PointsBet Will Expand Sportsbook Operations Into Michigan

Written By Derek Helling on January 21, 2020
PointsBet Michigan is the first to announce its intentions to operate mobile/online and retail sportsbooks in the Wolverine State.

One of the premier sportsbook operators in several states will break ground in the Wolverine State. PointsBet Michigan confirmed this development with its recent announcement.

Similar deals may come as fast and furiously as a Detroit Red Wings power play now. Michigan is racing to get legal sports betting live for March Madness.

Details on the new PointsBet Michigan deal

Sportsbook operators like PointsBet do business in many states, including Michigan, under what’s called a master license that another party holds. In most cases, that other party is a casino.

It’s a mutually advantageous position for both parties. The casinos get a cut of sports wagering with minimal overhead while the sportsbooks have access to the markets in which those casinos exist.

In Michigan, PointsBet’s partner will be Lac Vieux Desert Public Enterprise and Finance Commission. That company operates the Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet.

Commenting on the partnership, PointsBet Group CEO Sam Swanell said in a news release:

PointsBet is pleased to have reached agreement for both online sportsbook and online casino operations with such a forward-thinking Tribe, and we look forward to many years of great success working together in Michigan.

James Williams Jr., the Lac Vieux Desert tribal chairman, stated in the same release:

The Tribe is excited to join forces with PointsBet to further the Tribe’s economic development efforts and expand gaming online as allowable under Michigan and federal law. We are confident that this new opportunity will strengthen the Tribe’s self-sufficiency and self-determination efforts and provide much needed revenue to continue to expand and enhance tribal governmental services as well as provide jobs for the LVD community.

The two companies will build a retail sportsbook on that property. The timeline for completion is unclear right now.

Perhaps more importantly for Michiganders, however, is that PointsBet will also use the opportunity to accept online/mobile wagers. Just like on the brick-and-mortar side, there is no set time frame for when that will become available.

The fact that PointsBet has made this announcement first doesn’t necessarily mean it will be first to market. In fact, that depends on many factors. Some of those are out of PointsBet’s control.

The steps toward launch day in the Wolverine State

Michigan officials are reluctant to estimate a timeline for online wagering. State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. and others think retail books might be open in time for March Madness 2020, however.

With this deal now in place, the LVD and PointsBet can start preparations. In the coming weeks, it’s likely that construction/renovation will begin at the casino.

There’s more to it than just hanging some signage and televisions, however. The casino has to hire and train staff, pass inspections from the Michigan Gaming Control Board, and work on a marketing campaign for launch day.

The only thing that’s certain right now is that the PointsBet sportsbook inside the casino will be open for business before Michiganders can log on to PointsBet’s mobile app to place wagers. It’s likely that the retail sportsbook will assist patrons in registering for online accounts in advance of that event, however.

Retail books operated by PointsBet have been among the first to launch in other states. It looks like that will be the case in Michigan as well.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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