FanDuel Partners Detroit Casino For Michigan Access

MotorCity Casino

Legal sports betting (retail at least) is coming soon to Michigan and FanDuel has moved to secure its market access via a deal with MotorCity Casino, Detroit.

As is the case in other states that have legalized sports betting, operators must partner with authorized casinos to offer betting action and, under Michigan law, each of the state’s casinos (three commercial plus nearly two dozen tribal-owned) can license a single operator, or ‘skin’ as they are known in the industry.

So for an operator like FanDuel, which doesn’t own a physical property in the Wolverine State, this allows them to enter the state’s gambling space for both retail and online operations.

However, with many regulations concerning online/mobile wagering still to be drawn up, it might be 2021 before those operations begin, with some experts suggesting next year’s Super Bowl as a realistic target date.

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Casinos gearing up for March Madness

In the meantime, moves are already underway at the three commercial casinos in Detroit to open retail sportsbooks and they are sounding hopeful of opening their doors in time for the NCCA’s men’s basketball tourney, which tips off on March 17.

Final approval for that to happen is expected to be given by the Michigan Gaming Control Board when they meet next week (10th), and that would then allow the three casinos (MGM Grand, MotorCity and Greektown) to accept wagers via kiosks or betting windows.

As there are no restrictions on in-state college teams, unlike in some other states such as New Jersey, bettors will be able to wager on local programs like Michigan State during March Madness, which is historically the most wagered on annual sports event in the U.S.

All the popular basketball wagering bets will be available, including moneyline, spread, parlay, teaser and in-game bets, as well as futures wagers before the tournament begins.

Other operators jockeying for position

With just one skin allowed for each casino, operators have moved quickly to find a betting partner in the state and the two remaining commercial casinos in Detroit have already been taken off the table.

Las Vegas casino giant MGM Resorts, owners of the Grand Detroit, is expected to provide betting services through their joint venture with European-based GVC Holdings, Roar Digital.

Roar’s sports betting brand is BetMGM and that is already live in New Jersey, Nevada, West Virginia and Indiana.

The Greektown Casino was acquired by Penn National Gaming last year and that operator recently purchased a 36% stake in digital sports media company, Barstool Sports Inc.

As a result, the Bar Stool bets brand is heading to several states and may well debut at the Michigan property.

There are nearly two dozen tribal-owned casinos in Michigan, with the potential for one ‘skin’ at each, but even here competition is hotting up.

Australian bookmaker PointsBet recently announced its own market access to Michigan through a tribal deal, which will see it launch its own-branded online/mobile product in the state.

The Stars Group, which brings a couple of brands to the table in Fox Bet and PokerStars, have announced a similar deal to allow them to offer real-money sports betting, poker and casino games.

And last week it was the turn of British-based William Hill, which sealed its market access through a deal with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB), subject to regulatory approval.

As a result of that deal, the operator can open branded sportsbooks at two GTB-owned properties, including the Turtle Creek Casino in Williamsburg, with online operations to follow once the rules for online sportsbooks and casinos have been finalized.

It’s expected that the majority of the state’s tribal-owned casinos will pursue some kind of sports betting operations.

Michigan a blueprint for success?

Sports betting within the state’s limits was signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer at the end of 2019, and that’s not all as online casino and poker as well as fantasy sports were legalized at the same time

This sweeping batch of legislation could prove a blueprint for success for other states where legalization is currently on the agenda – as many as 19 have at least one sports betting bill active in its legislature – and even make some of those that have already legalized, but not fully, to think again.

Both Rhode Island and Iowa are paying the price in terms of disappointing tax revenues having made it a requirement for in-person registration at authorized casinos, though that’s only in place in the Hawkeye State through Dec.31, 2020.

Mobile registration is a contentious issue in Nevada, with some experts calling on the state to reconsider its sports betting regulations to allow it, while New York shot itself in the foot by allowing sports betting only at upstate retail locations.

Michigan, which is the nation’s 10th-largest state by population, is poised to become the the third largest to start accepting sports wagers, after New York and Pennsylvania, and its long term potential as a market is enormous.

Indeed, some experts are predicting it could generate as many as $8 billion in sports bets annually and around $500 million in gross operator revenue, with the state taking a 8.4% share of that in taxes. The Detroit casinos have to pay an additional 1.25%  tax to the city.

Why not follow us over on Twitter @Gamble_usa for more legal sports betting news across the US.

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