Detroit Casinos Prepare for Sports Betting

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:

Despite Michigan not yet approving sports wagering, Detroit casinos are starting to get ready.

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Delays in Michigan are tied mostly to indecision on how much to tax sports betting. 

Casinos are optimistic however.  A new sports lounge near the hotel entrance of MGM Grand Detroit will open soon and serve as a sportsbook should legalization occur.

Penn National Gaming Inc., the new operator of the Greektown Casino, has entered into decades-long agreements with four Web gambling companies to bring sports betting to its 41 locations in 19 states.  The company operates two casinos in Michigan.

"We're envisioning what (sports betting) could look like if it were passed," said Eric Schippers, Penn National senior vice president of public affairs. "Michigan is leaving a lot of money on the table it could be generating in tax revenue and benefits that could be funded from this. There's natural pressure to strike while it's hot. We're hopeful Michigan won't allow itself to get left behind."

The Detroit News notes that sports betting is not currently part of an online gambling package under consideration by the Michigan Legislature. Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo Township hopes to change that by introducing legislation in the next month that would legalize the activity both online and in brick-and-mortar facilities.

The Internet gambling package on the table right now includes an 8 percent tax.  Sports betting margins tend to be small when compared to other forms of gambling.  Proponents suggest that a high tax rate will harm the bottom line.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gamlbing911.com

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