Leading sports betting operator William Hill has signed a long-term partnership agreement with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB).

The collaboration will see the renowned sports book brand become the exclusive provider of the federally recognized tribe’s online sports betting and online casino gaming throughout the state of Michigan.

US expansion:

Via the partnership agreement, and pending regulatory approvals, this year will see a retail William Hill Sports Book inside the current Onyx Sports Bar at GTB’s Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. The plans also include a satellite location at the tribe’s Leelanau Sands Casino located 20 miles north of Traverse City.

The two sports books are, according to the official press release, are expected to open in time for the 2020 NFL season.

Chief Executive Officer for William Hill US, Joe Asher, said…

“We are pleased to have found a great partner in the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and look forward to working with the Tribe to bring a leading retail and online sports betting experience to sports fans in Michigan.

“Michigan will be a key state in William Hill’s U.S. expansion due to its large population and deep rooted-sports culture with so many popular college and pro sports teams.”

Statewide appeal:

Also commenting on the new partnership, Chief Executive Officer for Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos, Michael Schrader, who was likewise pleased with the long-term agreement, added…

“It was important for us to find a partner with a great sports betting and gaming brand that has proven experience throughout the US market.

“William Hill’s expertise in sports betting operations and marketing and strategic media partnerships will ensure that we are able to attract customers from throughout the State of Michigan to the online products while offering another great amenity to attract guests to our casinos. We look forward to working with William Hill to develop the best sports book in northern Michigan at Turtle Creek Casino.”

Enabling legislation:

Hill has plans to launch both online sports betting and online casino gaming when Michigan regulations permit.

The agreement follows Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s December 20, 2019, signing of a 10-bill package into law that legalizes Internet gaming and sports betting through the Great Lakes State’s casinos. The legislation also allows tribal casinos to participate in these verticals at an equal level to Detroit‘s three commercial casinos.

While the laws (Lawful Internet Gambling Act and Lawful Sports Betting Act) took effect immediately, it will, according to recent reports, take a year to complete the rule-making process that will make it possible for the state‘s tribal casinos and commercial casinos in Detroit to obtain sports bettor licenses.

While Michigan missed the mobile sports betting boat for the 2019 NFL season, due to the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act of 1997, the state’s casinos could see sports wagering in time for March Madness.