Between pressures from North of the border and from Native American tribes, it was only ever going to be so long before Michigan established casinos of their own. Since that happened, Michigan has become one of the best places in the middle of the country for gambling. The oft-overlooked state is home to a wealth of casinos that exist near major population centers as well as on tribal lands. All in all, Michigan has proven to be a liberal state with regard to gambling laws, and gamblers around the world are happy about that.
Like many states within the US, Michigan’s casinos are a part of recent history. Unlike places like Atlantic City, where casinos have been around for decades, many of Michigan’s sites have less than 2 decades under their belt. With all that being said, the state is a gambling haven and can offer a top-notch gaming experience you would otherwise have to travel thousands of miles to attain.
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Bay Mills Resort & Casino
FireKeepers Casino Hotel
Four Winds New Buffalo
Four Winds Hartford
Four Winds Dowagiac
Greektown Casino Hotel
Gun Lake Casino
Island Resort & Casino
Kewadin Casino, Hotel and Convention Center
Kewadin Shores Casino—St. Ignace
Kings Club Casino
Lac Vieux Desert Resort Casino & Golf Course
Leelanau Sands Casino
Little River Casino and Resort
MGM Grand Detroit
MotorCity Casino Hotel
Odawa Casino Resort
Ojibwa Casino Resort—Baraga
Saganing Eagles Landing Casno
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel
Types of Michigan Casinos
Michigan has both commercial and tribal casinos, most of which are located in and around the Detroit area. Other regulated gambling options available within the borders of the state include pari-mutuel betting, charity gambling events, and a state-controlled lottery.
Michigan land-based gambling industry is fairly large, but the state legislators haven’t passed any iGaming acts so far. As a result, local casino, poker, and sports betting enthusiasts who want to enjoy their hobby in an online setting have to stick to US-friendly offshore sites.
Michigan (MI) ranks 10th in total population in the United States. It also ranks 10th in the number of operating casinos, with a total of 26. Twenty-three of those are tribal casinos, while the other three are commercial casinos in the city of Detroit.
Perhaps most importantly, along with the number of casinos, is just how evenly they are dispersed throughout the state. The 26 casinos are in 21 different counties and are located in all four corners and the center of the state.
The three Detroit casinos (the maximum allowed by city ordinance) are:
You must be 21 years of age or older to play at any of the Detroit casinos.
The 23 tribal casinos are run by autonomous governments and can set their age requirements to anything they want, as long as players are at least 18 years old. Those age requirements and the corresponding casinos are:
An overwhelming majority of the casinos in Michigan are of the land-based variety. In terms of the state, a land-based casino is nothing more than one that is licensed and regulated by the state. At most of these casinos, you will find many of the same games that you would find at casinos in cities like Las Vegas. From slots to table games and everything in between, it is all at your disposal in Michigan. What’s more, most of the state’s casinos also feature hotels, restaurants, shopping, and much more. Like the industry, as a whole, continues to grow, so too will the number of land-based casinos.
In many ways, the tribal casinos in Michigan exist in much the same way that land-based, state-regulated casinos do. In fact, other than their existence on sovereign, tribal lands, there really are no differences with regard to the games offered or the amenities that exist. Another difference is the fact that many tribal casinos exist in more rural areas, while many of the land-based casinos are positioned near major population centers such as Detroit.
Sports betting remains illegal in the state, but all three Detroit-area casinos support its adoption. Representative Brandt Iden, the sponsor of the online gaming bill, says he plans to sponsor one for sports betting in the coming legislative session.
All major daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites are available in Michigan. Legislation is in progress to regulate the industry and to clarify it as a skill-based activity, and thus not gambling.
The proposed legislation, which got out of committee in 2017 but has yet to be voted on by the entire legislative body, would create the following regulations:
MI considers eSports betting the same as all sports betting, so it remains illegal.
Horse racing is legal, but the state has seen its number of live racing venues drop to just one– Northville Downs, in the western part of the Detroit metro area.
They offer a season of live weekend harness racing, beginning in March and ending in September. They also feature a full schedule of simulcast racing 363 days a year, only closing for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Michigan has a large number of off-track betting locations scattered throughout the state, and there has been a recent push to legalize mobile phone parimutuel wagering. Both the House and Senate passed competing bills in 2017, but the legislation has stalled since then. There is a question of whether or not it would need final voter approval to become law.
You must be at least 18 years old to participate in pari-mutuel wagering.
Greyhound racing is illegal in MI.
Michigan is also home to a large number of poker rooms, with the newest of the now 40 rooms belonging to the Gun Lake Casino, 25 miles south of Grand Rapids.
The largest poker room in the state belongs to the FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, with a total of 22 tables. Along with a packed schedule of regular tournaments, the FireKeepers’ poker room also hosts the Michigan State Poker Championship each year.
The online gaming bill will also authorize online poker, so residents can look for that to be available sometime in 2019.
The Michigan Lottery has been around since 1972, with the current, familiar games dating back to the mid-80s. All proceeds from the lottery go to fund public education.
Along with scratch-off and pull-tab games, and online versions of scratch-offs that can be purchased over the internet, the state offers the following draw games:
Many of these tickets can be purchased online. For those tickets that can’t, there are more than 10,000 licensed lottery retailers. You must be at least 18 years old to play.
The Bingo Act was originally passed in MI in 1972, and it allows for nonprofit organizations to raise funds for their lawful purposes through hosting games and selling bingo cards.
Michigan offers three different tiers of licenses— the Large Bingo license, which costs $150 annually; the Small Bingo license, which costs $55 and only allows for a maximum prize of $25; and the Special Bingo license, which is $25 and lasts for seven days.
The number of legal games across the state is numerous, and the state provides a handy search tool on their website to help you find a local game.
You must be at least 18 years old to play.
Throughout the 20th century, Michigan was known much more for its industrial production than it was for any sort of gambling. Though there was plenty of gambling in the form of pari-mutuel bets placed on horse and dog races, there were not very many casinos to be had; in fact, there were none.
In the 1980s, thanks to a Federal Act that was passed, Native American tribes began offering high-stakes bingo games in bingo halls located on tribal lands. It wasn’t until 1996 when actual casinos began to make an appearance. Thanks to a referendum that was passed during that year, the scope of what was considered legal gambling was widened. Shortly after the referendum was voted for and approved, plans for 3 Detroit casinos were laid down. A major part of the reasoning behind the legalizing of land-based casinos was that lawmakers began to recognize that millions upon millions of dollars were traveling over the border to gamble at Canadian casinos each and every year. In an attempt to stop the outflow of money while simultaneously increase tax revenue for the state, casinos were approved.
After this, tribes from across the state petitioned lawmakers to allow them to host table and slot games in addition to the longstanding bingo games. After a few court battles, the tribes emerged victoriously and began converting what were once bingo-only locations into full-fledged casinos. Ever since then the casino industry in the state has flourished and seems to be growing all the time. The next move for the state to make will be to legalize online casinos, however, that is something that lawmakers have been quiet on.