Gaming Laws in Michigan
The state of Michigan was one of the first in the United States to approve casino gambling. Passed in 1996, the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act gave the go-ahead for the City of Detroit to open three casinos. These casinos would be allowed to offer Vegas-style gambling including slot machines, table games, and poker. The Michigan Gaming Control Board was also formed to overlook gaming in Detroit.
Even before these three casinos were approved in Detroit, the state of Michigan had enjoyed casino gaming thanks to tribal gaming. In 1993 the state of Michigan entered into agreements with several of the state's federally recognized tribes to help oversee and regulate Native American gaming across the state.
Online Gambling Ban and Repeal
In 1999, Michigan adopted SB 562 which specifically stated that it was unlawful to use the internet to violate Michigan's anti-gaming laws. If this law were still in place, it would have been a major blow to the freedom of Michigan residents to place bets online. But in 2000 the state of Michigan adopted Public Act 185 which repealed all references to anti-gambling on the internet. There are no longer any laws in place against wagering online.
Sports Betting in Michigan
Currently, the state of Michigan does not offer any legal options for sports bettors in the state to place bets either offline or online. The state has harsh penalties on the books for bookmaking, or in the law's words “accepting money or valuable thing contingent on uncertain event”. Someone that partakes in bookmaking or allows bookmaking on their private premises can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face a fine or jail time.
Bookmaking is explicitly stated as illegal by Michigan law, but betting is not. There is no mention in the state's laws of it being illegal to place wagers, only to receive them. This, coupled with the fact that there are no laws in place against online wagering since Public Act 185 passed, makes online sports betting a safe and viable option for residents in Michigan.
To date, there have been no cases of a resident or visitor of the state of Michigan being charged with a crime for betting sports online. Michigan has no jurisdiction over offshore sportsbooks that are located outside of the United States. Most sports betting sites that accept players from the United States will accept residents of Michigan.
Poker and Casino in Michigan
The City of Detroit is one of the most populated cities in the United States to feature full resort casinos. The MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City Casino and Greektown Casino offer Michigan residents the chance to play popular casino games like slot machines, table games and poker 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In addition to the three casinos in Michigan's biggest city, there are also over a dozen active tribal casinos spread out around the state. Like the three casinos in Detroit, these Native American casinos offer all of the most popular electronic and table games.
With roughly 20 casinos located throughout the state and most of them including poker rooms, live poker players have plenty of options when it comes to cash games and tournaments. For players that are looking for even more options, online poker can serve as a good option.
The state of Michigan does not sanction online poker, but it also makes no mention of it being illegal. There are also no laws in place against playing poker in a private setting or online specifically. No charges or arrests have ever been made in the state of Michigan for a resident playing online poker at an offshore poker room.
Other Gaming Options in Michigan
Horse racing fans have two options to see live harness racing and bet on simulcasted races around the country. The two raceways that have remained opened to date are the Hazel Park Raceway in Hazel Park and Northville Downs in Northville. These are the only two locations in the state for horse players to play.
The Michigan Lottery began in 1973 with the Green Ticket game and today features many local options as well as participation in the major interstate lotteries of the Mega Millions and Powerball. Local games include Club Keno, Pull-tabs, and standard draw games and scratch-off cards.