It was just a few weeks ago that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation into law allowing the state to offer online casino gaming and sport betting. As 2020 begins, the state is now seeing gaming companies start to work out partnerships with land-based operators. This week, two new deals were announced, and apparently more are in the works.
The Stars Group
Let’s start with The Stars Group. The company has announced a signed deal with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority. The deal gives The Stars Group the opportunity to offer online operations in all verticals including online casino gaming, poker and sports betting.
Before the brand can operate in Michigan, they must be given licensing and regulatory approval. This should be easy to do considering the company has already been operating in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for quite some time.
The Little Traverse Bay Bands that the online operator is working with owns three casinos in the state, including the Odawa Casino Resort. With the agreement with The Stars Group, the tribe will earn a share of online gaming revenues for offering market access to the brand.
A second deal announced this week comes from PointsBet. An Australia based sports betting operator, PointsBet will be offering services via the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. This group has a gaming venue in Watersmeet known as the Northern Waters Casino Resort.
The deal between the two only focuses on online gaming for now. Negotiations are ongoing regarding a retail sportsbook operation for the tribe by PointsBet. For online operations, the brand will be offering sports betting and online casino gaming in the state.
More to Come
As the online gambling market begins in Michigan, the number of partnerships will only continue to grow. Big companies like The Stars Group wasted no time in getting in on the online gaming action to help build their brand across the US as more states open up to the iGaming industry.
We expect that more partnerships will be announced in the near future and possibly by major companies like WSOP/888 and partypoker. It is expected that partypoker will be working with the MGM Grand of Detroit as there is an existing deal between MGM Resorts International and GVC, the parent company of partypoker.
The Firekeepers tribal casino vice president of marketing, Jim Wise, announced that they are in negotiations for a sports betting deal and an announcement may be made this week.
While partnerships are being signed, we still have no idea when the online gaming industry will launch in Michigan, be it sports betting, online poker or casino gaming. If Pennsylvania is any indication as to how long it could take, we may be waiting years before iGaming sites launch in the state.
For now, we remain optimistic that the partnership deals will lead to a quick launch and players will be able to enjoy iGaming, be it by the end of the year or possibly in early 2021.