Michigan to Begin Accepting Online Sports Bets Friday at Noon

Jan 22, 2021 08:01Tim Ronaldson
Michigan offers mobile sports betting

Starting Friday, January 22, people in Michigan can start placing sports wagers online. It's been a long time in the making, too.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the state's sports betting legislation into law on December 20, 2019, but it's taken various agencies 13 months to get everything in place to roll out mobile sports wagering.

Now, starting this Friday at noon, people within the state can wager on sports from their computers and mobile devices.

Michigan's Sports Betting Laws

The Lawful Sports Betting Act authorized businesses that already have (or had) casino licenses to begin offering sports betting operations. It also gave Native American tribes that offer gambling at their casinos the ability to offer sports wagering.

As was the case in many other states, in-person wagering was the first to roll out. It's very simple for these already-existing casinos to simply open a sportsbook and begin offering sports wagering. Mobile wagering tends to lag behind a bit, though not often as long as it did in Michigan.

When Michigan legalized sports wagering, the state's Department of Treasury said they estimated it would bring in roughly $19 million in additional revenue -- once mobile and in-person wagering was offered.

Things certainly have changed since that initial estimate. In addition to the slower rollout of mobile wagering, the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered casinos in the state for a while, putting a halt to sports wagering. In-person wagering hasn't come back as fast as land-based casinos in Michigan would've liked, which accentuates the importance of mobile wagering.

Michigan's online wagering laws are mostly similar to that of other states. People must be at least 21 years old to wager, except at some tribal casinos where some people only need to be 18 years old.

Players must be physically located in the state of Michigan to place an online wager. This means people from out of state can come to Michigan and legally wager on sports. It also means Michigan residents won't be able to wager online when they're traveling out of state.

The biggest difference in Michigan's online sports betting laws is bettors won't be banned from wagering on in-state collegiate teams. This means you can bet on the University of Michigan and Michigan State University games -- plus many more. Other states such as New Jersey ban this practice, meaning you can't wager on Rutgers University games in New Jersey.

Where Online Wagers Will Be Offered

Michigan awarded 15 online sportsbook licenses. Starting at noon on Friday, January 22, nine of those online sportsbooks are expected to accept wagers.

Many popular national and international brands will offer an online sportsbook in Michigan. Some of these include:

  • DraftKings
  • William Hill
  • Barstool
  • FanDuel

Also included are casino-specific platforms such as BetMGM, Wynn, TwinSpires and Golden Nugget. Each online sportsbook must have a land-based partner.

It's possible that the state could add more sportsbook licenses in the future, though it will probably keep it at the 15 initial ones until they see how things go.

The online wagering will come at a good time for Michigan. Since it'll begin so early in the year, the state will have a great opportunity to see how it pans out over a full year. While the pandemic is likely to affect sports -- and sports wagering -- throughout the year, there are many big sporting events in the near future.

The NFL's Super Bowl is scheduled for early February. The NCAA has plans to hold a full-fledged March Madness men's basketball tournament in March -- albeit all in Indianapolis, Indiana.

These big betting events are likely to give Michigan a good measuring stick of how online sports betting performs in only its first few months in operation.

Tim Ronaldson
Lady Liberty
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Tim Ronaldson is a writer, blogger and marketer. He loves all things sports, especially covering the sports betting industry. He joined the AmericaGambles Team 2020 and is mainly responsible for columns and extensive reportage articles.
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