William Hill Joins Michigan Sports Betting Game Via Tribal Partnership
When the newly legalized sports betting market in Michigan launches later this year, domestic industry leader William Hill U.S. will be in the mix on Day 1.
William Hill U.S. – the American arm of venerable British bookmaker William Hill – announced an exclusive sports betting agreement this week with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Under the terms of the long-term partnership, William Hill U.S. will become the sole provider of both physical and online / mobile sportsbook services, along with online / mobile casino gaming.
Timeline for Bifurcated Sports Betting Launch Spans Two Years
Michigan lawmakers legalized sports betting and iGaming in a comprehensive gambling expansion passed back in December. The state Legislature passed a limited iGaming package last year, but outgoing Governor Rick Snyder opted to wield his veto powers to kill the bill before leaving office.
Fortunately for sports betting and iGaming enthusiasts in the Wolverine State, current Governor Gretchen Whitmer embraced gambling expansion by quickly signing this year’s legislation into law.
Under the new law, Michigan’s three commercial casinos and 23 tribal casinos can apply for sports betting and iGaming licenses, which can then be shared with major operators like William Hill U.S.
Per the new deal, William Hill U.S. – the largest sportsbook operator in America – plans to debut a brick-and-mortar bet shop within the tribe’s Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel this year. Along with a satellite sportsbook at the Leelanau Sands Casino, the tribe’s physical William Hill U.S. operated venues are expected to open their doors before the 2020 football season.
As for the company’s online / mobile sportsbook and iGaming apps, William Hill U.S. plans to go live sometime in 2021 after state gaming regulators targeted next year as their preferred iGaming launch date.
Stakeholders Speak Out on Michigan’s Latest Gambling Partnership
The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians joined several local tribes which have already linked up with established sports betting and/or iGaming brands.
Last month, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians signed a deal with FOX Bet and PokerStars parent company The Stars Group, while the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians joined forces with Australian bookmaker PointsBet.
In a joint press release, Michael Schrader – who serves as chief executive officer of Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos – pointed to William Hill U.S.’ market leading status as a prime reason to partner up:
“It was important for us to find a partner with a great sports betting and gaming brand that has proven experience throughout the US market.
William Hill’s expertise in sports betting operations and marketing and strategic media partnerships will ensure that we are able to attract customers from throughout the State of Michigan to the online products while offering another great amenity to attract guests to our casinos.
We look forward to working with William Hill to develop the best sports book in northern Michigan at Turtle Creek Casino.”
William Hill U.S. chief executive officer Joe Asher used his statement to praise the tribe’s commitment to offering a full suite of sports betting and iGaming services:
“We are pleased to have found a great partner in the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and look forward to working with the Tribe to bring a leading retail and online sports betting experience to sports fans in Michigan.
Michigan will be a key state in William Hill’s U.S. expansion due to its large population and deep rooted-sports culture with so many popular college and pro sports teams.”