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Michigan Gaming Control Board authorizes new round of online gambling operators

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

The Michigan Gaming Control Board on Friday authorized additional operators to launch online gaming and sports betting in the state, joining an initial group that launched last week.

MGCB said it had authorized casino operator the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, with its online gaming platform provider Poker Stars and its online sports betting provider FoxBet, to launch at 11 a.m. Friday.

Sports betting kiosk are fully active at the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit.

Additionally, Detroit's Greektown Casino and platform provider Penn Sports Interactive/Barstool Sportsbook & Casino were authorized to launch online gaming at 11 a.m. Monday. Greektown launched online sports betting Jan. 22.

"We welcome the addition of Odawa Casino, Poker Stars, Fox Bet and Barstool Casino to Michigan's growing online gaming and sports wagering market," Richard Kalm, the board's executive director, said in a statement. "Their participation will generate revenue to support education, tribal communities and the city of Detroit."

He noted that Odawa Casino and Poker Stars will be the first in the state to offer peer-to-peer poker games online. "A law permitting multi-jurisdictional poker recently was signed in Michigan, but is not yet in effect and cannot begin until agreements are negotiated with other states," according to MGCB.

Odawa and Greektown will be the ninth and 10th casinos, respectively, to offer both online gaming and sports betting in the state. The other operators and platform providers are:

  • Bay Mills Indian Community, DraftKings
  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, William Hill
  • Hannahville Indian Community, TwinSpires
  • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Golden Nugget Online Gaming
  • Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Rush Street
  • MGM Grand Detroit, BetMGM/Roar Digital
  • MotorCity Casino, FanDuel
  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Wynn

The Lac Vieux Desert Tribe and its provider, PointsBet, may offer online sports betting only.

Michigan's law legalizing online gambling, signed at the end of 2019, allows only the state's licensed casinos to offer the two forms of gambling. Platform providers can pair up with the casinos.

Last week's launch generated what industry analysts, operators and platform providers described as massive interest from fans, fueling expectations that Michigan will grow to become one of the country's largest markets for legal online gambling.

Michigan Sharp, a website that covers Michigan's online gambling industry, analyzed Google Trends data and found that Michigan's online sports betting launch generated more interest than any other in the past year. 

And data from GeoComply, which provides geolocation tracking services for the internet gaming industry, reported that Michigan and Virginia, both of which launched online gambling late last week, combined for 7.5 million online gambling transactions across 400,000 accounts during their launches. Most of that would have come from Michigan, which had 10 operators online to Virginia's two.

MGCB will report January revenue for the two forms of gambling next month.

jgrzelewski@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @JGrzelewski