Michigan has joined neighboring Illinois in launching legal retail sports wagering this week after on Tuesday the state’s gaming control board gave final approval to Detroit’s three commercial casinos.

The move comes on the heels of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signing of legislation on December 20, 2019, to legalize sports betting and internet gambling in the Great Lakes State.

Detroit triple play:

MGM Resorts International’s, MGM Grand Detroit, (pictured), along with Greektown Casino-Hotel, owned by real estate investment trust Vici Properties and operated by Penn National Gaming, took the state’s first legal wagers on Wednesday afternoon, while MotorCity Casino Hotel will reportedly launch on Thursday, according to PlayMichigan.com.

Tuesday’s approval by the Michigan Gaming Control Board was just in time for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, a.k.a March Madness, which is one of the busiest betting events of the year. However, sports bettors in the midwestern US state will likely have to wait until 2021 before online sports betting and internet casino operations become available.

Tempered expectations:

PlayMichigan.com chief analyst, Dustin Gouker, said

“Today is something that sports bettors across Michigan have been waiting for for years, which makes it a moment to celebrate. But much work remains, particularly with the launch of online sports betting still months away, if Michigan is to reach its potential as a market.”

Michigan was the 13th US state to legalize online sports betting and the fifth to legalize online casino gambling. and according to the gambling news portal, it is expected to generate between $7 billion and $8 billion worth of sports wagers annually, while producing $500 million a year in gross operator revenue.

The state won’t see anything close to those numbers though until the launch of online sports betting, which probably isn’t going to happen until next year. According to the online gambling news portal, in February, nearly 78 percent of all of neighboring Indiana‘s bets were placed online, while in the nation’s largest sports betting market, New Jersey, over 85 percent of all sports wagers are made online.

According to Gouker…

“With the NCAA Tournament just ahead, the timing of the launch is good, but it would have been better if both retail and online sports betting could have launched together. The high expectations for the market should remain relatively muted until online sportsbooks get off the ground. Once that happens, though, Michigan should ramp up rapidly.”

Favorable tax structure:

Subject to a tax of 8.4 percent on adjusted gross sports betting receipts, along with an additional 1.25 percent city tax for Detroit commercial casinos, Michigan appears to be well-positioned to capitalize on the reasonable tax structure once the regulations for online sportsbooks have been finalized by the state.

Casinos in the state have already partnered with industry leaders, such as FanDuel, which will power MotorCity Casino’s sportsbook; William Hill US, which in February announced a long-term partnership with the federally-recognized Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians; and Australian-based PointsBet, which in January announced a 20-year access deal with the Lac Vieux Desert (LVD) Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

“Michigan has put together a balanced framework that is fair to operators and should yield significant tax revenue for the state,” Gouker said. “By being thoughtful in their approach, Michigan lawmakers avoided some of the growth-stunting policies that will likely slow down states such as Illinois.”

Kambi firsts:

Meanwhile, leading B2B supplier of premium sports betting services, Kambi Group, in partnership with Penn National Gaming, launched its sportsbook – outfitted with 40 Kambi kiosks and four betting windows – at Greektown Casino on Wednesday afternoon, making it the 10th US state where the Kambi Sportsbook is live.

On Monday, Rush Street Interactive, via its Kambi partnership, took the first legal sports bet in neighboring Illinois at the new Rivers Casino Sportsbook, where there are 30 kiosks and five betting windows.

Both operators will have benefit from Kambi’s price differentiation tool, and its market-leading kiosks.

Commenting on the same week market-first launches in an official news release, Chief Commerical Officer for Kambi, Max Meltzer, said…

“Kambi’s record for quality and swift delivery is central to our ongoing US progress, and we are delighted to have powered two more market firsts for our partners.

“When people look back at this historic period of legalising sports wagering across the US, they will see Kambi was the supplier powering the most firsts and our partners becoming the market leaders in their respective states. It’s all encompassed in our Partner with Confidence strategy.”