Detroit Casinos Bet On Sports Gambling

September 13, 2019 Matt Speakman

The state of Michigan has yet to legalize sports gambling, but Detroit casinos are betting they will soon. Nearby states Illinois and Indiana have already legalized sports gambling and doesn’t appear too far behind. Michigan’s neighbor to the south Ohio is also considering the legalization of sports betting. This follows the 2018 ruling by the United States Supreme Court that states could legalize betting on college and professional sports if they choose. Before the Supreme Court ruling, Nevada was the only state to legally accept sports wagers. Following the ruling, Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, and West Virginia have seized the opportunity to generate additional revenue. Detroit is among the biggest sports cities in the United States, fielding teams in each of the four major professional leagues.

Comerica Park, the home field of the Detroit Tigers with Ford Field football stadium to the left and the Detroit skyline to the right.

Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers © 1848983 from Pixabay

Betting sports within brick and mortar complexes is expected to be approved while allowing sports wagers to be placed online is also a possibility. The legislation is expected to be introduced in September of 2019. Former Michigan governor vetoed the legalization of gambling in December of 2018.

Legalization Would Benefit Michigan

Michigan’s economy has struggled in recent years and the impact on communities has been severe. Legalized sports gambling could jumpstart the local economy and assist with recovery. It is estimated that legalizing online sports gambling would generate over $200 million per year for the state.

Detroit currently has three casinos. Greektown is the smallest which reported over $300 million in profits for 2018. MGM Grand Detroit is the largest and profited over $600 million. The MGM Grand has constructed a new sports lounge. If and when sports gambling is legalized it could easily be converted to a sportsbook. Adding sportsbooks to the casinos would add jobs and revenue, benefitting the local economy.

The Greektown Casino is operated by Penn National Gaming, Inc. Their senior vice president of public affairs is Eric Schippers who told the Detroit News, “We’re envisioning what [sports betting] could look like if passed. Michigan is leaving a lot of money on the table it could be generating in tax revenue and benefits that could be funded from this. We’re hopeful Michigan won’t allow itself to get left behind.”

Trading Places?

Additionally, Michigan would cease hemorrhaging business to the north. Across the Detroit River lies the Canadian city of Windsor, home of Caesars Windsor. It’s currently the most convenient option for citizens of Detroit to place sports bets and is on pace to exceed $10 million in non-gaming revenue for 2019.

While Canada does permit sports gambling, it’s restricted. They only allow parlaying bets involving three or more wagers. Michigan’s gambling bill would allow for single bets and two-bet parlays. Legalized sports gambling in Michigan bettors spending money within the state, and attract business from Canada.

Brian Masse is a member of Canada’s parliament for Windsor West. He addressed the issue to the Detroit News, “Obviously not being capable of having a product puts you at a disadvantage. It’s hard to quantify what the impact would be. It’s not something that would be a preferable situation to be in. It will be a competitive advantage [for Michigan].”

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