swiftly to streamline online wagering.

As recently as October, the MCGB indicated that late November (perhaps in time for the Lions’ annual Thanksgiving game?) remains the targeted starting point.

All of Michigan’s tribal and commercial casinos will be eligible to offer online gaming, though only a fraction of the state’s 26 casinos will be ready for action in the infancy of the launch.

Betting on Michigan Sports Teams

Sports bettors can wager on all of Michigan’s pro and D-I sports teams. In fact, several of Michigan’s professional sports teams have inked deals with online sportsbook operators. This means certain brands either already have or soon will become a visible part of team content and the in-stadium/arena experience.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers entered into an agreement with PointsBet in July 2020 that means the sportsbook operator will be prominently featured in broadcast and streaming content during the 2021 season.

Detroit Lions

Given the expected late-November arrival of Michigan online sports betting, the Detroit Lions will become the first team eligible to be legally wagered upon by state bettors. In September, the Lions struck a deal with BetMGM that brings a strong implementation of the brand to the in-stadium experience at Ford Field and a pronounced visibility in the team’s digital content.

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings and BetMGM expanded a pre-existing partnership which means the brand will be visible on-ice and throughout Little Caesars Arena as well as through the team’s digital platforms.

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons figure to be big among players in the MI online betting market. Likewise, online operators are likely to covet a partnership deal similar to those struck with the city’s other teams. However, the Pistons have not yet come to such an agreement.

Colleges

Understandably, colleges have been more reluctant than professional franchises to enter into betting marketing partnerships. However, such deals do exist. The University of Colorado signed a deal with PointsBet in September, which could eventually lead to similar deals with operators across the country. Schools such as the University of Michigan and Michigan State, if school leaders wish to entertain such pacts, would be of particular interest.

Michigan’s Division I colleges and universities will be eligible for basketball and football wagering. Here’s the list:

 

How to Bet on Sports in Michigan

The rules for Michigan online sports betting are similar to rules in other states. All bettors must be at least 21 years of age and physically located within Michigan’s state lines. Residents of Michigan can’t wager on sports beyond state limits, unless of course, they are physically present in another state that currently offers legal wagering.

Persons eligible to wager must first download and register for one of the state-approved apps.

Let’s briefly run through everything Michigan bettors need to know from a procedural standpoint on how to bet.

Making a Sportsbook Deposit

Making a deposit with any of the state’s approved online sportsbook applications is both easy and safe. In the early days of U.S. legal sports betting, some banks would make the deposit process arduous. Since then, complications have essentially diminished in 2020. There are a variety of ways in which one can fund a sportsbook account:

Typically, online banking and PayPal are the preferred methods. In our experience, these methods tend to work most efficiently. Almost always, sportsbooks immediately make electronic deposits available for use.

Making a Sportsbook Withdraw

The above deposit options are also available to make a withdraw. It’s important to note that while deposited funds are immediately available for wagering purposes, sportsbook withdraws normally take between 3-5 days to process. However, they are typically not held up beyond the average processing time.

Michigan Sports Betting FAQ

Is sports betting legal in Michigan?

Yes, sports betting is legal in Michigan. HB 4916 (the Lawful Sports Betting Act), a December 2019 legislation signed by governor Gretchen Whitmer, formally legalized sports wagering within the state’s limits.

When will Michigan sports betting go live?

The state’s retail casinos first went live with online sports betting in March 2020. However, that launch was short-lived. Currently, the targeted online rollout date is set for the end of November. That would mean an arrival just in time for the tail end of the Big Ten and NFL regular season schedules.

Where can I bet on sports in Michigan? 

Sports betting will be permitted in Michigan’s three commercial casinos and a currently undisclosed amount of its 23 tribal casinos. All three of the state’s commercial casinos (MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Greektown Casino) are located in Detroit.

Do I have to be in Michigan to bet?

Yes. Michigan sports bettors have been able to place bets at retail sites since casinos reopened in August following COVID-19 shutdowns. In order to place a bet online, bettors must be physically located in the state. Geofencing technology ensures that someone cannot use MI sports betting apps beyond state borders. However, bettors present in other states where online sports betting is legal can wager in those states.

Why isn’t mobile sports betting available yet?

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has taken a methodical approach. It wants to ensure it has fully and methodically vetted the state’s online sports betting rules prior to launching operation. The retail wagering experience was expedited because of Michigan’s pre-existing¬† retail casino gaming system.

What types of bets can I make in Michigan?

All popular sports wagering bets will be available. Spread, moneyline, parlay, teaser, prop, and in-game, among others, will be available.

What are the fees for Michigan online sportsbook operators?

Michigan has favorable conditions for sportsbook operators in terms of overall feels. Online operators pay a $50,000 application fee, a $100,000 licensing fee, and then a subsequent $50,000 annual renewal fee.

What sports can I bet on in Michigan?

The NFL is the most popular sport to wager on in the United States. That trend should continue in Michigan. Other leagues that draw big betting attention include NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball. Michigan bettors can wager on local market teeams such as the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings, and Pistons.

Can I bet on college sports in Michigan?

Yes. Some states permit same-state wagering on college sports. For instance, New Jersey residents are not permitted to wager on state schools like Rutgers. Meanwhile, states such as Tennessee allow for state school betting. However, it restricts markets to pregame wagers such as spread, moneyline, and game total. Michigan has no such restrictions. Bettors can place in-game live wagers and prop bets on schools like Michigan and Michigan State.

Will the official data and statistics of pro leagues be used in Michigan?

Yes. Lobbyists from various major sports leagues spent nearly $200,000 in Michigan. The move worked. The state will use the data and stats of professional leagues to grade and settle bets. This mandate creates an extra assurance of accuracy in scoring bets. Problematic is that long-term concerns remain over who will foot the bill for the added expense of such data. Of the 20 states that have legalized sports betting, only three have an official league data requirement.

What are Michigan sports betting tax rates?

The tax rate has been set at 8.4%, which is essentially in line with New Jersey’s 8.5% rate. However, Detroit’s three commercial casinos will pay an additional 1.25% city tax. The agreement also allows for free-bet and promotional money allotted to customers. This includes risk-free bets and 100-1 payout offers to be deducted from gross receipts applicable to the tax rate.