There are little nuances in each state that make the sports betting discussion so much fun. One of the states that comes to mind is Michigan. Motor City Casino in downtown Detroit is owned by Marian Ilitch, who, yes, is part of the family that owns the Red Wings and the Tigers. Greektown Casino, which is a hop, skip, and a jump from Ford Field and Comerica Park, is coming under the JACK Entertainment umbrella, which is owned by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

That leaves MGM to be the casino at the forefront in Detroit, but there are other casinos and race tracks throughout the state. It certainly makes for an extremely interesting discussion. Michigan is also a large state and a state that was hit very hard by the auto industry’s collapse last decade. There are some needs that sports betting revenue could help fill. As usual, there are those that support betting and those that oppose betting, but Michigan is a state that already has seen a pretty significant expansion of gambling.

Ah, but let’s add another layer to the fun. Along with conflicts of interest in the state’s biggest city, there are Indian casinos in Michigan, namely FireKeepers and Kewadin, and Soaring Eagle. In fact, most of the state’s casinos are run by Native American tribes. Keeping those tribes happy is more than just a speed bump for Michigan’s representatives.

Michigan will get a little bit of pressure from neighboring states, as Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois should all be moving quickly. Also, right across the Detroit River over the Ambassador Bridge or through the Holland Tunnel, Caesars Windsor has a sportsbook with Proline betting through the Ontario Provincial Lottery.

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The Native American tribes are a huge point of contention. Matthew Kredell at Online Poker Report addressed online gaming provisions on the table in Michigan, but also mentioned sports betting.

Discussion began before PASPA was even struck down, but State Representative Brandt Iden actually made the call that Michigan would legalize sports betting by the end of the year. His fellow state congressmen weren’t exactly on board.

Crain’s Detroit Business weighed in on what the May 14 Supreme Court ruling could mean for the three casinos in the Motor City.

The Detroit Free Press talked about early bills in Congress regarding sports betting and an expansion of gambling back on May 14.

It would appear that Michigan is in great shape now, as internet gaming was approved on June 12 per the Detroit Free Press. That would be a huge stepping stone to offering mobile sports betting.


While Rep. Iden was pretty adamant that we’d see betting in Michigan by the end of the year, that seems unlikely. Getting it through would help in Detroit, to an extent, but satisfying the Native American tribes that run most of the state’s casinos is another story. Michigan will get sports betting eventually, but the current timeframe is unclear. Legislative sessions resume in the fall, so it is possible, but the Native American tribes haven't said much for or against the expansion of gaming via sports betting.

Neighboring States