Gambling has always been prevalent in the state of Michigan. It was first legalized in the 1930s, during the famous Great Depression. Since then, it has become a big part of the overall culture of the state, which is especially true for horse racing, as this form of gambling was the first to be legalized and the first to gain popularity.
Now, almost a century later, online gambling has become the norm of the entire world of gambling for Michiganders, in the same way it has been for players worldwide. Fortunately for the state’s casino players, online casinos are now fully legal, but as the law is still fairly new, there’s a lot a player like you needs to know. Let’s take a look.
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The short answer is yes. Online casinos and online poker games were legalized in the state of Michigan on December 20, 2019. The so-called Lawful Internet Gaming Act, or House Bill No. 4311, has effectively legalized all forms of online gambling, making online casinos fully legal. The only prohibitions in force are that operators can have a single online skin and that the casinos cannot offer multi-state games.
However, as the law is still fairly new, it hasn’t become fully effective yet. In essence, it’s still necessary for the regulators to put the legislation into practice. Then, casino operators need to apply and receive proper licensing for their gambling offers. After that, they need to build up the virtual infrastructure to comply with the state’s laws.
For all these reasons, online gambling is legal in the state, but it hasn’t gone live for players. It is expected that the first online gambling options will become available to Michigan-based players in the second part of 2020.
Additionally, it is currently estimated that online gambling will become fully available to Michigan-based players in 2021.
Naturally, until online casinos become fully available, you can gamble in other ways. At the moment, Michiganders can still play and enjoy off-track betting and online lottery. You can also play in offshore online casinos that unfortunately are not legal, but they are not illegal either. That’s because the state doesn’t prosecute Michigan-based players for using an offshore casino. What’s more, players from Michigan play in these casinos all the time without any problems, be them legal or of any other kind.
Land-based casinos have been legal in Michigan for a long time and, currently, you have the option to play in a total of 26 casinos — 23 tribal and 3 commercial. There, you can enjoy a wide variety of casino games like slots, table games, and many more.
Naturally, with the legalization of online gambling, all these casinos can apply for licenses to start offering virtual casino games. What’s more, chances for this are very high, because Michigan includes tribal casinos in the state’s casino licensing regulations. However, this is not the case with most of Michigan’s counterparts in the United States. Although they allow online casinos, the majority of other states allow only commercial casinos to apply for online gambling licenses.
By the time operators get licenses for online gambling in Michigan under the 2019 law, they will belong to these land-based casinos. That’s because only existing Michigan casinos can apply for online gambling licenses. As for other operators, the current law doesn’t allow them to apply.
Out of the many land-based casinos, we picked a few that are the best in the state.
Soaring Eagle is both a hotel and a casino, located in the Isabella Indian Reservation near Mount Pleasant. It was fully renovated in 2018 and now offers many table games like roulette, crap, blackjack, poker, and more. Naturally, you can also play on numerous slot machines spread throughout this 200,000 sq. ft complex.
The MGM casino belongs to the famous MGM Grand group that owns a total of 13 major properties, including the famous Luxor Las Vegas complex. More importantly, at the MGM Grand casino in Detroit, you can play over 150 table games and 3,500 slots.
This massive casino and hotel complex is located in the Emmett Charter Township. It’s owned and operated by a Potawatomi tribe. If you ever find yourself in the casino, you’ll be able to play more than 2,900 slots and 76 table games that include baccarat, blackjack, roulette, and many others.
As we’ve stated in the beginning, gambling is very popular in Michigan, which naturally means that there are other forms of gambling in the state, not only casino games.
Horse racing is still fairly popular in the state; however, nowadays there is only one racetrack called Northville Downs. It offers adults the possibility to gamble on both live and simulcast racing.
The Michigan State Lottery provides a lottery to the state’s players. Many options are available, including instant cash, pull tabs, keno, lottery draws, second-chance games, and scratch cards. On top of that, the state participates in interstate draws like the Mega Millions lottery.
In the end, there is also bingo and, most importantly, sports betting that has become legal in 2019, together with online gambling.
With the latest online gambling law from 2019, we can safely say that the future of online gambling in Michigan is extremely bright. The online infrastructure is still not there, as it takes time for operators to apply and obtain licenses. Still, we can expect a wide range of Michigan-based online casinos to be fully established during 2021.
You can expect operators to quickly jump on the bandwagon, as all of them will want to get established before the competition, so the future of Michigan online gambling is assured.
As you can see, with the online gambling law from 2019, Michigan became one of the many states in the US that permits online casinos to operate within the state. Players will soon have the chance to enjoy numerous casino games in Michigan-based sites, not only in offshore and land-based casinos.
Thanks to the fact that tribal casinos have a chance to open online casinos, you can expect many online casinos to pop up fairly soon.
At this point, only an online lottery is available to Michiganders. However, with online gambling legalized, online sports betting and online casino games will also become available very soon.
You can, as soon as the first online casinos open in the state. For now, you can only enjoy state-run online lotteries or opt to play in offshore online casinos.
Sports betting has already gone live in a handful of land-based casinos. As for online casino games, we can only make predictions. The first online casinos will likely appear in 2020, but the more probable date is somewhere in 2021.
You can, as online poker was legalized in 2019, along with most other online casino games. However, you still have to wait for casinos to start offering online poker.
Any person who is at least 21 years old can gamble online in the state of Michigan.