Legal online casinos are coming to Michigan. With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer having signed a gambling expansion package into law in December 2019, regulated online casinos will soon be available in the state.
With a population of approximately 10 million, Michigan is expected to be a big player in the legal online gambling landscape that continues to grow in the U.S. We’ve seen how much success states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey have had with legal online gambling, from player interest and state revenue generation standpoints, and Michigan is anticipated to be right there with them. For comparison, Pennsylvania has a population of nearly 13 million, and New Jersey around 9 million.
Is online casino gambling legal in Michigan?
Yes, now that a bill — HB 4311, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act — has been signed into law, thanks to Whitmer doing so at the end of 2019, online casinos are legal in the Wolverine State.
Online casinos that are legal and regulated have several advantages to their offshore (and illegal) counterparts. These include game integrity, safe and fast banking options and government oversight on all aspects of gaming. All banking options, slots, table games and video poker must go through extremely thorough testing to ensure that they meet the rigorous standards set forth by the state.
When will online casinos launch?
While there is no set launch date yet, things are progressing on a steady path prescribed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. With fifteen total licenses available and many experienced online casino operators coming to the state via partnerships with MI commercial and tribal casinos, once they get the green light from the state, it should not be long after that games will be available.
When should we expect that green light? Initially, the plan was to go live some time in early 2021, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the state realized that people will not feel as comfortable venturing out to the states many retail casinos and have worked to fast-track regulations and get online casinos up and running as soon as possible.
With the NFL season in full swing, state legislators have prioritized getting online sportsbooks but online casinos should not be too far behind. Legislators have targeted Thanksgiving 2020 as a potential launch date for sportsbooks, making Christmas 2020 a distinct possibility for online casinos. Be sure to check back often for updates as several meetings have been scheduled to hammer out the details and regulations.
How old do you have to be to play?
To play legal online casino games in Michigan, one will need to be at least 21 years old. This is the same age requirement in place for poker and online/mobile sports betting in Michigan.
Where can you play from?
Also like online/mobile sports betting and online poker, online casino play in Michigan will require players to be physically located within the state. Geolocation technology will be used to determine a player’s location and restrict a player not located within Michigan boundaries.
When you play from your mobile device, geolocation will occur via the built in GPS device on your phone. When you play on a desktop or laptop, the geolocation software will use the available WiFi connections that your computer picks up. If you are located in a rural area or somewhere that does not have at least three available WiFis, a WiFi extender (that can be purchased for less than $50) can add additional WiFi connections and get you in the game.
Unfortunately if you are playing on a wired connection, you may not be able to play. It is also important to note that you must be located in Michigan to play, but you do not need to be a Michigan resident. For instance, if you are from out of state, but are vacationing or visiting family in Michigan, you can sign up and play while you are within the borders. You can also sign up, deposit and withdrawal while out of state, but must be in Michigan to place bets.
What online casino games can you play in Michigan?
There will likely be several types of online casino games on offer when sites go live in Michigan, including slots, table games, and video poker.
Slots are the most popular form of online casino games seen across the legal online casino industry, and there is virtually no limit to the number of different slot games available. Each operator will have dozens, if not hundreds of different slot games on offer, each offering a little different twist or theme, and some may even offer big jackpots to be won.
Depending on the individual site and legal approval, the slot selection will vary but overall we should see similar slot titles across the board. Some sites will have special deals with certain gaming providers to offer exclusive titles or will develop their own.
There are a few advantages to playing online slots vs their retail counterparts which include better payouts, bigger selection, lower minimums, and better graphics/gameplay. Playing from the comfort of your own home means you never have to wait for your favorite game, and when you are done you can just close your computer or put your phone down instead of that long drive home.
Slots come in all shapes and sizes, but none more popular than NetEnts Divine Fortune. Divine Fortune has taken the US online casino industry by storm with its high RTP (return-to-player), multiple bonus rounds, multiplying wilds, and Mega Jackpot that consistently hits six figures that can be hit with a bet as low as 20 cents.
Whether you played blackjack for pennies on your grandmother’s table or got your start playing with friends, blackjack is the most recognizable and popular card game in the world. You can now play blackjack anytime anywhere on your computer or mobile device thanks to legal and regulated online casinos.
There are many advantages to playing online as opposed to playing in a retail casino. First of all, you never have to wait for a seat at the table as online blackjack variations are available online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no wait. Another advantage is the lower limits online. Where in a retail casino, you would be lucky to find a $10 table, but online you can play blackjack for as low as 10 cents per hand. Online also allows new users to play for free on most sites.
Online casinos offer your typical blackjack with no sidebets and the ability to play multiple hands at a time. Online Casinos also offer multiple blackjack variations with sidebets that include:
- Lucky Ladies: This sidebet pays out when you receive two cards that equal 20 as your down cards, and moves up in value depending on the cards rank and suit with a pair of Queen of Hearts paying out the biggest bonus.
- Lucky Lucky: Using both the players up cards and the dealers up cards, different combos pay out more with three suited 7s paying out a crazy 200-1.
- 21+3: 21+3 also uses the players cards and the dealer up card with the goal being to make a 3 card poker hand with different payouts for a pair, flush, straight, three of a kind and straight flush.
- Perfect Pair: Pays out as high as 200-1 when the dealer or players cards match in suit and rank.
Roulette makes it way from the retail casino space to the internet with the full suite of betting options you come to expect. Roulette has nearly a dozen betting options with various payouts and values. Place your bets, spin the wheel and if it lands in one of your bets, you win.
Online casinos have several roulette variations that vary slightly from what you would expect to see in any American retail casino. These include slight variations such as European Roulette and French Roulette — to extreme changes like Three Wheel Roulette and 100:1 Roulette.
- American Roulette: The standard Roulette you can expect to find in any American retail casino with a 0 and 00.
- European Roulette: Similar to American Roulette but with just a single 0.
- French Roulette: Similar to European Roulette with a single 0 and a different arrangement of numbers on the wheel. French Roulette also offers Le Partage that refunds half of your bet back on outside bets when the ball lands on 0.
- Three Wheel Roulette: Exactly as it sounds, there are three wheels that spin with extra prop bets on the side if the ball lands on the same number on multiple wheels.
- 100-1 Roulette: Similar to American roulette, but instead of 1-36 and 0/00, there are numbers from 1-100 and 0/00/000
Video poker is one of the most popular games in retail casinos and is a great option for online players who want a high return game with simple rules. is not peer-to-peer online poker, so let’s be clear on that. Video poker is a cross between a slot machine and poker, combining elements of the two. There are several types of video poker games that are common, including Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Double Bonus, so expect multiple different options to be offered.
Many casinos offer live dealer games. These games offer an enhanced level of engagement that makes users feel even more like they’re playing at a real casino. For these, an online casino would show a video feed of a live dealer who, for example, deals blackjack cards from a studio for players who “sit” at the table virtually. It’s a nice step up in interaction as many platforms all back-and-forth chats between dealers and players in real time.
Live Dealer games are typically offered for popular casino games such as Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, Three Card Poker, Texas Hold’em poker and more. Some New Jersey casinos actually began offering live slots as well during the Covid-19 pandemic as well.
Although live dealer is one of the most popular online gaming options in New Jersey, it has been slow to launch in other regulated states. It takes a lot of coordination, planning and staffing, so don’t expect live dealer to be available right away. We do expect more states to get on the live dealer train eventually because of the success found in New Jersey.
Online casinos coming soon to Michigan
Although legal online casinos have yet to launch in Michigan, several operators have pieces in place to be able to go live once they’re able to do so. Among those are BetMGM Casino, FanDuel Casino, Parx Casino, and PokerStars Casino.
As owners and operators of MGM Grand Detroit, it’s only natural for MGM to be one of the first operators to launch online casino gaming in Michigan. It would do so through its BetMGM platform, which is already available in other states where legal online casinos are available.
Michigan is a state where we could see BetMGM’s platform integrate three online gambling products within one, similar to what the platform does in NJ where it has online casino, poker, and sports betting all under one roof.
With the brand power and experience that MGM brings to the table, it’s not so much likely if BetMGM is one of the major players in Michigan, but when.
FanDuel rose to incredible popularity with its start in daily fantasy sports (DFS) and has since transitioned to being one of the industry leaders in sports betting. FanDuel also has online casino products available in states with legal online casino gambling, including New Jersey (under the Betfair brand) and Pennsylvania.
In Michigan, FanDuel has a partnership in place with MotorCity Casino Hotel. At the venue, FanDuel already operates a two-story retail sportsbook and we expect the company to get into the online casino sector once able to do so. In PA, the FanDuel Casino platform is linked with the FanDuel Sportsbook app, so we could see the two integrated together in Michigan as well.
Furthermore, FanDuel’s DFS platform is available to be played from Michigan, which only increases our expectation for more of FanDuel’s online gambling products to come to the Wolverine State.
Parx Casino already has plans to bring sports betting to Gun Lake Casino, located in Wayland, MI, first in a retail capacity and later through online/mobile sports betting. This partnership has the potential to lead to online casino gambling from Parx Casino in Michigan, too. Parx Casino is operational with an online casino in Pennsylvania and we would expect the operator to want to do the same in Michigan, as the potential is there for a robust online gambling industry.
The Stars Group, owner and operator of PokerStars Casino (and the PokerStars flagship online poker site), has a partnership in Michigan with Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority. Similar to entering Michigan’s legal sports betting market through its FOX Bet brand, we expect to see PokerStars Casino be one of the first to market in Michigan.
As an operator with a great deal of experience in the online casino industry, PokerStars Casino should quickly become a major player in the Wolverine State.
Eventually, the Stars Group should have all three online gaming products – casino, poker, and sports betting – available in Michigan, and the access to the entire portfolio through one platform is something players should be very much looking forward to.
BetAmerica is the online face of Churchill Downs Inc (CDI) who is very well known for being the home of the Kentucky Derby. BetAmerica uses their experience and reputation to be an appealing choice for online bettors. BetAmerica has partnered with Island Resort and Casino to bring their sportsbook and online casino to the Wolverine State.
Golden Nugget first launched in New Jersey in 2013, and has been among the top online casinos in the state ever since. Golden Nugget stays among the elite online casinos by having one of the largest game libraries in the industries, amazing promotional offerings and consistently great software.
Golden Nugget has formed a partnership with Keeweenaw Bay Indian Community, who owns and operates both the Ojibwa Casino Baraga and the Ojibwa Casino Marquette. Golden Nugget will look to replicate their success found in New Jersey when they bring their talents to Michigan.
DraftKings started out as one of the top daily fantasy sites in the US, and that success has translated well to sports betting and online casinos. DraftKings is consistently among the top performers among both sports and casinos in every market they enter, and for good reason. DraftKings offers tons of promos, great customer service and stellar software.
DraftKings has partnered with Bay Mills Resort and Casino for its DK Casino and online sports betting. DraftKings will look to be one of the first to go launch as they have in almost every other market they entered.
BetRivers is the online casino and sports betting wing of Rush Street Interactive, which owns and operates several casinos throughout the country. They may not be a household name in Michigan just yet, but they will be a popular option once they launch.
BetRivers is live in almost every state that has legal and regulated online sports betting and casinos, and looks to extend that reach into Michigan via a partnership with Little River Casino Resort in Manistee. BetRivers offers one of the most generous first deposit bonuses and has a very expansive game library.
Registering with an online casino in Michigan
Registering for an account with a legal online casino in Michigan is a simple, efficient process. As long as you have the required documents and information, it should be very straightforward.
New players will need to provide some combination of:
- A government-issued I.D.
- Date of birth
- Social security number (last four digits)
- Email address
- Phone number on hand.
This information will be used by the online casino to verify who you are and your age. One of the big benefits of legal online gambling is that all of this information is safe and secure, so you can feel confident submitting your information.
Some casinos will require you to create a username and password for your account, while others will have you just use your email address.
When registering for an account with a legal online casino in Michigan, be sure to use a promo code or link from this page so you can benefit from any bonuses when first signing up. Check back at this page, as we’ll keep things up to date with the latest promo offers available for new players.
You do not need to be a Michigan resident, or even be located in Michigan to sign up and make your first deposit, but you will need to be in Michigan in order to place any bets. Geolocation software can pinpoint your location within 20 feet. The software will continue to monitor your location as you play, and will check the location more often the closer you are to the border.
Banking at MI online casinos
Banking with Michigan’s online casinos will be safe, secure, and convenient, with several options available to deposit and withdraw.
Here are some of the options we expect to see available from Michigan’s online casinos:
- ACH/e-Check: Link your bank account using your bank’s routing number and account number for secure and instant deposits and withdrawals
- Online banking transfer: Use your login credentials for your online banking portal to instantly and securely transfer money on and off the sites
- PayPal: Use the world’s most popular eWallet for instant and secure banking. PayPal can be used for both deposits and withdrawals.
- Cash at retail casino cage: Simply bring your cash and photo ID to the affiliated retail casino cage and the funds will be available within 15 minutes. However, not every casino allows these transactions, limiting them to digital platforms. For withdrawals, be sure that the withdrawal is approved before venturing over to the casino cage.
- PayNearMe: Choose PayNearMe and you will be given a barcode. Simply bring that barcode to any local 7-11 or CVS along with cash, and the funds will be available shortly after. PayNearMe is for deposits only.
- Credit/debit cards: Use your Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card for instant deposits. Withdrawals are not available via this method.
- Play+ Cards: Each individual online casino will have their own Play+ prepaid card. You can link a bank account or credit card to instantly begin using the card for deposits and withdrawals. Once the physical card arrives in the mail in 10-14 days, you can use that card to withdraw cash at any ATM or use the card anywhere Discover is accepted.
Laws and regulations
The Lawful Internet Gaming Act (HB 4311) ushers in a new era for Michigan’s gambling industry. Below are some of the details of the bill as these pertain to the laws and regulations now in place.
- Must be 21 years or older to gamble
- Both commercial and tribal casino venues can offer online gambling
- Casino operators can have one skin for an online casino (another for online poker is allowed)
Taxes and fees for casino operators:
- For operators, a graduated tax rate of 20% for adjusted gross receipts (AGR) less than $4 million
- Tax rate up to 28% for AGR greater than $12 million
- Detroit venues pay 1.25% to the city
- $50,000 application fee
- $100,000 for five-year license
- $50,000 for license renewal
- Internet gaming suppliers have costs of $5,000 for application, $5,000 for license, and $2,500 for annual renewal
- 65% of tax revenue will go to the Internet Gaming Fund, with majority going to the Michigan School Aid Fund
Advantages of playing at legal MI online casinos
- Safety and security: In the world of regulated online casinos, safety and security are at the top of the list. Gambling at a legal online casino in Michigan will be safer and more secure than doing so with an unregulated online casino and players should rest easy knowing operators are under strict guidelines that they must
- Regulated banking options: Any time you’re gambling online, you want your money to be safe. Whether it’s online casino, poker, or sports betting, the security of your funds is paramount. Legal online casino operators have rules and regulations in place to ensure your money is safe when depositing or withdrawing. Legal online casinos will commonly have several regulated banking options available, too, giving players variety when cashing in and out of online casinos.
- Online/mobile platforms: Michigan’s legal online casinos will be available via online platforms and mobile devices in most cases, meaning users can play their favorite casino games on a desktop or laptop computer or on a mobile phone or tablet. Geolocation technology will be used to determine if a player is located within state boundaries, which again speaks to the safety and security of Michigan’s legal online casinos.
- Promotions: As online casino operators fight for market share, the customers are the ones who can benefit the most. New operators will want to beat their competition and that often means enticing customers to come through their virtual doors with increased promotional and marketing efforts. When this is the case, customers will have new bonuses and enhanced promotions that they can take advantage of.
Types of online casino promotions
Michigan online casinos are going to want to get as many customers to their platforms as possible and promotions are a great way to invite people in. With the tax deductions Michigan online casinos are able to make in regards to the free play they give out, specifically in the first three years, it’s pretty much guaranteed that there will be plenty of juicy bonus offers to be had in the Wolverine State.
Here are some example of the types of promotions one can expect from legal online casinos in Michigan:
Deposit bonuses are some of the most commonly offered bonuses from online casinos. In some cases, an online casino will match all or a portion of a player’s deposit.
For example, an online casino can offer a 50% deposit bonus or a 100% deposit bonus. For the 50% deposit bonus, the online casino will credit the user with bonus money equal to half of the deposited amount. For a 100% deposit bonus, as you might’ve guessed, the online casino will credit the user with bonus money equal to the full deposited amount.
The most common deposit bonuses are first-deposit bonuses, sometimes referred to as welcome bonuses or welcome offers. But, online casinos have been known to give deposit bonuses for future deposits, too. Deposit bonuses usually have a maximum amount that can be received and play-through requirements, so be sure to read our casino reviews as well as the terms and conditions.
No Deposit Bonuses
What’s a great way to get people into your online casino? Give ’em money to play with, that’s what. With no-deposit bonuses, users will often just have to sign up an account and they’ll receive bonus money for free, no deposit required.
No deposit bonuses are often on the smaller side and come with a play-through requirement in order to be eligible for withdrawal, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of the free money that’s being offered.
Free Play & Free Spins
Online casinos can also offer free play to table games or free spins for slot games. These can come as welcome offers to get people in the door, or they can be awarded at a later time to loyal customers.
Cash back is just that, it’s cash back to the player. Like the other promotions, this type of promotion can be offered to both new and existing players. How it commonly works is that an online casino will invite you to play. If you lose, the online casino will credit you back for a certain amount of what you lost.
History of MI online casinos
Michigan has a long land-based casino history and many of those land-based casinos will be involved in the legal online casino space, either through platforms of their own or through partnerships with other operators. The new era for Michigan gambling is all thanks to Whitmer signing the expansion into law in December 2019.
Online gambling was presented in 2016 via a bill from Sen. Mike Kowall, but it ultimately didn’t advance. In 2017, Kowall stepped back up to the batter’s box to try and hit it out of the park with the legislation, but it wasn’t until later in the year when Rep. Brandt Iden started pushing the initiative that things began to take shape. The passing of the baton made sense with Kowall set to retire in 2018.
The bill saw a lot of momentum in 2018, even making it all the way to the desk of then-governor Rick Snyder. It looked as though online gambling was going to be passed into law just before the year came to a close, but Snyder instead vetoed the bill and left Michigan’s online gambling fate up to Whitmer, who was set to take office the following year.
In 2019, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act was back on the table, in addition to the Lawful Sports Sports Betting Act that was to push legal sports betting in the state. Later in 2019, both bills made their ways to the governor’s desk. This time, the governor signed and legal online gambling was a go in the Wolverine State.