One day after regional competitor Illinois launched its legal sports betting industry, a pair of casinos in Michigan are now accepting wagers.

The MGM Grand Detroit booked the Great Lake State’s first legal bet on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. local time, followed shortly afterward by Greektown Casino Hotel – which is also located in the Motor City.

And by 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, Detroit’s third casino MotorCity will have its onsite sportsbook up and running as well.

Longtime Sports Betting Sponsor to Place First Bet at Michigan Casinos

Over the last four and a half years, state representative Brandt Iden (R-61) worked to bring a regulated sports betting and online gambling market to Michigan.

In 2018, his bill was passed by the full state Legislature while securing wide margins of victory in both chambers. Nonetheless, former Governor Rick Snyder vetoed the bill in one of his last acts in office.

Iden persevered, however, and 2019’s version of the sports betting / iGaming legislation was signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in December.

Thus, it was no surprise to see Iden front and center at the MGM Grand Detroit on Wednesday, as the longtime champion of local sports betting was invited to place Michigan’s first legal bet.

dino ciccarelli former detroit red wing

Former Detroit Red Wing, Dino Ciccarelli

Flanked by local sports heroes like former Detroit Red Wings star Dino Ciccarelli and former Detroit Tigers pitcher Dave Rozema, Iden wagered $100 on Michigan State to win the upcoming Big Ten Conference college basketball tournament.

In a statement to local media outlets, Iden celebrated the long-awaited arrival of legal sportsbooks in his home state:

“I went through 220 state reps, I went through two governors, I even went through a veto.

“I went through 220 state reps, I went through two governors, I even went through a veto. This is not just about the economic impact for the city of Detroit and for the state of Michigan. This is about legal, safe, fun sports betting.”

MGM Grand Detroit’s president and chief operating officer David Tsai offered the following comments in his own statement:

“Twenty years ago, MGM Resorts bet on the great City of Detroit with an $800 million commitment to create the city’s first and only integrated luxury casino resort built from the ground up.

As the market leader in Detroit, we’re proud to be part of this groundbreaking moment for Michigan gaming and to bring a world-class sports betting and entertainment experience to our guests.”

And MGM Resorts’ president of interactive gaming Scott Butera pointed to Roar Digital – the company’s partnership with iGaming firm GVC Holdings – while hyping the 2021 launch of a statewide BetMGM online / mobile app:

“Michigan is home to some of the nation’s most enthusiastic sports fans.

MGM Resorts and Roar Digital are excited to be opening BetMGM Sports Lounge at MGM Grand Detroit in time for college basketball’s tournament season.

We worked with the most creative design talent to create a world-class sports book and lounge with amenities that will give our guests an exciting sports viewing experience.”

Greektown Casino Hotel Second to Market on Michigan’s Day 1

Minutes after Iden ushered in the new era of Michigan Casinos and legal sports betting, the Greektown Casino Hotel opened its own onsite sportsbook for business.

greektown casino sign michigan

Greektown Casino Hotel, Michigan

Speaking to Fox-2 Detroit, Marvin Beatty – who serves as vice president of community and public relations for Greektown – said the sportsbook’s launch culminated many months of planning and preparation:

“We’re excited, we’re ready to go, we have put our plans together.”

Thanks to parent company Penn National Gaming’s recent deal with Barstool Sports, the Greektown sportsbook venue will feature Barstool’s first gambling industry-based integrated branding:

In his comments to Fox-2 Detroit, Barstool Sports founder and chief of content Dave Portnoy promised local bettors a unique experience:

“We want to bring kind of the first high-end sports book club to Greektown, like bottle service and all that jazz.

They have a great space in there. We really want to make this a go-to destination.”

 

Jonathan Zaun

One of Gamble Online's first dedicated reporters, Jonathan has spent well over a decade reporting on the gaming industry. While breaking legal news is his main area of expertise, Jonathan is an avid blackjack player & strategist who follows professional poker closely.

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