Illinois land-based betting starts Monday, Michigan on Wednesday


illinois-michigan-casinos-launch-sports-bettingLegal sports betting is coming to both Illinois and Michigan next week, but only if bettors are willing to hoof it on down to a local casino.

On Friday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) announced that Detroit’s three commercial casinos “expect to be authorized” to conduct onsite sports betting starting at 1pm on Wednesday, March 11. The MGCB has no authority over the state’s tribal casinos, each of which will announce their own betting plans in due course.

The MGCB plans to give the commercial casinos their final approval on Tuesday following each operator’s presentations at a public meeting. The MGCB has already issued provisional licenses to the companies who are providing the casinos with betting kiosks.

Speaking of, MGM Resorts’ MGM Grand Detroit has already installed two rows of betting kiosks just outside the Moneyline Sports Lounge that the property opened last October. MGM said Friday that it will invite “local sports legends” to the sportsbook’s official launch on Wednesday afternoon.

Michigan’s sports betting legislation also allows for mobile wagering (as well as online casino and poker) but the technical requirements for approving digital betting require more vetting than land-based wagers, so betting on the go won’t likely come to Michigan until 2021.

Meanwhile, Illinois plans to beat Michigan to the punch by taking its first legal wagers on Monday, assuming the Illinois Gaming Board doesn’t throw up any late obstacles.

The BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines – which is owned by Churchill Downs Inc and managed by Rush Street Gaming – will hold a ceremonial opening at 10am while the sportsbook’s doors will officially open at noon.

Former Chicago Blackhawks player and current hockey broadcaster Eddie Olczyk will be on hand to place the state’s first legal wager at one of five betting windows, or at one of the book’s 30 automated betting kiosks if Eddie feels a little coronavirus paranoia coming on.

Six Illinois operators have expressed interest in launching sports betting operations but the others have yet to declare when they might charge out the starting gate. Illinois allowed online betting when it passed its betting bill last June, and BetRivers said its site and mobile app would launch at some unspecified date later this year.