2021 Entrepreneurial Awards

All Bets Are On: Online Sports Gambling Comes to Michigan

Legal online sports betting became available to residents in January.

Michigan recently upped the ante on gambling in the state as legal online sports betting became available to residents in January.

Sports fans in Michigan have had the opportunity to bet at retail sportsbooks in Detroit as well as at tribal casinos throughout the state for some time; however, the stakes were raised this year when partnerships opened access for residents to top sports betting apps, such as FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings and FOX Bet.

On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court acted to bust Nevada’s monopoly on legal sports betting, allowing more states to get in on the action and reap the tax benefits.

The court, in a 6-3 ruling, struck down a federal law that required states to ban gambling on the outcome of sporting events. Since that ruling, which left the legality of sports gambling up to state-level government, several states — including Michigan — moved to legalize sports betting.

Sports betting is now legal and fully operational in 20 states plus Washington, D.C.

Legal sports betting in Michigan commenced March 11, with two Detroit-area casinos launching on the same day. The move came less than three months after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Sports Betting Act into law. The new law provides for wagering on a wide variety of sports, including college contests.

Michigan has the potential to be one of the biggest sports betting and online gaming markets in the country, and its legislation allows for a competitive market with multiple operators. Michigan Sharp projects that online casinos and sports betting could bring in $650 million in annual revenue for Michigan’s commercial and tribal casinos.


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