During the last week of 2019, 9 Bills were passed that legalized Online Gambling – this included online slots, table games, poker and bingo.
Michigan now has a variety of gambling options available to its residents and visitors – perhaps even more than Delaware or New Jersey! With the rapid change in legislation, many online casinos are positioning themselves to give you the best gaming experience possible.
As a result online gambling is now legal in Michigan
If you are looking for the best Online Michigan Casinos, want to stay up to date with the latest law changes, or simply just want to keep up with the latest gambling news, then read on.
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Michigan Gambling Key Points
- Online gambling (both online slots, casino table games and poker) is now legal.
- Online sports betting (including Daily Fantasy Sports) is now legal.
- In December 2019 the Governor Gretchen Whitmer passed the 9 Bills that were proposed by the Michigan’s Senate Regulatory Reform Committee.
- Horse racing in the form of pari-mutuel betting is permitted and offered.
- Charitable gaming in the form of casino style events must register for a “Millionaire” license. Gambling parties or bingo nights are permitted through strict regulation by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Michigan is only one of a few US States that strong regulates charitable gaming.
- Social gaming is illegal and is strictly enforced against Players and Organizers. Penalties have been known to be charged for organizers of illegal gambling ring activities.
In early December 2019, several bills were proposed to Michigan’s Senate Regulatory Reform Committee in hopes to allow for regulated online sports betting and gambling. By the end of the year 9 Bills – (HB4311, H4916) – were approved and thus allowed for all commerical and tribal casinos to offer online slots, table games, poker and sports betting.
As a result, Michigan Online Casinos accepts US Players!
Land based on-site and in-person gambling entertainment laws remain unchanged – plentiful and diverse.
Michigan Online Gambling
Real money online gambling in Michigan is legal.
This change came as a result of much discussion among state senators regarding the opportunities and threats that first to move legalized online gaming states posed. 2019 was touted to be the year of legalization and it has come to fruition.
Now that online casino and sports betting is legalized, the state lottery which passes its revenue to support community programs is looking at opportunities to defend it’s market share. There was a fear from many state politicians that allowing online Michigan casinos would lead to cannibalizing the revenue that the state lottery earns. This remains to be seen.
Surprisingly prior to legalization, you could not find any instances whereby a Player was prosecuted for supposedly “illegal” online casino or poker activity. The ability to enforce the previous law (albeit grey) was extremely high effort. Law enforcement agencies naturally saw the act of online gambling as on par with jaywalking.
Michigan Onshore Online Casinos
There is currently one local online site belonging to the Fire Keepers Casino Hotel. However, to play on this site you must be on-site at the Fire Keepers Casino to play.
With the change in legalization of online gambling, more local online sites will soon be available. However, currently there is only one – Fire Keepers.
Michigan Offshore Online Casinos
There have been many quality offshore online casinos operating for several years. Even before the legalization of online gambling late December 2019, many offshore online casinos were accepting players from Michigan. “Was this breaking the law?”, you may ask.
US gambling laws vary from state to state. More often than not, their laws are outdated and therefore are ambiguous in regards to online gambling. As a result, many offshore online casinos accept Michigan US Players.
As an interesting point: Michigan ranks as the 11th in the US for playing at offshore online casinos. Michigan Players wager an estimated $21.2 million per year, it ranks just above Arizona and behind Washington. The state with the largest wagering for offshore online casino is California at $180 million.
Overview of Michigan Casinos
There is a wide range of land based gambling opportunities in Michigan. With Sports betting also becoming declared legal in December 2019, many land based casinos have been proven prescient in their preparation. Existing casino providers have already renovated their premises to accommodate sports book terminals.
The land based casinos in Michigan are mostly tribal with three commercial private operators, two of which are Las Vegas massive size, whilst the third is a smaller slots and bingo parlor. Michigan has approximately 22 casinos in which you’ll find more than 35,056 slots and gaming machines. There are a total of 783 table games.
The minimum age for gambling in Michigan is 18 for charitable, lottery and bingo, whilst it is 18 or 21 depending on the tribal casino. Commercial casinos must set their minimum age at 21. The minimum age for sports betting is 21.
FireKeepers Casino Hotel
11177 East Michigan Avenue, Battle Creek, Michigan
FireKeepers Casino located in Battle Creek, Michigan has a 107,000 square foot casino gambling floor with 2,900 slots, 90 table games, live poker and bingo rooms, and eight restaurants bars and lounges. It is one of the most best prepared casinos to take advantage of the legalization of real money online gambling and sports betting. Prior to legalization, FireKeepers already had an online betting app. This app however was restricted to on-site use only. In addition, FireKeepers have created a separate section with it’s own entrance for sports betting. Complete with sports bars, mega tv screens, plush chairs and conveniently located sports betting kiosks. This casino is truly taking off!
Little River Casino Resort
2700 Orchard Highway, Manistee, Michigan
This tribal casino offers over 40,000 square feet of gaming space, four eateries including Heron on the River, an RV park with 95 spaces and nearly 300 guestrooms for those that choose to stay in the hotel. The buffet the food and service are excellent. The casino itself is relatively small, but nevertheless it is nice. Children will enjoy playing in the pool while the adults chill in the hot tub. In addition to the beautiful casino is the nearby little town in Manistee which resides alongside Lake Michigan. The slot machines are known to be a little tight, but hey, aren’t they all?
MGM Grand Detroit
1777 Third Street, Detroit, Michigan
The lavish property boasts 100,000 square feet of gaming space with almost 4000 slots and video poker machines, 90 table games, and a poker room. Needless to say this casino is huge! On par with the mega casinos in Las Vegas, you will find top notch service. The slot machines are the most advanced, providing charging outlets for your mobile devices. This casino is meticulously maintained, sparkling clean. They go above and beyond to give you the best experience.
Greektown Casino Hotel
555 East Lafayette Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan
Visitors will find 100,000 square feet of gambling space hosting nearly 3,000 slots and video poker games, 85 classic casino game tables, a dedicated high-limit room with over 90 hi-limit slots and dozens of casino table games and a 13-table smoke-free poker room. There is so much happening in this casino, that it can become overwhelming. On some days there will be draw prizes given out every 30 minutes. How great is that. Also free parking is available, but again only on some days. So check in advance, if you really want the free parking. The non smoking section is located towards the corner and at the back, some may be disappointed with the selection of games, if you want to play only in the non smokers area. Great location as there are also lots to do nearby the casino. Gambler’s paradise they call it!
MotorCity Casino & Hotel
2901 Grand River Avenue, Detroit, Michigan
There is 100,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 2900 slot machines, 59 gaming tables, a 12 table no smoking poker room. This is the third mega casino in the City of Detroit. Some may find it overpriced, but this is what you need to pay if you stay and play here. It is grand and luxurious. On the downside is that there are limited restaurants. If you’ve been there often this may pose a boring problem, but if you are a new comer, you will be really pleased with the quality of dining.
Island Resort Casino
Hwy 2, Harris, Michigan
Island Resort and Casino has a 50,000 square foot casino gambling floor with 1,200 slot machines, 26 table games, poker and five restaurants. The Island Resort hotel has 275 rooms, golf course and RV park with campground. Great atmosphere, drinks are priced Right, good place for a fun night.
Odawa Casino Resort
1760 Lears Road, Petoskey, Michigan
The 50,000 square foot casino floor offers about 1,200 slots, dozens of table games and a six table poker room. There are also dedicated blackjack and VIP rooms. Reasonable food and drinks at decent prices.
Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort
6800 Soaring Eagle Boulevard, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Soaring Eagle’s 210,000 square feet of gaming space offers 3,330 of the latest slot machines, including video poker and video keno, progressives, along with 60 gaming tables featuring a wide variety of games, including Blackjack, Craps, Roulette and much more. From the outside the building is humungous, but inside the casino playing area is in fact a lot smaller. Nevertheless, there is a lot of fun to be had. The food is priced fairly, and the drinks are quite cheap. Friendly staff, well appointed room, good food options.
Kewadin Vegas – Sault Ste. Marie
2186 Shunk Road, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
The 39,000 square feet establishment offers 2,000 gaming machines with a large variety. A relatively small and old casino. They seem to attract a lot of the smokers, and therefore you may smell a lot of smoker. Beaware of this if you are sensitive to smoke. However overall a very nice setting and good service.
Michigan Gaming Control Board
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is responsible for regulation, monitoring of controls and policy of gambling in Michigan. It audits the three Detroit casinos, not only in regards to finance, taxation and operationally, but also regarding casino equipment, third party vendors and employees.
The MGCB is also responsible for charitable gaming, through the Millionaires program. The framework implemented by the MGCB requires non profit organizations to subscribe to Millionaire licenses. If a non profit organization does not register for a license and hosts a Millionaire event, they may be charged with penalties. A Millionaires license will allow and permit gambling events that include casino table games and poker tournaments. Only qualified organizations will be issued a license. An organization may include churches, schools, senior citizen community groups, and war veteran support groups.
The Michigan Lottery was founded in 1972 and is one of the older lottery commissions in the US. It offers an immense variety of games, possibly more than any other state. Keno, Powerball, Mega Millions, Luck for Life, Fantasy 5, Daily 4, Daily 3, pull tabs… the list goes on and on. The lottery raises over $600 million in proceeds a year, of which the net earnings are directed to educational and public works.
In addition the lottery offers an app for both Apple and Android smartphone users. The app allows players to check results, purchase lottery tickets and play the online games that the lottery is permitted to issue.
Good news for fans of online gambling in Michigan. Do your fist pump because it is now officially legal to play at online casinos and place a sports bet in Michigan. The extraordinary turn of events occurred during the end of December 2019 in what surprised many.
Though legal, you will still need to wait for onshore operated online casinos. However off shore online casinos remain available and acceptable.
The year 2019 was a tumultuous year in the to’ing and fro’ing of legalizing online casino betting and sports betting in Michigan. Many stakeholders were against legalization, with several attempts to pass bill amendments falling short. With each successive failure, it was unclear if proceeding bills would be put forward and when.
Hence, it was doubtful that any conclusion would be seen during December 2019. To the surprise of many 9 Bills were proposed early December 2019. To add further surprise, by end of year the 9 Bills were passed through.
We now begin the new decade with confirmation that it is now legal to play online for both casinos and sports betting.
It is now upon the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to set the framework and to make online gambling available to the public.
Although no time frame has been set, the market anticipates by second quarter this year Michigan online casino and sport betting will be fully operational.
Michigan Time Line of Gambling Legalization
There are 26 casinos that operate in the state of Michigan. Three of which are commercially owned and are located in the City of Detroit. The remainder are operated by federally recognized Indian Tribes.
We walk you through a timeline of gambling laws and legislation activity.
January 2020 – The Stars Group enters into agreement with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority (Odawa) to operate real money online betting for poker and casino games in Michigan – license issuance and state law/regulatory approval is pending.
- Odawa operates 2 casinos in Michigan and will receive a revenue share from The Stars Group.
- The market anticipates Odawa will launch their online casino towards early April 2020.
December 2019 – Early December a suite of bills that included sports betting and online casino regulation were proposed and subsequently heard by the Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee.
- The House and Senate approved legislation to authorize and regulate online gaming and for retail and online sports betting.
- Both Bills were sent to the Governor to be signed into law:
- Online gaming bill, H4311, would permit the state’s three commercial casinos and 23 tribal casinos to offer online slots, table games and poker via two skins – one for poker and one for slots and tables.
- The final version of the bill set a tiered tax system which starts at 20% of gross win up to $4m and increases to 28% of gross win over $12m. The three City of Detroit based commercial casinos would also be liable to and additional city tax at an effective rate of 3.25% of gross win;
- Sports betting bill, H4916, would permit the state’s three commercial casinos and 23 tribal casinos to offer retail and online sports betting. The casinos may only operate one online skin.
- The final version of the bill set the tax rate at 8.4% of gross win plus the 3.25% city tax for the commercial casinos.
- The Governor’s office announced its approval of the increased tax rates included in the final bills. It is highly likely both will be signed into law.
- On 20 December 2019, Gov. Whitmer signed legislation to legalize online gaming, sports betting and daily fantasy sports in the state.
- No formal launch date target was announced.
October 2019 – Representative Brandt Iden’s amended betting bill was passed by the state chamber’s Ways and Means Committee by a 10-1 count. It proceeds to a full House vote (later to succeed).
- The main amendment to the bill was the rise in tax rate for sports betting from 8% to 8.75% for the 23 tribal casinos and in addition to the 12% for the three commercial casinos in Detroit a 3.25% city tax.
- The bill was opposed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration, which wanted tax rates of 40% for online casino gaming and 15% for sports betting.
- The proposed tax rates for online gaming would be set to a tiered system ranging from 4% to 23% based on revenue.
- The highest range would increase to 26.25% for City of Detroit casinos, because of the city tax.
September 2019 – Representative Brandt Iden introduced legislation to authorize and regulate land-based and interactive sports betting.
- HB4916 would authorize commercial and tribal casino operators to offer interactive and betting and proposed an 8% gross win tax on the activity. The bill would limit operators to one online sports betting skin and specifically prohibits the state lottery from offering bets. This controversially raised debate that revenue to the state lottery would be cannibalized.
- In order for the bill to be enacted the legislature had to first pass legislation to permit online casino gambling in Michigan.
March 2019 – Representative Brandt Iden reintroduced legislation to authorize and regulate online casinos and sports betting.
- HB4311 would allow commercial and tribal casino operators licensed in the state to offer online casinos and sports betting and would establish the Division of Internet Gaming to govern the industry.
- The bill proposed a gross win tax of 8% with an additional 1.25% for commercial operators in the City of Detroit and an initial license fee of $200k for the first year and $100k each year thereafter.
February 2019 – The Michigan State Lottery launched an instant-virtual football game, Endzone Payout, supplied by IWG and Inspired Gaming.
- The sports themed virtual scratch ticket uses a video clip of a single football play to reveal the outcome of a symbol match lottery game.
- Michigan lottery was the first to roll out the new vertical in the US.
December 2018 – The Senate passed HB4926 to authorize and regulate online casinos. The bill also included language to legalize sports betting in the state and was sent to the Governor for final approval.
Governor Rick Snyder vetoed HB4926 to authorize and regulate online casinos and legalize sports betting in the state.
October 2018 – The Michigan State Lottery awarded a four year contract (2018 to 2022) extension to NeoPollard Interactive to continue supplying and managing the lottery’s online betting platform and games.
August 2018 – The Michigan State Lottery awarded a ten year contract extension to IGT (IGT Global Solutions) to provide new technology and ongoing services. Included in the services is the replacement of the 11,550 terminals and the provision of 2,100 GameTouch self-service machines.
June 2018 – The House of Representatives passed HB4926 with a majority vote 68-40. The Bill would authorize and regulate online casinos. It has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
December 2017 – The House Regulatory Reform Committee amended online betting bill, HB4926, to authorize online and mobile sports betting provided Federal prohibition was repealed. The bill progressed to the House floor for consideration.
September 2017 – Representative Brandt Iden introduced a bill to authorize and regulate online and mobile casino gaming. HB4926 would allow commercial and tribal casino operators licensed in the Michigan to offer online casinos and would establish the Division of Internet Gaming to govern the industry. The bill proposed a gross win tax of 8% and an initial license fee of $200k for the first year and $100k each year thereafter.
June 2017 – A number of representatives introduced a bill to authorize and regulate Michigan daily fantasy sports (DFS). HB4743 proposed an initial license fee of $5k with an annual renewal fee of $1k and set out a range of consumer protection measures. The bill was referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform for consideration.
May 2017 – House Representative Dan Lauwers introduced legislation to authorize advance deposit wagering on horse racing. HB4611 would provide for third party facilitator licenses for operators to offer wagering on live and simulcast racing by electronic communication such as telephone or on-line connection. The bill was passed by the Committee on Agriculture and progressed to the House for consideration.
April 2017 – The House passed legislation to remove certain restrictions on charitable casino-style gaming events. HB4081 proposes a number of changes to charitable gaming legislation to maximize the revenue generated for charities by “millionaire parities” including increasing the limit on chip sales from $15k to $20k per day. The bill progressed to the Senate for consideration.
March 2017 – Senator Mike Kowall re-introduced legislation to authorize and regulate online casinos in the state. The bill (SB203) proposes to regulate the industry in the same way as the Senator’s previous bill, SB889 (the Lawful Internet Gaming Act) which was introduced in April 2016 but failed to pass the Senate. SB203 was referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.
February 2017 – State Representative Robert Kosowski introduced a bill to permit land-based casino operators to accept parlay wagers on sporting events provided state voters approve of the proposal. HB4261 directs the gaming Control Board to develop the necessary regulations and oversee the operation of the industry. The bill was referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform for consideration.
January 2017 – State Representative Robert Kosowski introduced a bill to authorize sports betting in licensed casinos and direct the Gaming Control Board to promulgate the necessary regulations to govern the industry. If passed, HB060 would put the question of whether to permit sports betting on the next general election ballot.
October 2016 – Instant Win Gaming agreed a deal with the State Lottery to integrate its remote gaming server with the lottery’s interactive platform. Lottery customers can now access IWG’s entire library of instant lottery games via the Michigan Lottery site.
September 2016 – House Representative, Aaron Miller, introduced HB5849 to amend the Michigan Penal Code, to specifically exempt Michigan daily fantasy sports (DFS) from the definition of gambling provided the prize or purse is $3k or less. The bill was referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform.
May 2016 – The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee held a hearing to consider Senator Kowall’s Lawful Internet Gaming Act. A number of legislators including Kowall, provided testimonies centered around consumer protection issues, industry representatives also spoke to highlight methods of preventing gambling related harm.
April 2016 – Senator Mike Kowall introduced a bill to the Senate, to authorize and regulate online casinos in the state. SB889, to be known as the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, proposes the establishment of a Division of Internet Gaming to provide for licensing and regulation of the industry. Only operators of land-based casinos and federally recognized Michigan Indian tribes who operate gaming facilities in the state may apply for a license. Initial license application fees will be charged at $100k and tax rates are proposed at 10% of gross gaming revenue.
February 2016 -The State Lottery expanded their online and mobile services through a partnership with NeoPollard Interactive. The deal allowed the lottery to begin providing a number of games, including Mega Millions and Powerball through their online gambling platform.
February 2015 – Two bills were introduced, that would require, the State Lottery Commissioner, to take bids from private organisations to manage the State Lottery, but the legislation, would not obligate the Commissioner to accept the bids. State Representative, Earl Poleski, R-Jackson, on 27 January 2015, introduced HB077, which was referred to the House Commerce & Trade Committee. State Senator Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, introduced SB75, on 3 February 2015 and has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee. The State lottery employs 170 state-workers whose jobs would be privatized, should either of these bills be passed.
May 2014 – The revised charity gaming regulations for Millionaire Parties took effect, to follow the passing of the Bill that sought to ease regulations on charitable gambling.
Gambling Laws and Legislation
Michigan has permissive gambling laws with online lottery games, skill games, horse and greyhound racing, and fantasy sports all being legal. It is likely that online gaming and gambling will soon follow as state lawmakers have, for several years, recognized the potential revenue in the online sphere.
In addition to the above, currently legal in Michigan are gaming on tribal land, licensed Native American casinos, licensed horse racing (live horse racing, on-track simulcasting, and on-track pari-mutuel wagering), card games at a senior citizen housing facility, bowling leagues with prize not exceeding $1,000.00, redemption games, bingo, state lottery, and millionaire parties (i.e. organized poker events.) Pool selling, registering bets, and gambling in stocks, bonds, grain, and produce are all prohibited as is social gaming, with law enforcement taking the unconventional position of prosecuting not only organizers but also players. Gambling is regulated by the Michigan Penal Code Ch. 750, §§ 301-15; MCLS § 750.301 et seq.; MCLS § 432.1 et seq.
Sports Betting: Sports betting including Daily Fantasy Sports is legal in Michigan; this change came about due to strong support in the state. In 2018, however, it looked extremely shaky that any change would come about. Bills were statutorily proposed but for a last-minute veto of the bill, changes were jettisoned. Lawmakers subsequently proposed a bill to create the Sports Betting Act on September 4, 2019 (HB 4916) and a bill to create the Lawful Internet Gaming Act on March 7, 2019 (SB 186) to address the legal sports wagering issue in Michigan.
Race Betting: Like in many states, horse betting (though not pari-mutuel betting) is legal in Michigan at its racing tracks, except for Hazel Park (H), Northville Downs (H), Pinnacle Race Course and Sports Creek. No off-track betting facilities exist in the state. Currently only BetAmerica accepts Michigan wagerers.
Online Gambling, Poker & Gaming: Online Gambling which includes casino table games and poker is legal. Online lottery gambling is expressly permitted. This is a change from the state’s position two decades ago when it was illegal to use unlicensed online platforms. Although the operation of gambling games is prohibited by MCLS § 432.202, this arguably does not apply to offshore platforms or to individual players. Thus, due to the nature of online gambling and gaming in the state, individuals wishing to participate in online gambling, including poker and other such games of skill, and who are at least eighteen years old can now safely place bets online through licensed and regulated domestic and offshore platforms.