Tag: Madness

What To Know Ahead Of March Madness

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Rest assured, sports betting is coming to Michigan, and it’s coming sooner than you think.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) recently announced that on Tuesday it expects to give final approval for sports betting at the three commercial casinos in downtown Detroit.

With approval, sports betting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11.

“With just 11 weeks to prepare, MGCB staff worked hard to make the launch of onsite sports betting at the Detroit commercial casinos possible,” said Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director.

A spokesperson with BetMGM confirmed they expect to start taking bets immediately at MGM Grand Detroit. It’s unknown if Detroit’s other two casinos, Greektown and Motor City will launch on Wednesday.

As a casual or expert bettor, you may have a few questions such as:

  • When will I be able to begin placing bets?
  • What will sports betting look like in Michigan?
  • Can I place bets using my smartphone or computer?

The staff here at PlayUSA has curated as much information as possible about Michigan sports betting, and we want to share it with you.

The basics of Michigan sports betting

Michigan became the 20th state to pass a sports betting bill with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature in December 2019. The bill authorizes sports betting at the state’s three commercial casinos in downtown Detroit.

  • Greektown Casino + Penn National
  • MGM Grand/GVC + Roar Digital
  • Motor City Casino + FanDuel Sportsbook

The 24 tribal casinos will also be permitted to offer sports betting. However, since they are not regulated by the MGCB it’s very hard to speculate when they will launch. Experts have anticipated tribal casinos will most likely beat commercial facilities to launch but that has yet to be seen.

When will Michigan sports betting launch?

Regulators originally anticipated the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament as a viable launch date. But now it appears that the timeline has moved to Wednesday, March 11.

March Madness, which begins March 17, is obviously one of the annual peak periods for US betting, along with the Super Bowl and start of NFL season. The basketball frenzy is a big opportunity to start MI sports betting with a bang, which means a lot of potential revenue from March Madness betting.

What can we expect MI betting to look like?

Sports betting will operate a lot like it does in places like New Jersey, Nevada, and Indiana. Operations will begin with retail sportsbooks only, then gradually introduce mobile wagering at a later date.

Regulators in Michigan have stated they want to take their time when developing rules and regulations for mobile wagering and have an expected target date of 2021. So in the meantime, you will not be able to place bets online or via a smartphone.

It’s expected that casino properties will have a designated sportsbook lounge or area complete with TVs, seating and betting counters where customers wait in line to place bets. MGM Grand recently completed construction on a $7 million “sports lounge” complete with numerous amenities including self-serve betting kiosks.

If you’re looking for what things could look like, Horsehoe Casino and Ameristar Casino in Hammond, IN, can provide you with a good visual.

Tribal gaming partnerships

Thus far, there are only three sports betting/tribal gaming partnerships.

  • PointsBet + Northern Waters Casino Resort, operated by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
  • The Star Group/ Fox Bet + Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.
  • William Hill + the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

William Hill will operate sports betting at the Onyx Sports Bar at Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel and a satellite location at Leelanau Sands Casino. Both locations are expected to be open by the start of the 2020 football season.

With 24 tribal casinos spread across the state, there are surely more partnerships to come.

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Why It Looks Like Montana Sports Betting Will Launch In Time For March Madness

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The terminals are packed up. They’re powered up, in essence. Within days, drivers will begin delivering them to more than 150 locations throughout the state.

Get ready, Montana. Potentially within a week, legalized sports betting will kick off in Big Sky Country, courtesy of Sports Bet Montana.

“There’s a robust gambling market already in Montana,” said Jennifer McKee, communications manager for the Montana Lottery. Powered by Intralot, sports betting in the state will be overseen by the lottery.

“Mostly what we’ve heard from people is why (sports betting) isn’t already up and running. It’s almost unilateral excitement and people really want it to be out right now.”

Fear not, Treasure Staters: Sports Bet Montana is in its final stages of preparation. And just in time for March Madness.

Sports betting terminals ready for delivery in Montana

After some delays, Montana sports betting is about to kick into overdrive.

Within the past few weeks, the Montana Lottery Commission approved bet types and sports, the lottery installed “communication beacons” at locations that will house betting terminals, and the lottery readied said terminals for delivery, which begins March 9.

Theoretically, within two weeks, Montana sports betting could be operational.

“The limiting factor for us is just the size of the state of Montana,” McKee said. “We’re going to be delivering equipment as quickly as possible and getting as many installed as possible.”

Not only does Montana’s size affect the speed at which the lottery can fulfill deliveries, so, too, does the over 150 locations that have signed up to host betting terminals.

Hope is for little lag time after deliveries

As McKee emphasized, the betting terminals will already be functioning before the lottery even delivers them.

“But because this is a completely new activity,” she added, “they’ll be delivered and very soon after that there will be a lottery crew training on how the equipment works.”

Once again citing the sheer size of Montana (it is the fourth-largest by area in the US), as well as the number of locations expecting deliveries, McKee could not provide a built-in timeline for when sports betting will launch. But the anticipation, she said, is “very soon.”

“We didn’t want to do an all-at-once launch, just because of the geographic concerns,” McKee said. “It can take so long, we didn’t want to have dark terminals.”

What Montana sports betting will offer

The upside for bettors: Montana will accept wagers on professional and college sports. On top of that, Montana university athletics are also in play.

From basketball to baseball, football to hockey, soccer to tennis, golf to boxing, and MMA to motor sports, Sports Bet Montana will have a decent variety of betting offerings.

That said, the lottery has instituted betting limits for those placing wagers both at kiosks and via the Sports Bet Montana app and website.

Gamblers at terminals cannot bet more than $250, while mobile wagers will be capped at $1,000. This is part of the lottery’s ongoing pursuit to “contribute to the common good” of Montana gaming, as McKee put it. With these limits, sports betting operates under a more controlled environment.

So, too, is the lottery’s decision pertaining to mobile wagering.

Montana sports betting goes mobile… kind of

In a sense, Montana will offer online sports betting via the Sports Bet Montana app and website.

But bettors will only have access to these mobile options within establishments that house betting terminals. These sites feature “communication beacons” that interact with the Sports Bet Montana app and website.

At the door of each location, however, exists “null-beacons” that prevent the signal from getting outside.

Already, McKee said, more than 70 locations have been outfitted with communication beacons.

Pending lawsuit will not delay Montana sports betting

Several months after HB 725 passed to legalize sports betting in the state, the Montana Lottery included an addendum that required businesses to possess a specific alcohol license in order to be qualified to offer regulated wagering.

As the legislature didn’t initially require such a stipulation, a lawsuit was filed against the lottery. Not only did the plaintiff request it be awarded a sports wagering license despite not owning an alcohol license, it also asked for the court to issue a restraining order until a ruling is made.

While McKee could not comment on the lawsuit, as it remains pending, the request for an injunction was denied.

Despite the pending lawsuit, Montana sports betting chugs along.

What kind of future does Montana sports betting have?

Excitement abounds for regulated wagering in the Treasure State, at least from McKee’s perspective — and not only from businesses that will house terminals, but also from the public.

Even the state’s colleges have expressed support, according to McKee. (Interview requests to several universities either went unreturned or were denied.)

“We’ve worked with the Commissioner of Higher Education here,” McKee said. “Part of our system is colleges and universities have their own standards for who can and who can’t bet. So what we’ve done to help them, and to help anyone who wants assistance with not gambling, is you can go into our system and put yourself on a self-exclusion list.”

McKee noted that several athletic directors in the state raised “very legitimate questions” about how the Montana Lottery would be able to control sports betting. Already, the lottery has displayed the controlled environment it has created: betting terminals at select locations, communication beacons to allow for mobile wagering within these establishments, and limits on how much bettors can wager.

While over 150 businesses are licensed to host betting terminals, upwards of 1,400 locations are eligible to offer regulated sports betting. That, combined with Montana’s hunger for gambling, should make the state’s sports betting industry relatively successful, per McKee.

“From our perspective as the lottery,” she said, “we’re really focused on putting out a product that people will really enjoy and make it successful.”

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