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The Evolution of Michigan Casinos: From Physical to Digital


Michigan has a long history of gambling. Betting on horse racing has been legal since 1933, and the Michigan Lottery has been around since 1972. Before Michigan had casinos, horse racing brought in plenty of revenue. However, what was once a popular pastime faded with the availability of many forms of gambling. Here’s more information about how Michigan casinos evolved from the time the first brick-and-mortar casinos were built. 

Construction of the first brick-and-mortar casinos

In 1977, an act was signed into law authorizing the construction of three brick-and-mortar casinos in Detroit. It took several years before the building of the first property. The first casino to open was MGM Grand Detroit, followed by MotorCity Casino Hotel and Greektown Casino Hotel. MGM Grand Detroit is one of the biggest casinos in Michigan. 

MotorCity has the distinction of being the sole locally-owned casino. It recently opened its first legal sportsbook. The Greektown Casino Hotel was one of the first casinos in Michigan to have sports betting lounges. 

The Detroit gambling market is now well over two decades old and its online gambling industry is pulling in great revenue. An MI online casino today can offer players the opportunity to play casino games online and make sports bets. 

Tribal casinos

Michigan has had some form of tribal gambling for over 30 years. The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act made the use of tribal lands for casinos possible. Michigan negotiated contracts with tribal casinos for revenue sharing. Michigan’s casino market in the US is one of the strongest thanks to its robust tribal casinos and a large commercial gambling market. 

Legalizing online gambling

In December 2018, the Michigan Legislature passed a bill legalizing online gambling but it was vetoed by the outgoing governor, Rick Snyder. It was only in December 2019 that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bills legalizing online gambling into law. She invited the three Detroit commercial casinos and 23 tribal casinos to apply for Michigan sports betting licenses. 

With the advent of online gambling, players in Michigan experienced convenience and online casinos offered great bonuses and promotions to players. The best online operators have promotions and bonus spins on new slots and offer cash back on losing sessions. 

First legal retail sportsbooks

The first legal retail sportsbooks were ready to roll out services in 2020 when the pandemic intervened. In January 2021, providers could finally go live with their online betting platforms. Today, users have a number of reputable online sports betting providers. These providers take data security seriously, and users can be sure that their private information is safe and secure. 

Future prospects

In the future, we can expect to see new innovations in technology and gameplay. From the time gambling on mobile devices began in 2013 and 2014, Michigan has embraced mobile gambling. According to MGCB data, the 15 online casino and sports betting operators in Michigan earned combined gross receipts of $175.4m in August this year. There are currently 14 sportsbook apps available in Michigan. 

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