Detroit casinos can launch onsite sports gambling Wednesday

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Detroit — The city's three casinos will be able to offer onsite sports betting starting at 1 p.m. Wednesday,  the Michigan Gaming Control Board announced Friday.

The gaming board on Tuesday plans to give final approval to the new rules signed into law last year.

Detroit’s three commercial casinos are expected to make formal presentations during the Tuesday meeting, but the board in a Friday statement said the casinos have met “all preliminary requirements” to go live Wednesday afternoon with wagers placed at kiosks or betting windows.

Sports-betting kiosks have been installed at MGM Grand Detroit.

“With just 11 weeks to prepare, MGCB staff worked hard to make the launch of onsite sports betting at the Detroit casinos possible by March Madness,” Richard Kalm, the board’s executive director, said in a statement. “The casinos and their suppliers helped us by their timely efforts to share information we needed to authorize the gaming.”

The NCAA men's basketball tournament begins March 17, and long has been one of the premier sports events for casual and avid gamblers.

Suppliers to Detroit’s casinos had been issued provisional licenses earlier so the suppliers would be able to provide kiosks and other services ahead of the board’s final approval of the rules. Those suppliers are expected to be issued full licenses in the future, according to the board’s Friday statement.

The MGM Grand Detroit has installed two rows of sports-betting kiosks just outside the Moneyline Sports Lounge near the casino's hotel entrance. The casino announced Friday it would hold a reception starting Wednesday afternoon with "local sports legends" to launch the BetMGM Sportsbook. 

Michigan’s tribal casinos, which are not regulated by the board, will announce their start dates for sports betting separately, and most aren't expected to be ready as soon as Detroit's three casinos.

Firekeepers in Battle Creek doesn't expect to launch its sports betting options before March Madness, but hopes for a spring start. The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians said it plans to offer live sports betting in time for the fall football season at its two northern Michigan casinos.

Rules for online sports betting, fantasy sports and online gaming are expected to be complete early next year.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed sports betting into law in December, making Michigan the 20th state to legalize sports betting following the landmark ruling March 18 that allowed sports betting to expand beyond Nevada.

Staff Writer Tony Paul contributed.