Sports betting became legal in Michigan in 2019, but it took until March 2020 for retail betting to launch at the three commercial and over a dozen tribal-run retail casinos. With the global pandemic hindering initial growth, the launch of mobile sports betting arrived in January 2021 not a moment too soon.
Within the first 10 days of online betting, bettors placed over $100 million in wagers, making the launch a huge success. A year on, Michigan boasts one of the most diverse and liberal sports betting and online gambling markets in the US.
Top MI Online Sportsbooks 2022
Best MI mobile sports betting apps
As of now, there are 14 mobile betting apps live in Michigan with a 15th likely coming soon. Incidentally, 15 is the maximum number of betting apps that are permitted in the state according to licensing regulations.
Depending on your needs in a mobile sports betting app, you may choose a different app than the ones we have listed below. Given the excellent selection available in Michigan, it wasn’t easy for us to take the best picks and introduce them to you. Each app has different strengths and weaknesses. So, let’s take a look at the best MI mobile sports betting apps:
FanDuel: FanDuel is a great option for anyone who likes a simple interface that is supremely user-friendly. Bettors will find same-game parlays in this app, great college football betting and excellent odds. Somewhat lacking is their promotions section, but overall, you can’t go wrong with FanDuel in MI.
BetRivers: one of the best apps when it comes to getting a great welcome offer and regular rewards. But they also have a solid variety of sports to bet on and a good selection of markets. BetRivers is available for iOS and Android, though the app does not run as smooth as the others listed here.
DraftKings: during opening weekend in Michigan, DraftKings’ mobile app was the most downloaded in the state. This is hardly surprising as we get a very user-friendly app with a great selection of sports and markets. Their bet carousel makes for a betting experience tailored to your preferences and you should check out their betting pools as well.
PointsBet: entering more and more states in the US and for good reason. Their PointsBetting system makes them unique. It allows players to win or lose more than their original wager, depending on how correct or incorrect their original wager was. It’s definitely a better option for experienced bettors, mind you.
History of betting and online sports betting in MI
Michigan’s sports betting landscape would be nothing without the commercial and tribal casinos that have already been established in the state.
As it happened, the first ever tribal casino in the US opened in 1984. The Kings Club Casino, which is owned and operated by the Bay Mills Indian Community is located in Brimley, Michigan.
In its wake, 11 more tribes opened their own casinos in the next few years, and in 1996 Michigan voters even approved the opening of three commercial casinos in Detroit. At the same time, the Michigan Gaming Control Board was created.
Whilst PASPA remained firmly in place, the first steps to legalised sports betting in Michigan were already taken in 2015/16. It was Rep. Robert Kosowski whose bills were aimed at allowing casinos to offer sports betting. The bills didn’t go very far, but at least they started the conversation around legalising sports betting in MI.
The next bills were introduced in 2017, which even passed through the Committee on Regulatory Reform. Ultimately, one bill was passed in 2018, but then-Governor Rick Snyder vetoed it during his final days in office.
At the same time P.A.S.P.A. was overturned by the Supreme Court. Whilst new Governor Gretchen Whitmer had initially been opposed to a gambling extension bill (partly because it was championed by the state’s Republicans), she eventually allowed the package to pass. Her fears that the new gambling laws could impact the lottery (which funds education in MI) seemed to have been alleviated.
The state managed to reach an agreement which included all existing tribal and commercial casinos and established regulations surrounding sports betting as well as online casino gambling.
In March 2020, the fist in-person sports bets were accepted, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, casinos had to shut down. Since the regulations for online betting had not yet been finalised, the market stalled.
Whilst the first commercial casinos began accepting sports bets in March 2020, those casino had to close down only days later due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The rules and regulations for online betting hadn’t been finalised yet and were only passed in December 2020.
Finally, online betting launched in January 2021.
In Michigan, there are three commercial casinos (all located in Detroit) and 23 tribal casinos, which are run by a dozen Native American tribes. This resulted in a total of 15 licenses being issued, which allowed all casinos to partner with one online bookmaker to offer online sports betting.
Future of sports betting in MI
At the time of writing, 14 of 15 sports betting licensees had partnered up and launched mobile sports betting in Michigan. A final 15th app has yet to launch but is expected to do so soon.
Even though the beginnings were somewhat delayed, Michigan have become of the most gambling-friendly states that have thus far legalised sports betting. As one of the few states to allow not just online sports betting but also online casinos and online poker, they are offering the full range of online gambling currently available in the US.
Additionally, the sports betting revenue is taxed at a rate of only 8.4%, which is lower than in most other states. Only the three commercial casinos in Detroit pay an additional 1.25% city tax.
Given that the market is saturated and there really is nothing that needs to be improved (as far as we can tell), sports betting in Michigan can only grow from here on in. Indeed, their model is the one other states should aspire to, though it would have to be adapted in states that have no tribal or commercial casinos.
The future of sports betting in MI is bright and even the most ardent opponents would be unlikely to change that given the revenue the state makes even at low tax rates on sports betting.
How to get started in MI with a sportsbook or mobile betting app
Of course, the initial challenge will be to find the sportsbook you want to sign up at. With such a great selection of potential candidates, you will first have to do your research to find out which mobile betting app is most suitable to you. Our sportsbook reviews will help you here, of course.
Keep in mind that you can always try out several apps before settling on the one that suits you best.
No matter which mobile betting app you will ultimately choose, registering an account is usually a straightforward affair and works very similar for all apps:
- Download and install the betting app on your mobile device
- Launch the app and click on the “Register” or “Sign up” button
- Complete all your details (address, email address, user name, age, last four digits of your SN, etc.) – the legal age in MI for sports betting is 21
- Submit your information and confirm your email address
- Once your account is created, you can make your first deposit
- Claim the welcome bonus in the same step (be sure to use the required code if there is one)
- Start browsing your favourite sports to find your teams and betting options to start betting
This is usually done in a matter of minutes, though you should also be aware that you will need to verify your location. Most sportsbooks will give you a recommendation which geo-location app to install so that your location within MI borders can be ascertained.
Finally, only register an account at licensed betting apps in MI as they are the safest option for you.
What sports can you place wagers on in MI?
Needless to say, Michiganders love and support their home teams above any others. This is also reflected in the betting behaviour in the state. Most mobile betting apps reflect this as well, as the primary options you will see are for Michigan teams.
Here are some sports and teams you will want to check out.
The Detroit Lions are four-times NFL champions, though their last victory occurred in 1957. Unfortunately, they have also never won the Super Bowl because they never made the play-offs. Beloved by their fans, the Detroit Lions are safer to bet against if you want to win. But perhaps they will surprise us in the future.
The Detroit Pistons are three-times NBA champions with their last win occurring in 2004. They are not the strong team they used to be, which makes their long-standing rivalry with the Chicago Bulls somewhat baffling at this stage.
The Detroit Tigers are one of the oldest franchises in the MLB, having been founded in 1901. They have played the world series 11 times, winning four of those. They haven’t had a strong game for a number of years now, but seem to be getting back into the spirit of things, perhaps worthy of your support via a mobile betting app.
The Detroit Red Wings are certainly the safest bet of any Michigan franchise. They have won the Stanley Cup 11 times already and are one of the most popular NHL franchises overall. Whilst their last Stanley Cup win was a while ago, they still have one of the longest playoff streaks in NHL history, lasting from 1991 to 2016.
Betting on college football in MI is legal and does not have the same restrictions many other states impose. As such, the lively college sports scene in Michigan can be fully enjoyed by bettors, which includes betting on the Wolverines football team. As the team with the most wins in College Football history, they remain a favourite even though their last victory was in 1997. They do have two division titles from 2018 and 2021, making them a solid bet still.
You will also find plenty of betting options for the Eagles, Spartans, Broncos and Chippewas college football, of course. And keep an eye out for their basketball and hockey teams.
Usually, the bigger colleges are featured more frequently in most betting apps, but the smaller schools will be available as well.
MI Sports Betting FAQ
No, but it is important that you are located within MI borders when registering an account or when using the sportsbook app. You will be required to download a geo-location app to verify your location as well. And you must be 21 years or older to sign up to sportsbook.
All operators pay 8.4% in taxes on their gross sports betting revenue. Only the three commercial casinos in Detroit have to pay an additional 1.25% city tax.
Yes, it is. Online gambling and online poker have both been legalised in the gambling expansion bill in 2019. Michigan is one of the few states to offer full online gambling and sports betting.
Yes, there is nothing stopping you from doing so. But since these books are not legal or regulated, signing up and betting here is not safe and strongly discouraged.
Yes. DFS was also legalised with the gambling expansion bill in 2019.