Tribal Casinos in Michigan Preparing for iGaming

The state of Michigan is the next in line to offer online casino gambling in the United States. Steps were taken recently to see the rules portion of the process move forward. Lawmakers are hoping that services will launch by the end of the year, or at least by early 2021. There are three commercial casinos operating in the state, all located in the Detroit area. They are eligible for iGaming licensing. There are also several tribal casinos throughout the state that can offer services. Operators of the tribal venues are already reporting they are preparing to get started with services as quickly as they can.

Need Approval

The tribal casinos are not regulated by the state as they are located on sovereign lands. The operators can make decisions without the need to follow state mandated orders. However, to be able to get started with online gambling, the operators must be approved for services. This means that gaming regulators must approve a digital platform that will be provided before services can launch.

Gun Lake Casino is one venue that is ready to get started with online gaming. General manager and vice president of the property, Jose Flores, said that they will be ready when the time comes to launch. He said the brand has been working for the better part of 2020 on getting ready to launch.

The casino has offered on-site sports betting since October and already, the property has seen a nice growth in revenue numbers. Flores stated further that once online betting is live in the state, the casino’s reach will grow much further.

Gun Lake plans to launch sports betting and sees the online option as a way to provide people throughout the state with betting options. If players can’t make it to the casino to bet on a big game, they can do so via mobile or desktop. The convenience factor will be a huge driver for revenues in the state.

Firekeepers to Enter the Fray

The Firekeepers Casino also plans on entering the iGaming world. They were the first tribal casino to begin offering land-based sports betting when they launched in June and they look forward to online services as well.

VP of marketing for the brand, Jim Wise, commented that iGaming will go hand in hand with the existing land-based business. He pointed out that the online industry has proven to not affect brick and mortar business in other states, so Firekeepers has invested greatly in moving online.

Players will be able to use a website or app to wager. They will feel confident knowing the services will come straight from Firekeepers instead of a corporate operator, according to Wise.

Both tribal operators plan to use the revenues that come from online gambling to help fund tribal efforts as well as support charities.

With so many operators ready to jump into the new industry at once, we should see the market skyrocket rather quickly. It is expected that hundreds of millions will be earned fairly quickly once the market gets off the ground.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.