Michigan was known for the longest time as a global leader in car manufacturing, and much of the state was built off the back of companies like Ford and Chevrolet. As the automobile industry collapsed, many of the jobs were lost, and plants closed, leaving the state with a gaping hole in tax revenues.
Gambling is one area that has stepped up to fill that gap, and with the ever-changing climate across the United States, the northern state has a chance to be a leader in the industry into the future. Let’s review the current gambling laws in Michigan and how they may change in coming years.
Sports Betting in Michigan
Today, sports betting is illegal in Michigan. However, there has been a long history of illegal bookmaking in the state, especially centered around Detroit where auto workers looked to gamble their high wages. There have been efforts to curb the illegal gambling in the state, but with the potential of regulated gambling around the corner, there is real potential to shut down many of these gambling rings. As of the end of 2018, there was no legislation tabled to regulate sports betting, but given how the state has approached the other forms of modern gambling, we don’t expect Michigan residents will have to wait much longer.
Online Sports Betting
Given how much gambling takes place in the state, and how popular both the professional fan college teams are in Michigan, it isn’t too surprising to hear that online sportsbooks do excellent amounts of business there. In the absence of any state-regulated gaming, online sportsbooks fill in the gap and millions of dollars are gambled each day on these sites. Thankfully their glory days are likely to be over soon as the likelihood of a Michigan online sports betting law to be passed soon is very high.
Horse Betting in Michigan
Horse betting has seen a decline in popularity across the country for quite some time, and the impact of this can be felt in Michigan. One of the only two race tracks closed in 2018, leaving just one facility providing live racing action in the state. Now, that doesn’t mean that people have fewer choices for races to bet on – the simulcasting at the track allows gamblers to get their fix at some tracks across North America.
There are those who are hopeful that the track will find new ownership and reopen, but at this time it doesn’t seem likely. Also, there are no off-track betting facilities in the state, so perhaps when there is an introduction of sports betting regulations, there will be an opportunity to add these to the mix for those who are keen to bet on the horses but don’t want to make their way to the track.
Online Horse Betting
Michigan is one of a handful of states that have taken a progressive approach to online betting, including pari-mutuel betting. In 2017 a bill was tabled that would introduce legal online horse wagering, but for the time being nothing has materialized. Anyone that wants to bet on horses online is not out of luck though, as companies like Twinspires and XpressBet are open for business online. These sites allow players to create and fund accounts and then watch races via live stream while making bets from their computers or mobile devices.
Casino Gambling in Michigan
Casino gambling has had a long history in the state as well. As with many states, casinos began to crop up on tribal land, and after arguing back and forth about their legitimacy, the state entered a compact with the twelve tribes that can be found in Michigan. From there, many official casinos opened, and at last check, there were more than 20 different tribal gaming properties across the state.
Seeing that these casinos were an excellent way to raise much-needed tax dollars, the state made plans to allow private entities to open casinos as well. In 1996, with the car industry in shambles, the state passed a resolution that allowed for a handful of non-tribal casinos to be opened. The first to do so was MGM in 1999, and now there are a couple more that have thrown their hats in the ring. While the product offering varies by title in these casinos, there are all the standard table games and slots that gamblers love to play.
Online Casinos in Michigan
Again, Michigan has taken steps to give their land-based casinos the opportunity to offer their games online. A bill passed in 2018 that would give the land-based companies online licenses, but for the time being no regulations have been written or licenses issued. This situation is not likely to perdure much longer and we are willing to bet that an online casino license will soon be offered in Michigan as well.
With so many casinos operating in the state, it is likely that a healthy competition will occur online and this is good for the players.
Each casino will have a little bit of a different offering, and this can be seen in the bonuses offered to first-time depositors. If you are a slots player, you are going to want to find an online casino that has a bonus that combines free spins with bonus dollars so you can maximize your play from each dollar you are spending with the site. Finding casinos that have loyalty plans that match your player behavior is another way to get the most out of your time playing online. Our reviews cover all the major promotions being offered by each site, summarized for you, so you don’t have to do much research.
Lottery in Michigan
The Michigan Lottery has been a fixture in the state for several decades. Today, the lottery is responsible for funding several important social programs in the state, and this money comes from the proceeds from the draw games and scratch tickets that have become popular across the country. The largest lottery game that Michigan residents can play is the Powerball game which has awarded prizes well into the hundreds of millions in the past!
Michigan Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Michigan?
At this time, sports betting is not legal in Michigan. However, there are rumblings about new laws being passed so this situation is likely to change in 2019.
When will sports betting be legal in Michigan?
There is good news on the horizon for Michigan residents who are waiting for legalized sports betting before starting to gamble themselves. The odds are that we will see sports betting legislation tabled in 2019, and given how progressive the state has been about online casinos, we expect the bill to be voted into law very quickly. Our best guess is that the first legal sports bet will be taken in Michigan before the end of 2019.
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of Michigan?
Every time we are asked that question, we respond with a question of our own: What are you looking for from an online sportsbook? If you are looking for particular bets or more obscure leagues, then some types of sites are better than others. If you are looking for a primarily mobile experience, then we can recommend a different set of sites. Your best bet is to start with the sites we recommended on this page, and then if you want to do more research, check out our full review section where you will find more casinos that we recommend. No matter what you should feel comfortable that our team of experts has provided unbiased opinions – we are all gamblers ourselves, so we wouldn’t send you to a site we wouldn’t play at with our money. Each of these sites offers something slightly different, from sites that have only sports betting to those that offer poker and casino for a more well-rounded gambling experience. Most importantly, each of these sites passes our experts’ tests for quality of service, the speed of bets, and overall game and bet selection. We think you will be very happy if you select any of these sportsbooks, but we also encourage you to read each review in full, so you know what made our experts so happy with each operator.