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Gambling Laws in Michigan

Legal Online Gambling in Michigan

Key Details

  • Gambling is legal in Michigan under the Michigan Gaming Control & Revenue Act.
  • The legal age for gambling at casinos in Michigan is 21.
  • The Michigan Gaming Control Board is the agency responsible for licensing, regulating, and overseeing gambling in Michigan.
  • The Lawful Sports Betting Act legalized sports betting in Michigan in 2019.

Michigan Gambling History

Gambling in Michigan dates back to the early 1900s when pari-mutuel horse racing became authorized and regulated following the passage of the Racing Act of 1933.

The Executive Organization Act of 1965 authorized the creation of the Office of Racing Commissioner (ORC) as a separate agency inside the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Further amendments by the Racing Commissioner General Rules and the Horse Racing Law of 1995 affected the operations of the ORC. As of 2023, the commission is supplemented by the advisory body called the Horse Racing Advisory Commission.

On May 16, 1972, a state lottery was established by a constitutional amendment approved by voters by a 2-to-1 margin. Public Act 239 was subsequently passed into law on August 1, 1972. Public Act 382 was also passed to let nonprofit groups hold authorized bingo games, millionaire parties, raffles, and the sale of charity game tickets in 1972.

Additionally, it permitted vendors and bingo venues to get licenses. The Charitable Gaming Rules went into effect on March 12, 2007, following the revision of this Act.

Tribal Casinos in Michigan

The first tribal casino to open in Michigan was the Kings Club Casino in 1984. The club is run by the Bay Mills Indian Community. The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe became the first tribe to adopt a compact with the state in 1993. The tribe consented to transfer 2% of its earnings from Mount Pleasant's Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort. The Michigan Gaming Control & Revenue Act was approved and became law in 1997. It gave way to the opening of three legally recognized casinos in Detroit.

In the same year, the Michigan Gaming Control Board was established to regulate and license casinos, betting companies, and so on. A slew of laws legalizing online poker, fantasy sports, sports betting, and gambling online was approved by the Michigan legislature in December 2019.

Once the bills were passed, tribal and commercial casinos began to apply for sports betting and online gambling licenses. Examples of these laws passed include the Lawful Internet Gaming Act and the Lawful Sports Betting Act.

The Lawful Internet Gaming Act legalized all forms of online gambling throughout Michigan. Physical casinos can now create online gambling sites for Michigan residents to play games. The Lawful Sports betting Act, on the other hand, legalized sports betting in Michigan with a few exceptions.

Michigan Online Casino Laws

Online casinos were made legal by the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. The Act also legalized other forms of online gambling, such as sports betting, lotteries, and so on. The legislation was passed in 2019 to provide new ways for casinos to engage with players.

It was also brought in to regulate online gambling and assure a secure, responsible, and fair legal system for internet gambling in Michigan. The Act is also consistent and complies with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Under the Act, it is illegal for any individual to offer online gaming services without being an internet gaming operator.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is the agency responsible for regulating and overseeing online gambling in Michigan. The Board has the authority to administer, regulate, and enforce the system of online gambling created by this Act in addition to all other powers required to enable it to completely and efficiently carry out this Act.

It also has the power to provide for levies and obtain fines for the contravention of the Act’s provisions. The Board also has the power to revoke and suspend online casinos that go against the Act.

Obtaining a Gambling License
Gaming operators looking to set up online platforms must apply for a license to the Board. If the Board decides that an internet gambling operator continues to meet the eligibility and suitability requirements under this act, the license is renewable for an additional 5-year period. An internet gaming operator license issued under this act is valid for five years from the date of issuance.

In collaboration with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, PokerStars launched the first Michigan-based online poker platform in January 2021. These legal online poker operations follow the same regulations as a physical poker room in a tribal or Detroit casino. Below are some of the Michigan online casinos.

In-Person Casino Laws in Michigan

The legislation responsible for legalizing in-person casino gaming is the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act 1996. The Act provides for the licensing, regulation, and oversight of casino gaming enterprises, manufacturers, and distributors of gaming equipment and supplies and individuals who play games.

Additionally, the Act vests the power of regulating and controlling casinos in the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The act also imposes penalties and fines on those who do not strictly follow its provisions.

For instance, the act imposes civil penalties as high as $5,000 for single persons and $10,000 for casinos that violate provisions in the act. Additionally, anyone found to be running a gambling operation without the appropriate license has committed a felony and is liable to a fine of $100,000 and a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The body in charge of regulating and managing physical casinos in Michigan is the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The Board has the power to administer, regulate, and enforce the system of online gambling established by this Act. Additionally, it has the authority to establish levies and impose fines for violations of the Act's rules. In addition, the Board has the authority to cancel and suspend licenses for online casinos that violate the Act. Currently, there are 27 physical casinos in Michigan, and the Board licenses three of them they are:

  • Motor City Casino - Detroit
  • Greektown Casino - Detroit
  • MGM Casino - Detroit

The other 24 casinos are not under the Board’s jurisdiction due to Native American tribes being sovereign states. These tribal casinos are, therefore, regulated and licensed by the National Indian Gaming Commission and the government of the applicable tribal district. The following are some of the tribal casinos in Michigan:

  • Bay Mills Resort & Casino - Brimley
  • Kings Club Casino - Brimley
  • Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort - Mt. Pleasant
  • Four Winds Dowagiac - Dowagiac
  • Four Winds New Buffalo - New Buffalo
  • Saganing Eagles Landing Casino - Standish
  • Odawa Casino Resort - Petoskey

Additionally, the Act states that anyone under 21 years old is not allowed in a casino's gaming-related areas. However, this does not apply to employees of the casino who are at least 18 years old. Furthermore, it provides that only items from vendors who have been granted licenses under the act may be utilized to purchase or lease the usual gambling materials and equipment used in casino gambling.

Sports Betting Laws in Michigan

The Lawful Sports Betting Act legalized sports betting throughout the state of Michigan in 2019. The Act seeks to regulate and control sports betting in Michigan. This Act was brought in after the Professional, and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and gave states the power to legalize sports betting.

In 2020, legal sportsbooks officially opened and started taking bets in Michigan casinos. The Act outlines the minimum standards casinos that provide sports betting services must follow. It imposes penalties and fines on sports betting operators who fail to follow the requirements set out.

For instance, persons who offer sports betting services without having an operator’s license have committed a misdemeanor. They are also liable to a fine of $10,000 and a prison sentence not exceeding one year.

Residents and tourists in Michigan can wager on sports both in-person and online as of 2023. However, they cannot bet on some sports, such as horse racing and high school sports. Although, the restriction on betting on these events is subject to certain exceptions. For instance, players can bet on horse racing so far as it is pari-mutuel. They can also bet on high school athletic events as long as a majority of the participants are over 18 years old.

Players also need to be at least 21 years of age before they can make a wager. Asides from the aforementioned, residents and tourists in Michigan can make any type of sports betting. The most common sports players bet on in Michigan include basketball, football, baseball, and hockey.

The Lawful Sports Betting Act vests in the Michigan Gaming Control Board the authority to license sportsbook operators in Michigan The Board also regulates all forms of sports betting in the state. Also, internet sports betting can only be provided by sports betting operators which are legally operating casinos in Michigan. In Michigan, there are 15 online sportsbook operators currently in operation, and they are:

  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • Caesars Sportsbook
  • DraftKings
  • Eagle Casino & Sports
  • FanDuel
  • FireKeepers Sportsbook
  • Four Winds
  • FOX Bet
  • Golden Nugget
  • Play Gun Lake
  • PointsBet Sportsbook
  • SI Sportsbook
  • WynnBET

Daily Fantasy Site Laws in Michigan

Before 2019, daily fantasy games were technically legal since they were treated as games of skill. However, it was officially legalized under the Lawful Internet Gaming Act of 2019.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is the agency responsible for licensing and regulating daily fancy site operators in Michigan. Players must be 18 years old before they can participate in daily fantasy games. Operators are also mandated to verify the ages of all players.

Through November of 2020, the first year that daily fantasy sports in Michigan were regulated, more than $14.7 million in adjusted income was made. Of that figure, the state received new taxes totaling more than $1.2 million.

The popular daily fantasy sports operators licensed in Michigan include

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • Fantasy Football Players Championship
  • Yahoo Fantasy Sports
  • FullTime Fantasy Sports Network
  • SportsHub Games Network
  • Boom Shakalaka Inc.

Lottery Laws in Michigan

All the states in the US have differing gambling laws. The majority of states, however, now have official state lotteries—gambling games with cash prizes. Since the start of its operation in 1972, residents have had access to a variety of games, including scratchers, Keno!, Daily Three, Daily Four, Mega Millions, and Powerball.

Lotteries have evolved into a significant source of income for state governments, in addition to providing significant monetary rewards for the winners. Most states often designate proceeds to benefit charitable organizations, education, and other crucial governmental functions.

According to state lottery regulations in Michigan, the net revenue remaining after prizes and expenditures are paid—around 45 percent—must be deposited into the state school assistance fund, which helps to operate public education programs. You should also be aware that Michigan law imposes a one-year deadline for claiming lottery winnings before they are lost.

In 2019, online lottery games were made legal by the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. Following its legalization, the state introduced the Michigan lottery website.

Racing Betting Laws in Michigan

The Horse Racing Law of 1995 governs pari-mutuel horse racing in Michigan. The statute regulates the pari-mutuel system of betting on the outcomes of live and simulcast races at authorized racing meets in this state.

The law also creates the Office of Racing Commissioner. The Office is tasked with regulating, licensing, and overseeing matters about horse racing in Michigan. The Horse Racing Law also confers powers and duties on the Department of Agriculture. For instance, it gives the department an advisory role through the Horse Racing Advisory Commission.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) also issues licenses and governs the running of horse race meets in this state that offers pari-mutuel wagering on the outcomes of races, as well as the participants in such races and pari-mutuel gaming at such meetings. Michigan only has one horse track which is Noville Downs, located in Northville.

Pending Legislation on Gambling in Michigan

  • On December 2020, House Bill 6462 was introduced by Representative Brandt Iden. It is to make amendments to provisions for the allocation of taxes within the Lawful Sports Betting Act. The bill would mandate that 5% of the allocation go to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation rather than the AEIDF and, if conditions are met, to the Internet Sports Betting Fund. It will also revise the definition of athletic events for the act.

  • Introduced by Representative Brandt Iden in December 2020, House Bill 6463 seeks to amend a citation to the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act in light of House Bill 6464's proposed renumbering of its provisions.

  • House Bill 6464 is being introduced to repeal section 9c of the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act. If this bill is passed, individuals who hold casino licenses may now televise or provide avenues for another individual to televise simulcast horse races on the casino premises.

  • House Joint Resolution W, introduced by Representative Steven Johnson, to amend section 41 of Article IV of the Michigan Constitution. This amendment will allow for the expansion of gambling on the results of horse races.