An Overview of Michigan’s Gambling Market and a Breakdown of its Casino Games

by | May 17, 2023 | General | 0 comments

The first legal casinos in Michigan began operating in 1993. Since then, the casino industry in the state has grown steadily. Today it is one of the most popular states for gambling at land-based and online casinos. 

From lottery games to online gaming

Since 1972 lottery games and charity games have been legal in the state. Funds were directed to charitable foundations. The first land-based casino was on the land owned by the Saginaw Chippewa tribe. The state received two percent of the income from the casino.

Michigan first launched online poker in 2019 and legal online poker rooms had the same rules as the land-based poker rooms.  Michigan online gaming became legal in January 2021 with a handful of legal online casinos. They feature online slot machines, table games, sports betting, and more.

A popular land-based casino in Michigan is Play Gun Lake Casino. It is owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians. In 2021, Parx Casino launched its betPARX app based around the casino. It enables players to play a wide variety of online games and there are an ever-growing number of bonuses on offer. These include free spins and welcome bonuses. 

Regulation of Gambling in Michigan

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) regulates land-based and online casinos in the state. It ensures that gambling is fair. With the popularity of online games, it is essential to protect the interests of players. There are various requirements that have to be met to acquire a gambling license such as payment of an annual license fee and no criminal record. Only existing land-based casinos are able to apply for online gambling licenses. 

Any Michigan online casino that isn’t affiliated with a land-based commercial or tribal casino could be an illegal offshore casino site. Illegal offshore casino sites come with risks as there is no regulatory board or vetting process. 

Current legal gambling in Michigan

  • Land-based gambling (casinos, pari-mutuel, and retail sports betting)
  • Online gambling (online/mobile casinos, sports betting, online horse racing, DFS, and poker)
  • Lottery
  • Charitable gaming (bingo)

The minimum gambling age is 18 for lotteries, pari-mutuel, and bingo. The minimum legal age for casinos and sports betting is 21. Betting on dog racing is forbidden.

Benefits of gambling for the state

Today land-based casinos in the state are mainly popular among tourists and players looking for an authentic casino atmosphere. Online casinos have become extremely popular as they offer the convenience of being able to play anywhere and at any time. 

Looking at the US gambling market size shows that it is growing all the time. West Virginia and Delaware legalized online gambling much earlier than Michigan, yet they aren’t performing as well. 

In 2022, Michigan online casinos alone contributed almost $2 billion to the state’s budget according to the Gaming Control Board. The state received over $300 million in taxes and payments from operators. New Jersey has always been a top-performing online gambling state but Michigan could soon be giving it a run for its money.

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