If You Want To Bet NBA Draft Or Esports In MI, You’ll Have To Do It On Tribal Land

Written By Matt Schoch on August 21, 2020Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Not all Michigan sportsbooks were created equal.

While the playing field will be level for sports betting markets offered when online bets are placed later this year, that’s not the case for retail sportsbooks.

While Detroit’s three commercial casinos have to adhere to Michigan Gaming Control Board regulations in sports and markets offered on-site, the state’s tribal casinos do not.

So, as Michigan sports betting resumed this summer after the pandemic shutdown, sports bettors at tribal casinos have more options than players at Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino.

Tribal casinos can offer more on-site betting markets

Since tribal casinos are on sovereign lands, they are not subject to MGCB regulations.

However, because mobile sports betting will allow bets to be made anywhere throughout the state, the partnerships that Michigan tribes make with online betting companies will fall under the board’s jurisdictions.

But at retail sportsbooks at FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, three Four Winds Casinos locations in southwest Michigan, and Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, a wider variety of sports bets are being made.

International club soccer, cricket and darts are among the sports offered at tribal casinos that can’t be bet in Detroit, in addition to markets such as the first pick of the NBA Draft.

Detroit casinos still have limited betting markets

When sports betting was approved for launch in Detroit’s commercial casinos, there were a limited number of markets available.

In addition, none have been added since the March launch, as the MGCB has been busy putting together online gambling regulations.

Though Louis Theros, MGM Grand Detroit vice president and general counsel, told Playinmichigan in March that markets would be added soon, but that has not yet happened.

For now, here is what you can bet on in Detroit’s retail sportsbooks:

  • Boxing (IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO)
  • Division 1 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball
  • Division 1 NCAA football – FBS only
  • MLB
  • MLS
  • Mixed martial arts (UFC and Bellator)
  • NBA
  • NFL
  • NHL
  • PGA/LPGA/European Tour golf
  • Winter and summer Olympic Games

None of the three Detroit casinos are offering bets on non-sporting events like the NBA Draft. In addition, there are no individual prop bets offered yet for college sports.

Four Winds offers many more markets than Greektown

Checking out the Kambi Bet Builder apps that service Four Winds and Greektown makes for an informative snapshot.

For both, you can build bets from anywhere. But to place the bet, you have to physically bring it to the retail sportsbook.

On Thursday afternoon, there were 37,622 bets available to make for Four Winds. For Greektown, that number was 5,989.

For soccer alone, Four Winds has 31,896 bets on the table throughout the world. At Greektown, where only Major League Soccer is available, there were 2,668 bets on the board.

Other sports available at Four Winds and not at Greektown include tennis, Australian rules football and rugby.

For motorsports, only NASCAR is available at Greektown, while Four Winds also has Formula 1 and IndyCar races.

There’s also more of a variety of golf bets available at Four Winds, including 2/3 balls and group betting.

Little River sportsbook offers the most markets

In addition, the River Rock Sportsbook & Grill at Little River is also powered by Kambi via BetRivers Sports Betting.

Their Betslip website offers even more markets than Four Winds. On Thursday afternoon, there were 46,671 bets available.

Sports such as cycling, table tennis and handball, as well as Esports markets for Call of Duty and Overwatch, were available.

FireKeepers keeping it pretty vanilla at outset

FireKeepers, which was the first Michigan tribal casino sportsbook to open on June 22, is keeping things pretty close to MGCB regulations so far.

Jim Wise, vice president of marketing and sports/online gaming, told Playinmichigan they’re sticking with the pillars for now.

“We are staying with the mainstay offerings and have opted to pass on sports such as cricket and the one time offers like NBA Draft. Between MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, Golf, Soccer, UFC, boxing and a large array of futures on most of the aforementioned sports, we have a great menu for the wagering public.”

Wise added that FireKeepers offers international soccer such as Serie A in Italy. The casinos will expand offerings for the online launch later this year.

“We would be more likely to go with fun offers like draft once we get to online,” he said.

FireKeepers has partnered with Scientific Games but plans to brand online offerings as FireKeepers.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He’s also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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