Launch Day For MI Online Gambling: Overview And Live Updates

Dreamstime/Marko Bukorovic

Today is the day. After more than a year of waiting, Michigonians will be able to play casino games and place sports bets online, starting today, January 22.

The official launch time has been set by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) for noon ET. The MGCB published a list of operators earlier this week that it expects to be ready for a synchronized launch. On the list are eight brands that will launch both casino and sports betting, plus one brand that will launch its sportsbook only.

We will be covering the launch in real time today, and possibly additional developments as they unfold over the coming week. You can also find additional coverage at our sister site PlayMichigan.

Jan. 22, 3:30 PM ET

A spokesperson for BetMGM, Elisa Richardson, has told PlayMichigan that the earlier issues with the mobile app have been resolved. She also confirmed that they were in fact due to higher-than-expected traffic.

Some users who pre-registered have also claimed to have had difficulties receiving the promised bonuses for doing so. These have to be claimed manually, however, by navigating to My Account -> Promotions and scrolling through the list of promotions to find the appropriate one. For the casino bonus, the text should read “Claim your free 100 USD Casino bonus!”

It’s unclear at this time whether there is some larger issue with the bonuses, or the link to claim them was simply placed far enough out of the way that many users have had trouble finding it on their own.

Jan. 22, 2:20 PM ET

Now that they’ve launched, we’ve had a chance to see what the various Michigan online casino operators are offering in terms of welcome bonuses. Our colleagues at PlayUSA have a detailed rundown for you.

Highlights include:

  • DraftKings Casino, with the best offer in the state so far: $45 free for new users, and a 100% match up to $1500 on first deposits,
  • BetMGM Casino, which will give you $25 free for signing up and a $1000 match on your first deposit, and
  • FanDuel Casino, which will reimburse your losses in the first 24 hours, up to $200

Jan. 22, 2:05 PM ET

Word is that the issues with BetMGM are ongoing, but appear to be limited to the mobile app. If you’re attempting to play on BetMGM at the moment and having difficulty logging in, try the desktop site through your browser, as it appears to be working. Note that you will need to download a geolocation plugin.

Jan. 22, 1:55 PM ET

Barstool Sportsbook has already received its first six-figure wager, as an unnamed bettor has placed $100,000 on the 3-11 Detroit Pistons to beat a 3-point spread against the 4-9 Houston Rockets tonight.

Jan. 22, 1:25 PM ET

Barstool Sportsbook, Golden Nugget, Twinspires and William Hill are all live. Of the operators who declared an intention to launch on day one, that leaves only WynnBET unaccounted for.

Jan. 22, 1:10 PM ET

BetRivers has joined the list of operators that is up and running.

Some users on Twitter have reported continued problems accessing BetMGM. We would expect this to be among the largest platforms in the state, so this is still likely just a matter of too much traffic volume at once for their servers to handle, and should resolve itself.

Jan. 22, 12:25 PM ET

Despite not being on the original list of expected operators, PointsBet has launched its mobile sportsbook in Michigan, in partnership with Northern Waters. It is expected to launch an online casino as well, but has not done so yet.

Jan. 22, 12:15 PM ET

Word from DraftKings is that they have launched as well, making it three sites active in the market within the first 15 minutes. Already off to a better start than Pennsylvania.

Some users had difficulty logging in to BetMGM and FanDuel for the first few minutes, presumably due to heavy traffic. Those issues seem to be resolving themselves quickly, however.

Jan. 22, 12:05 PM ET

That didn’t take long: We have official word that BetMGM and FanDuel are the first operators to launch.

Meanwhile, Barstool Sportsbook revealed this morning that it has already received $620,000 in advance deposits.

Jan. 22, 11:55 AM ET

With minutes to go until the official launch time, word through the grapevine is that most operators will be ready to go almost immediately.

Golden Nugget and WynnBET may take somewhat longer, but we currently expect that the other seven operators will launch shortly after noon.

Jan. 22, 10:30 AM ET

We have roughly 90 minutes to go before launch. To get started, here is the list of operators that should be going live today, along with their land-based partner casinos. All, save Barstool, should launch with an integrated product featuring both sports betting and casino games.

  • Barstool Sportsbook (sports only, with Greektown Casino)
  • BetMGM (MGM Grand Detroit)
  • BetRivers (Little River Casino Resort)
  • DraftKings (Bay Mills Resort)
  • FanDuel (MotorCity Casino)
  • Golden Nugget (Ojibwa Casino)
  • TwinSpires (formerly known as BetAmerica, partnered with Island Resort & Casino)
  • William Hill (Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel)
  • WynnBET (Kewadin Casino)

Launch day hiccups are always a possibility, so we may not see all nine launch exactly at noon. In other markets, it has typically been the case that the first wave of launches spreads out over a matter of hours or days.

Michigan online poker will arrive soon too, but is not expected on day one. MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm said in a meeting that he anticipated a delay of at least four or five days between the launch of the other verticals, and the arrival of the first poker site.

Of course, that is dependent on sites’ willingness and preparedness to launch. PokerStars will quite likely be the first poker room to arrive, as it was in Pennsylvania. However, its casino and Fox Bet sports platform are conspicuously absent from the day one launch. It may be planning to launch all three verticals at once, which will hopefully not take months as it did in Pennsylvania.

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