Michigan Sportsbook Reviews
Michigan is later to the online sports betting game than some other states, but that is OK. Better late than never, as they say. Online sports betting officially launched in Michigan on January 22, 2021. Here’s how we got to this point.
In December 2019, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 4916 into law, legalizing sports betting in casinos, online and via sportsbook apps in the state. Two more bills were passed to help in addition to sports betting. Those bills were HB 4308, which legalized daily fantasy sports, and HB 4311, which allows for online casino and poker.
The first three sportsbooks in the state to take bets were the MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino around March of 2020. However, they never really took off due to the COVID-19 shakeup.
Now, hopefully, when things finally get back to normal at some point, you will be able to see the full extent of these three commercial casinos along with the 23 tribal operations in the state. The uncertainty of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic means you may not be able to see all of these partnerships until the beginning of 2021 at best.
Michigan Online Sportsbooks
Bettors in Michigan will have access 15 legal online sportsbooks: one from each of the three commercial casinos, and then one apiece from each of the 12 federally recognized Native American tribes that operate casinos in the state. Several partnerships have already been announced involving tribes, sportsbooks and even internet gambling operators.
PointsBet Sportsbook has partnered with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, which owns and operates the Northern Waters Casino Resort on its reservation in Watersmeet. PointsBet has also partnered with the Detroit Tigers in MLB.
Fox Bet has partnered with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority. The Fox Bet sportsbook is the result of a partnership between Fox Sports and Canadian-based company The Stars Group, which is most likely best known for its PokerStars brand. The company did away with BetStars in favor of Fox Bet after a May 2019 agreement between the broadcasting and gambling companies, rebranding with Colin Cowherd and other Fox Sports figures.
William Hill has partnered with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, bringing one of the world’s largest and most popular sportsbooks to Michigan. The primary William Hill retail sportsbook in the state will have its location at the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel in Williamsburg. It will also have a secondary satellite location, which will be at the Leelanau Sands on Suttons Bay.
FanDuel has partnered with MotorCity Casino in Detroit. FanDuel has been a fan favorite for years in the US. It seemingly has been able to dominate any market it enters, and you can look at its success in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Indiana.
BetMGM will offer its services in the MGM Grand Detroit. The retail sportsbook was able to take early bets in March 2020 until everything shut down. BetMGM’s online sportsbook was one of the first to go live.
One more addition just announced was the FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek. It is the first tribal casino to launch a retail sportsbook facility. Dacey’s Sportsbook is the name, and it offers betting kiosks and a staffed window. The retail operation is also being powered by Scientific Games. However, it still is in search of an online gambling partner.
Other top sportsbooks that are open in Michigan or are very likely to enter the state through similar partnerships are as follows:
Michigan Sportsbook Partnerships
Here is the full list of sportsbooks that are either already announced or have talked about partnerships to enter the Michigan market. The casinos are paired with their sportsbooks as follows:
- MGM Grand Detroit — BetMGM
- Greektown Casino Hotel — Barstool (Projected)
- MotorCity Casino Hotel — FanDuel
- FireKeepers Casino Hotel — TBD
- Odawa Casino Resort — Fox Bet (Stars Group)
- Odawa Casino, Mackinaw City — Fox Bet (Stars Group)
- Gun Lake Casino — DraftKings
- Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel — William Hill
- Leelanau Sands Casino — William Hill
- Northern Waters Casino Resort — PointsBet
- Little River Casino and Resort — BetRivers/Rush Street Interactive
- Bay Mills Resort & Casino — TBD
- Four Winds New Buffalo — To be Four Winds-branded, tech by Kambi
- Four Winds Hartford — To be Four Winds-branded, tech by Kambi
- Four Winds Dowagiac — To be Four Winds-branded, tech by Kambi
- Island Resort & Casino — TBD
- Kewadin Casino, Christmas — TBD
- Kewadin Casino, Hessel — TBD
- Kewadin Casino, Manistique — TBD
- Kewadin Casino, Hotel and Convention Center — TBD
- Kewadin Shores Casino, St. Ignace — TBD
- Kings Club Casino — TBD
- Ojibwa Casino, Marquette — TBD
- Ojibwa Casino Resort, Baraga — TBD
- Saganing Eagles Landing Casino — TBD
- Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort — TBD
What to look for in a Michigan sportsbook
If you are looking to get into sports betting, there are some things you should know first about the sportsbook itself before placing any bets. You can often look up reviews on select sportsbooks to find the best sportsbooks and sportsbook apps. This will also help you get a feel for how they operate.
It would also help to see what type of review it is. In other words, you want someone who has already done the work of trying things out versus a review that talks about the basic functions of the site.
You need to know who the bookmaker is, as well as where it is located, how it is licensed and the services it provides. Some sportsbooks operate both in-person and online. For an out-of-state gambler, you might not be able to fully use the app provided by the sportsbook or at least once you leave the state.
You might come across words or other things you are unsure about. Do not let this scare you away, as sportsbooks should have similar jargon across the board.
You want to look at how many payment methods the sportsbook provides. The types of payment methods will differ from one sportsbook to the next, and some specialize in credit rewards.
What licenses does Michigan offer for sports betting?
At the moment, there appears to be one license needed across the board. All 23 tribal casinos and the three Detroit commercial locations can seek out a sports betting license from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
The license application fee is $50,000. On top of that, the actual license costs $100,000. Then, each year the license has to be renewed at the cost of another $50,000.
Basics of sports betting
Just about all sports are available for betting in Michigan. Here are some basics that will help you out before you begin your sports betting journey:
- Favorites and underdogs
- Spread bets
- How much to wager
- Shopping around for lines
Favorites and underdogs
When bookies make the odds for an event, they have what is called the favorite to win and the underdog, which is less likely to win. You will see these odds with minus and plus signs. The favorite will have a minus sign, and the underdog will have a plus sign.
Those bets featuring favorites and underdogs are commonly categorized with a moneyline. These are the odds that show how much you stand to win should you wager correctly. For example:
- Team A: -150
- Team B: +200
By looking at Team A, you will see that it has a minus sign. This means it is the favorite to win. With these numbers, you would have to wager $150 to win $100. Since Team A is the favorite, you have to put more upfront because it is expected to win.
For Team B, you would be in line to potentially win $200 on a wager of $100. Since Team B is the underdog, if it wins you could see a higher return on your wager because Team B is expected to lose.
Spread bets are another way to bet on favorites and underdogs. You will see these very commonly in football, so we will look at an example of that.
- Team P: -7
- Team J: +7
Team P is favored to win. For your spread bet on Team P to win, the team must outscore its opponent by eight points or more. A bet on the underdog would need Team J to lose by six points or fewer or win the game outright.
This is a popular bet because it does not require you to bet on a winner. You are betting on what the combined score will be for both teams.
Take the NBA, for example. If you see a totals bet (over/under) at your sportsbook of 215, this means two things: You can bet over, meaning that you think the score for both teams combined will be 216 or more. Or you can bet the under, meaning you think the combined score will be 214 or lower.
How much to wager
This really boils down to your personal situation and how much you can afford to lose. If you have only $100 to gamble with, then $5 per bet is a reasonable amount without breaking the bank.
In total, if you stick to a plan and budget, you will be more successful long term. This is a great start to managing your money while betting on sports.
Shopping around for lines
This might be for sports bettors who have some experience with placing bets. However, you should definitely do this when you get the chance and are comfortable with it.
Checking more than one sportsbook is a great idea because you can check out certain events and see what the lines are like at each book. So if one has lines for an NFL game that you want to bet on, the other sportsbook might have better odds listed.
This might not seem like a big deal at first. But, if you do this often, you can minimize how much you wager and win more money.
Sportsbook terminology to know
Now that we have the basics out of the way, there is even more sports betting terminology that anyone can learn. You could put all of the words in an encyclopedia since there are so many, but here are just a few:
- Bankroll: This is the total amount of money that you have to wager.
- Chalk: Another word for a team that is a big favorite to win the game.
- Opening line: This is the absolute first point spread that is available for a game. Later on, these odds will change as the market fluctuates.
- Closing line: These are the point spreads that end once the game begins since no more bets are being taken for certain lines.
- Propositional bets (or props): These types of bets are usually fun or have nothing to do with the actual outcome of the game. For example, what team will win the coin toss? Will it be heads or tails?
Sportsbooks vs. betting exchanges
A betting exchange is a platform where people can become their own sportsbooks, so to speak. They can create certain prop bets to allow people to bet on, or they can wager on bets other people have created. The exchange will charge a fee for this service. Reputable ones will have some sort of escrow set up so players will be getting paid what they are owed to them.
A bookmaker might not provide a specific bet that you want to place, or the odds might not be right. A betting exchange comes in handy for these types of scenarios.
A sportsbook provides peace of mind that betting exchanges do not. As with the retail side of casinos, you can easily walk into your favorite one in Michigan and ask about the sportsbook to get a good idea of what you are getting into. Michigan has not clearly stated a stance on betting exchanges. However, no betting exchanges show signs of operating in the state yet.
The timing is uncertain due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the hope is that within the first quarter of 2021 Michigan sports betting will be in full operation. Indeed, the sports betting world is ready to take off in Michigan, but it’s uncertain when that will happen.
The convenience of mobile betting should be something that would entice new bettors. The ease of use that some of the sportsbooks offer can make or break the experience.
If you plan on getting in on the action, it would be wise to study up. You should check out various partnerships that are already established and learn some of the terminology to make your first bet easy for you.
When looking for a good sportsbook, check out reviews of ones that pique your interest. Compare and contrast between various ones that offer incentives or make the betting experience the best it can possibly be.
Overall, you have to remember that this is your money at play here. You are in control. You will have plenty of opportunities as things return to normal at some point and these sportsbooks become unified with casinos in Michigan.