The online sports betting license issued in partnership with Michigan’s Island Resort & Casino has been given approval by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The online sports betting site will operate under the Sports Illustrated brand name, giving it a new online toehold in Michigan, where it could potentially also offer both online casino and poker.
The online sports betting license issued in partnership with Michigan’s Island Resort & Casino, which is operated by the Hannahville Indian Community, has been granted approval by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The online sports betting site will operate under the Sports Illustrated brand name, giving it a new online toehold in Michigan, where it could potentially also offer both online casino and poker.
The approval was received on September 7th. This is the first time that an existing Michigan licensee has switched online partners. In the past, Hannahville and Island Resort & Casino had a partnership with Twin Spires, the online arm of Churchill Downs, Inc., but earlier this year, the company decided to focus solely on horseracing opportunities.
The exit of Twin Spires from the Michigan market cleared the way for the entry of 888 into the state’s regulated online gambling market. Hannahville’s Island Resort & Casino is one of 15 tribal or commercial casinos that have been approved by the MGCB to offer one or more forms of online gambling.
Poker future is uncertain because of online casino next in Michigan
There are plans for more than just online sports betting in Michigan. The partnership will go beyond the sports-related authorization that the Hannahville tribe and 888 asked for. The next step will be to launch an online casino with the application to the state made before the end of 2022, according to an announcement.
An issue that will be pushed further down the road is when or if an online poker site will be launched in Michigan. There are currently three online poker platforms that serve Michigan players. There is online poker available in New Jersey. While Michigan has agreed in principle to join the Multistate Internet Gaming Agreement for online poker, the final details have yet to be hammered into place, and Michigan’s poker players have yet to be pooled with those from other states.
In Michigan, there isn’t a rush for 888. A Michigan-only poker site would put the three existing poker platforms servicing the state at a disadvantage, so any potential consideration of online poker for 888 must wait until Michigan is fully operational within the MSIGA.