Sports betting comes to Illinois and Michigan

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
Sports betting comes to Illinois and Michigan

Legal sports betting is coming to both Illinois and Michigan this week, but only if bettors are willing to hoof it on down to a local casino.

Calvin Ayre reports that last Friday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board announced that Detroit’s three commercial casinos “expect to be authorised” to conduct onsite sports betting starting at 1pm on Wednesday, March 11.

The MGCB has no authority over the state’s tribal casinos, each of which will announce their own betting plans in due course.

The MGCB plans to give the commercial casinos their final approval on Tuesday following each operator’s presentations at a public meeting.

The MGCB has already issued provisional licences to the companies who are providing the casinos with betting kiosks.

MGM Resorts’ Grand Detroit had already installed two rows of betting kiosks just outside the Moneyline Sports Lounge that the property opened last October.

MGM said last Friday that it will invite “local sports legends” to the sportsbook’s official launch on Wednesday afternoon.

Michigan’s sports betting legislation also allows for mobile wagering, as well as online casino and poker, but the technical requirements for approving digital betting require more vetting than land-based wagers, so betting on the go won’t likely come to Michigan until 2021.

Illinois plans to beat Michigan to the punch by taking its first legal wagers on Monday, assuming the Illinois Gaming Board doesn’t throw up any late obstacles.

The BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines – which is owned by Churchill Downs Inc and managed by Rush Street Gaming – will hold a ceremonial opening at 10am while the sportbook’s doors will officially open at noon.

Former Chicago Blackhawks player and current hockey broadcasters Eddie Olczyk will be on hand to place the state’s first legal wager at one of five betting windows, or at one of the book’s 30 automated betting kiosks if Eddie feels a little coronavirus paranoia coming on.

Six Illinois operators have expressed interest in launching sports betting operations but the others have yet to declare when they might charge out the starting gate.

Illinois allowed online betting when it passed its betting bill last June, and BetRivers said its site and mobile app would launch later this year.

Louisiana law change means big business for Eldorado

Eldorado Resorts has received the all clear from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board to move its Isle of Capri riverboat casino to dry land. reports that Eldorado is the first operator in Louisiana to receive such an approval.

In 2018, Louisiana lawmakers passed a bill that was later signed by Governor John Bel Edwards, allowing the state’s 15 riverboats to come onto land.

It was under the condition that the operators are to be held within 1,200 feet of the original licensed docking site.

In August 2018, it was reported by that three Louisiana riverboat casinos wanted to come ashore.

They included Belle of Baton Rouge, also an Eldorado owned venture, the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner and an unidentified venue.

A copy of last week’s Louisiana Gaming Control Board’s meeting agenda confirms the agency dismissed Eldorado’s pitch to move the Isle of Capri onto dry land, and that the matter was unanimously approved.

Change to Louisiana’s gaming operations

The passage of last year’s law allows operators to bring riverboat casinos ashore, expanding their gaming areas.

That legislation reversed a previous cap on gaming space of just 30,000 feet, while allowing gaming companies to add more slot machines and table games.

Reno-based Eldorado plans to take advantage of that opportunity in Louisiana.

It has said it will spend nearly $113 million for a land-based casino that will feature 72,000 square feet of gaming space, 1,271 slot machines and 46 table games.

In its current form, the Isle of Capri has just 36 table games and barely more than 1,100 gaming machines.

Construction of the land-based property will commence at the end of next month, with a May 2021 target in mind.

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