Michigan gambling laws are a mixed bag. On the one hand, Michigan has a lot of tribal casinos and a few famous land-based casinos. Michigan also allows poker nights called Millionaires Parties, lottery gambling, and “bona fide” contests. On the other hand, social gaming is illegal, while local law enforcement has been known to prosecute players (not just organizers) of illegal poker events.
For those reasons, Michigan residents who plan on gambling need to read about Michigan gambling laws closely. The state’s laws are evolving quickly, with late-breaking news that pertains to the online gambling, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports industries.
Online casino gamblers must join offshore Internet casinos if they wish to play for real money. These aren’t licensed and regulated by Michigan officials, but law enforcement doesn’t prosecute residents for real money play. Brandt Iden’s online gambling bill (4926) would regulated online casinos, but it seems further from passage in 2020 than it did in 2018 or 2019.
Michigan online sports bettors play at offshore bookmaker sites. Law enforcement doesn’t prosecute for unregulated online sports betting. Eventually, land-based casinos might offer sportsbook betting and mobile sports betting apps. The online gambling bill (H4926) has picked up steam in the legislature is the inclusion of sports betting regulations to the bill. The Lawful Internet Gaming Act now contains provisions to legalize sports betting and daily fantasy sports in Michigan. With the US Supreme Court’s May 14, 2018 decision to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), Michigan now has the right to pass sports betting regulations and license sportsbooks.
Yes, but you’ll need to gamble online at offshore gaming sites. While it’s unregulated, law enforcement doesn’t prosecute residents who bet online. Licensed and regulated online gambling might have in 2020 or 2021. State. Rep. Brandt Iden’s House Bill 4926 is among the most talked-about online gambling bills in America since 2016. Rep. Iden has championed the bill in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Though each attempt has come up short so far, Brandt Iden won re-election in 2018 and suggests that support is growing for the bill. With Rep. Kathy Crawford, Rep. Robert Kosowski, and Rep. Klint Kesto as fellow co-sponsors in the Michigan House of Representatives, 2019 might be the year H4926 finally succeeds. State Sen. Mike Kowall introduced Senate Bill 203 in 2017, which is the companion bill to H 4926. S203 had several state senators who were co-sponsors: Rick Jones, Rebekah Warren, Marty Knollenberg, Curtis Hertel, and Bert Johnson.
Like online casinos, you’ll need to join offshore online poker sites to play for real money. Poker players aren’t prosecuted for online play. Once again, Brandt Iden’s HB 4926 might license and regulated online poker, but not likely in 2020.
The best online sportsbook for Michigan gamblers is Bovada, the US successor to Bodog. When you make your first deposit at Bovada, you’ll receive a $250 welcome bonus. Wager on the full list of NFL football, NHL hockey, NBA basketball, MLB baseball, and MLS soccer. Bettors can place bets on golf, tennis, UFC, and boxing. Those who prefer international sports betting can enjoy English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, FIFA tournaments, or Champions League.
In order to buy lottery tickets or scratchcards, you’ll need to be a minimum of 18 in Michigan. Charitable gambling and pari-mutuel wagering on horse races also requires people to be 18. The minimum age for land-based casinos is 21 years or older. If you play at an online betting site, the minimum age is 18.
The top online casino for Michigan gamblers is Cafe Casino. New depositors receive their choice of Cafe Casino’s $5000 Super Play Max Bonus with a 35x wagering requirement or a $1000 No-Max Bonus with a 25x wagering requirement. If you enjoy slots, Cafe Casino has over 250 titles, including Bulletproof Babes, Bust-a-Vault, Candy Cottage, or Cyberpunk City. Test yourself in the table games section with baccarat, blackjack, craps, or roulette. Or try new games like Andar Bahar, Roll The Dice, or Teen Patti. The live dealer section of Cafe Casino includes 6 games, including live blackjack, live baccarat, and live roulette.
Bovada Poker is our recommended online poker site for Michigan gamblers. Players can enjoy $150k guaranteed tournaments and $100k guaranteed tournaments throughout the week. They can play in a wide variety of cash games, sit’n-go events, and turbo events. If they play poker on their mobile devices, they can enjoy jackpot sit-&-go events. Michigan poker players who make a deposit receive their choice of a $1000 welcome bonus or a $1250 Bitcoin bonus.
Michigan gambling laws have at least a half-dozen crimes which include penalties for organizers of illegal gaming rings, including racketeering charges. Michigan also has generations-old laws which call for the prosecution of players who engage in illegal land-based gaming. As late as 2010, law enforcement in Grand Rapids, Michigan prosecuted players at an illegal poker tournament held in a local hotel. That makes Michigan among the strictest states when it comes to gambling laws.
“Gambling game” means any game played with cards, dice, equipment or a machine, including any mechanical, electromechanical or electronic device which shall include computers and cashless wagering systems, for money, credit, or any representative of value, including, but not limited to, faro, monte, roulette, keno, bingo, fan tan, twenty one, blackjack, seven and a half, klondike, craps, poker, chuck a luck, Chinese chuck a luck (dai shu), wheel of fortune, chemin de fer, baccarat, pai gow, beat the banker, panguingui, slot machine, any banking or percentage game, or any other game or device approved by the board, but does not include games played with cards in private homes or residences in which no person makes money for operating the game, except as a player.
Online players should understand that Michigan authorities are more likely to prosecute gamblers than law enforcement in most states. You can’t apply the Grand Rapids prosecutions across the state, of course, but those who engage in unlicensed gambling should keep in mind they might be at risk of prosecution. That being said, no online gambler in Michigan has ever been prosecuted for those activities.
In either case, the laws could change in the next couple of years. A dedicated proponent of online poker, online casinos, and sports betting (Brandt Iden) has championed House Bill 4926 since 2016. Iden’s bill is gaining traction in the Michigan legislature, so players might not have to worry about sanctions in the near future.
Greektown recently was named Jack Casino Detroit when it was owned by Detroit native, Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans, Cleveland Cavaliers), but Gilbert sold the casino amid speculation he wants to buy the Detroit Tigers. Penn National Gaming now owns Greektown Casino.
Michigan’s tribal casinos are owned by a wide variety of Indian groups, including the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, and the Ojibwa tribe which is found throughout the Midwest.
No. Michigan does not have legal horsetracks, racebooks, or betting shops. Pari-mutuel wagering is not allowed in Michigan.
The state is surrounded by the Great Lakes. While horse riding was important everywhere in Colonial America and the midwestern frontier, boat travel was even more important. Horse racing never caught on in Michigan like it did in states further south.
No. Michigan also does not have off-track betting locations. No form of pari-mutuel betting is allowed in Michigan.
Yes, Michigan allows charitable gambling. The state has a variety of bingo halls that generate revenues for churches, police departments, fire departments, veterans’ groups, and other nonprofit organization.
It also has Millionaires Parties, which are a form of poker night with raffles and casino games. To host a Millionaire Party, a group has to be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
The Millionaire Party phenomenon peaked in 2012, when they gained full legitimacy. Since then, concerned citizens have warned that the system is being abused. Groups that might be “for profit” have gained accreditation, so the legislature is considering laws to tighten regulations and limit the licensing possibilities under MGCB control.
Michigan is one of the US states which has failed to exempt social gaming from anti-gambling laws. That means social gaming on sites like Zynga, Big Fish Games, and PlayMGM are illegal at present. Michigan does allow betting on “bona fide” games.
“Bona fide” gaming is used in over a dozen US states as a workaround to betting on oneself. If a player bets on a “contest for the determination of skill, speed, strength or endurance or the bona fide owners of animals or vehicles entered in such a contest”, it is considered a bona fide contest.