Sports Betting In Michigan Casinos Could Happen Before NCAA Tournament

By 97.1 The Ticket
(97.1 The Ticket) -- College basketball fans are gearing up for March Madness, with the Big Ten Tournament starting next week and the NCAA Tournament a week later.

Millions of Americans place bets on the tournament each year, but Michiganders may finally be able to do so legally by the time the Big Dance rolls around.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of bills into law last December that will allow legal sports bets to be placed in-person at Michigan's commercial and tribal casinos, and eventually online.

Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo Twp., the bill's initial sponsor, says the state's Gaming Control Board is still working on finalizing rules and regulations for casino sportsbooks in Michigan. 

In-person sports betting at casinos could be up and running before the NCAA Tournament, and possibly sooner, according to Iden.

"I think we're a couple weeks away. Based on what I've been hearing from Gaming Control Board, I would anticipate probably before the Big Ten Tournament," Iden told WWJ's Tim Skubick.

The Big Ten Tournament begins Wednesday, March 11, while the NCAA Tournament tips off with the First Four games in Dayton on March 17 and 18, with the full slate of games beginning on March 19.

Specifics on the sportsbook regulations gaming officials will set are still unclear, but MGM Grand Detroit has a sports lounge that's ready to be turned into a sportsbook. Greektown Casino also has a sportsbook ready to go when officials give the OK. It's not clear whether Motor City Casino has any plans for a sportsbook in the near future.

The bills signed into law call for sports betting revenue to be taxed at 8.4%, while the commercial casinos in Detroit will pay an additional 1.25% city tax.