Little River Casino Throws Big Opening Bash For New Sportsbook

Posted on August 4, 2020

Sports betting in the state of Michigan continues its expansion.

Just a few weeks ago, Little River Casino Resort in Manistee opened the state’s eighth casino sportsbook.

River Rock Sportsbook & Grill began operation on July 17, becoming the fifth sportsbook on tribal land in Michigan.

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians partnered with Rush Street Interactive, one of the leaders in online gaming suppliers and operators. They will launch BetRivers in Michigan once online gambling begins.

Little River hosts ceremonial opening

River Rock Sportsbook & Grill held a ceremonial opening on July 17. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Ogema Larry Romanelli cut the ribbon to signify the opening, according to The Manistee News Advocate.

“We have to keep the economy going,” Romanelli said during the ceremony. “We’re still moving forward and we’re still doing everything that we can to make it fun and exciting for the community and also to spur economic development.”

Placing the first bet at the new sportsbook was Manistee mayor Roger Zielinski. Zielinski wagered $20 on the Detroit Lions to win the Super Bowl for the upcoming 2020 season.

“This is a great place,” Zielinski said. “They’ve done a lot for the city of Manistee over the years. They’ve been really good partners.”

Promoting 60 TV screens, bar hours for River Rock Sportsbook & Grill are 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. daily.

Michigan’s sportsbook market continues growth

As the state reopens following a shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, sportsbooks have been opening around the map.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek became the first tribal casino sportsbook in Michigan last month. Dacey’s Sportsbook has been in operation since June 22.

Earlier in July, Four Winds Casinos opened a trio of sportsbooks in the southwest part of the state.
Detroit has sportbooks for all three of its commercial casinos, Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino.

Those three sportsbooks opened briefly in March before the government-ordered shutdown. In just six days of operation before being forced to close, those casinos generated over $105,000 in adjusted gross receipts.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer placed an order allowing Detroit casinos to reopen on Aug. 5 at 15% capacity.

“Casinos have been operating safely across most of the country and in tribal areas in Michigan and should be able to do so in the Detroit region as well,” Whitmer said.

Online casinos and sports betting next up?

Online casino gaming and sports betting are expected for Littler River and other casinos around the state.

All 12 federally recognized tribal casinos and Detroit’s three commercial casinos can operate online casinos and sports betting once it launches.

Current timetables have a late 2020-early 2021 launch for online sports betting and iGaming in Michigan.

The next step in the rulemaking timetable has the draft rules moving to the Administrative Rules Division.

Michigan Gaming Control Board spokesperson Mary Kay Bean indicated last week that the agency hopes to host a public hearing on the rules in September.

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