Michigan Gambling Information

FAQ / Q&A -- History -- Regulation -- Land Based Casinos -- Fun Facts


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Regulation and legality of online gambling

Yes, online gambling is legal in Michigan. It is one of the few Midwest states that have made consistent efforts to implement as many forms of gambling as possible into the legislation. Most of the neighboring states have thriving iGaming markets that are stifled by the industry’s existence in a legal grey area.

In Michigan, attempts to legalize online gambling have been prominent since the 2000s. However, they were mostly thwarted by conflicting interests and different forms of lobbying. Everything changed on December 20, 2019, when House Bill No. 4311 was approved by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, filed with the Secretary of State, and passed.

It was one of those rare, jack-of-all-trades bills that effectively encompassed almost every form of online gambling in Michigan. Even online poker was included, which almost all legislators somehow omit or consider an afterthought. With this addition, it seems that the poker scene is far from moribund in the Great Lakes State.

As of August 2020, online gambling is still not live in Michigan. If you’re wondering about the current state, you can still play at offshore casinos and out-of-state sites, such as the ones based in PA or NJ. The ‘loophole period’ is still active, with no certain indications about any changes.

It is widely believed that Michigan online casinos will go live in October 2020, as 23 tribal and three commercial venues have applied for an online gambling license from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). As for sports betting, it is now live.

Interestingly, online poker and other types of internet wagering were deemed illegal from 1999 to 2000. For one year, the State Bill 562 made all internet poker rooms against the law, as they couldn’t abide by existing strict regulations. A more liberal act, Public Act 185, was passed, and it repealed the section about online gambling being illegal. It’s not clear where will Michigan go from here; obviously, the state government feels more liberal than some other legislation teams in US states, as it allows some forms of internet gambling. In latest developments, an online gambling bill, H 4926, has been submitted, including such details as potential online gambling tax rates and licensing fees.



Gambling history in Michigan

For much of the history of Michigan, the industry was leading the economy, and gambling, as its branch, was relatively quiet. The first popular gambling pastime in the Great Lakes State was horse racing. Records show that Michigan resident enjoyed horse races as far back as the Great Depression. Pari-mutuel pooled bets were legalized in 1933 by the Racing Act. Horse racing was joined by the Michigan lottery in 1972.

Every year, Michigan State Lottery contributes $1 million to help fund educational programs and treatments related to compulsive gambling. Also in 1972, charitable gambling was regulated, allowing bingo games, raffles, and charity game tickets to be licensed in Michigan.

Casino gambling was introduced a bit later - in 1993. It was when the State and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe signed the first compact. More compacts followed and by 1998 there were 11 of them signed. Tribal casinos are regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commission, whereas there are also several commercial casinos regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The Windsor Casino in Canadian territory directly across the river in Detroit was one of the factors that shaped the casino gambling laws in the Great Lakes State.


Land based casinos

People from Michigan, and occasional visitors, may enjoy a variety of gambling opportunities at some of the land-based gaming facilities scattered across the country, Apart from the racetracks, around two dozen establishments provide gambling services through tables games and video gaming machines; most of them are located on Native American soil. The two racetrack facilities include Hazel Park Raceway and Northville Downs.

Up until 1996, there were only tribal casinos in Michigan. That year, the voters approved an expansion of gambling to Detroit, and the bill allowed three big casinos to be built. These venues are Greektown Casino, MotorCity Casino and the MGM Grand. The MGM Grand Detroit has 4,100 gaming machines and over 140 tables. Greektown offers over 2,500 slot machines, while MotorCity Casino on Grand River Avenue has around 2,700 slot machines on its floor.

More notable venues include Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, Four Winds Casino (New Buffalo) and FireKeepers Casino. The Soaring Eagle Casino houses over 3,300 gaming machines and 60 tables. In general, Michigan casinos offer slots, video poker machines, live poker games, blackjack, house-banked poker, craps and roulette.

Neighbouring States: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota (water border), Ohio, Wisconsin



At what age can I gamble legally in Michigan?

21. HB4311 uses this age as the minimum threshold for online gambling once it goes live. This was an expected decision, as land-based venues were forced to obey the same age limit ever since they started operating in the state. It’s also possible that most online casinos will impose identity verification measures, such as in-person account creation, which will almost completely eradicate online gambling.

What games can I play at Michigan casino sites?

By looking at HB3411, it’s evident that state legislators didn’t omit a single form of gambling when it came to their legalization efforts. It’s also worth mentioning that there were no forms of casino games that remained illegal, which is a great thing.

As of now, you can still play anything you want at out-of-state online casinos. Players from Michigan are known for their love of poker, as they are known as some of the most passionate poker-heads in the entire Midwest region. Once October 2020 arrives, you will be able to play everything.

Are live dealer games available, as well?

Yes, of course. Many sites that welcome Michigan casino aficionados house a number of live dealer titles, from various software suppliers. One of the main reasons why this niche is thriving is its clever mimicking of the brick and mortar casino atmosphere.

You can interact with presenters and other players, all while having the ability to stay in the comfort of your own home. Michigan online casinos will definitely bring the heat when it comes to live dealer games.

Which payment options can I use at online casinos in Michigan?

Since offshore and US casinos abide by the same standards, the following information will also be true when Michigan casino sites go live. Most of the currently available casinos focus on providing the most familiar options. Bank transfers are probably something that everyone knows, so you’ll find them everywhere.

However, the most beloved payment options are credit/debit cards. Everyone has a card nowadays. Plus, they’re a bit more secure and a bit faster than bank transfers. Nevertheless, it’s still easy to get scammed, especially if you’re playing at an offshore sire.

eWallets are probably the best option, as you don’t have to share your credit card info with any site whatsoever. They’re also the fastest possible way to get your withdrawals, so there’s no reason to find an alternative. PayPal is the most famous brand of the bunch, as it’s also a sign of legitimacy. They are very picky when it comes to online gambling.

Cryptos are the safest solution, as they can’t be hacked, duplicated, or altered. The price of each individual currency is volatile, so there’s some additional knowledge required.

Do Michigan casino sites pay withdrawals in quick fashion?

Unless the site has a particular withdrawal review policy, the waiting time mostly depends on what option you’re using. Some online casinos like to request additional document scans, too, just to be on the safe side. This adds a few days to the whole process.

For the most popular options, it goes something like this:

● Credit/debit cards: 3-5 business days

● Bank transfers: 5-7 business days

● Cryptocurrencies: 15-60 minutes

● eWallets: instant

Fun Facts about Michigan

  • America's only floating post office is in Michigan. The ship J.W. Westcott II operates out of Detroit and is known to deliver mail to other ships while underway. J.W. Westcott II has the only floating zip code in the United States. Crews aboard vessels transiting the Detroit River have their mail delivered by the Marine Post Office on J.W. Westcott II for 125 years now.
  • At one point, Michigan produced as much as 75% of the world’s cars. Detroit was the known as the automotive giant and the Packard Motor Car Company in Detroit manufactured the first air-conditioned car in 1939. The Ford Motor Company was founded in Michigan in 1893. It was Henry Ford who gave his works two days off work and marked the beginnings of a modern weekend, over three decades before the federal government mandated the forty-hour work-week.
  • Strange Michigan laws include: ‘cars may not be sold on Sundays’, ‘a woman isn't allowed to cut her own hair without her husband's permission’ and ‘any person over the age of 12 may have a license for a handgun as long as he/she has not been convicted of a felony’.

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