Michigan Gambling News - June 2024

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

Bovada Restricts Michigan Residents From Registering Betting Accounts Following Cease & Desist Letter

(June 22, 2024) - Reading some of the Friday morning media accounts one would have thought the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) had pulled a North Korea...or worse, an Aussie ACMA.  Regardless of what one may think of Bovada allowing gamblers in Michigan to place bets, blocking their website is not the American way.

Internet censorship in the United States is the suppression of information published or viewed on the Internet in the United States. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects freedom of speech and expression against federal, state, and local government censorship.

Applauding that type of behavior, though fictional, is surely not going to win over the gambling public.

To be clear, Bovada responded to the MGCB Cease & Desist letter by updating its Terms & Conditions for "restricted jurisdictions".  They now include Michigan and Colorado, the latter of whom quietly sent out a request and thanked Bovada for adding the state to its list.

By late Friday, it became abundantly clear Bovada had not booted all its Michigan customers or blocked them access from the site.  Current customers can still play there (as of June 22 at least) but must make withdrawals via cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. 

If you happen to live in Detroit and want to join Bovada, you'll have no problem filling out the registration form.  But once you are prompted to enter that 48127 Detroit ZIP code, you'll be met with the message that "Bovada is currently not available from your region".  


The MGCB started cracking down on unlicensed Michigan gambling operators late last year, first going after social casinos like the popular Chumba Casino.  Bovada is licensed, just not in the state of Michigan.  They take bets worldwide courtesy of their Curacao license.

So why target Bovada?

That site has, in the past, either utilized search engine professionals or had affiliates use techniques, with or without the gambling site's knowledge, that made it appear as if Bovada was located in certain jurisdictions via Google Maps.  We don't know if these methods were employed in Michigan per se.  They were used in other state cities.

Billboards, radio and television ads in the Michigan market would also draw the ire of regulators.  Again, we don't know if that occurred with Bovada here.


Michigan Gaming Control Board Uncovers Illegal Gambling Operation in Recent Raid at Red Horse Bar in Saginaw

(June 22, 2024) -

On Wednesday morning, June 5, following a joint investigation by the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), state investigators executed a search warrant at the Red Horse Bar, located at 4780 State Street in Saginaw.

Assisted by the Michigan State Police, authorities confiscated 6 slot-style gaming machines along with $2,820 in gift cards and $5,161 in suspected gambling proceeds from the location.

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring compliance with all state gambling regulations,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said. “We will continue to work diligently to identify and eliminate any illegal gambling activities that pose a threat to the integrity of the industry and the welfare of the public.”

Following an investigation into a citizen’s tip, it was determined that illegal gambling was taking place at the Red Horse Bar. Despite the issuance of a cease-and-desist letter by the MGCB, the owners, Christopher and Nicholas Adams, failed to comply, leading to the raid that took place earlier this month on June 5.

The defendants were arraigned on felony gambling charges on Thursday, June 6 in the 70th District Court, located at 111 S. Michigan Avenue in Saginaw, and were each released on $6,000 personal bonds. A preliminary exam is scheduled for Monday, June 24 to further address the legal proceedings against the Adams brothers responsible for this alleged illicit operation.

The Michigan Penal Code broadly prohibits any kind of gambling except for what is authorized by law, with potential consequences for Michigan businesses operating gaming machines illegally including criminal charges and/or monetary fines. The MGCB publishes fact sheets about the law and unregulated machines on its website at Michigan.gov/MGCB and gives businesses who violate the law opportunities to comply before authorities become involved and have to confiscate equipment and money collected from the illegal operation.

Michigan Current Sports Betting Market

The legal age to bet online and in person is 21, however, some tribal locations do allow those 19 and up to place bets in person.  Opening an online betting account can be done from one's own home via a licensed website's registration page. 

Online sportsbook Mobile app Odds provider Online casino Retail partner
BetMGM Yes BetMGM Yes MGM Grand Detroit
BetRivers Yes Kambi Yes Little River Casino
Caesars Sportsbook Yes Caesars Yes Turtle Creek Casino
DraftKings Yes SBTech Yes Bay Mills
Eagle Casino & Sports Yes GAN Yes Soaring Eagle Casino
ESPN BET Yes PENN No Hollywood Casino at Greektown
Fanatics Sportsbook Yes Amelco Yes N/A
FanDuel Yes Flutter Yes MotorCity Casino
FireKeepers Yes SG Digital Yes FireKeepers Casino
Four Winds Yes Kambi Yes Four Winds Casino
WynnBET Yes GAN Yes Kewadin Casinos
Play Gun Lake (Parx) Yes Kambi Yes Gun Lake Casino
SI Sportsbook Yes Kambi No Island Resort and Casino

Michigan Current Gambling Tax Rules

Michigan allows individuals to claim a state income tax deduction for gambling losses claimed on their federal tax return per a tax reform law effective for the 2021 tax year and beyond.

Sports bet winnings are taxed as income, both at the federal and state level. 25% on all winnings must be paid to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) no matter how big or small. Michigan law requires you to pay an additional 4.25 in state tax%.

While you can claim losses, they cannot be in excess of any claimed winnings.

What You Can't Bet in Michigan as of June 2024

No betting on elections, celebrity prop bets, most novelty prop bets, eSports.

Can I Play on Internet Casinos in Michigan?

Yes.  They must be regulated.

Can I Play Online Poker in Michigan?

Yes.  Michigan pools with players from Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia.

Pros and Cons of Gambling in Michigan

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is fast becoming one of the most stringent gambling regimes in the US, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if you are a player.  The MGCB has not been shy about going after who they claim to be unauthorized operators, and this extends to so-called "charity casinos".

Those betting on licensed apps must provide a social security number.

Cryptocurrency funding is forbidden by the MGCB at this time.


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