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BetAmerica is the latest online gambling operator to stake out its turf in Michigan. In a press release issued Wednesday, the company announced that it will enter the market through an alliance with the Hannahville Indian Community and its Island Resort & Casino.
“We are incredibly excited about our new partnership with BetAmerica,” said Tribal Chairperson Kenneth Meshigaud. “The BetAmerica sportsbook will expand upon our already compelling number of entertainment options, and provides another great reason for people to come and visit us up here on Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula.”
Lawmakers legalized online gambling in Michigan in December 2019, and regulators are now working to authorize launch this fall.
BetAmerica will offer both mobile and retail sports betting as well as online casino games under Island’s license. The retail sportsbook could end up launching well before either online vertical.
The young Michigan sports betting market got off to the most unfortunate of starts this year. Detroit casinos began taking bets during the week of March 11, only to close just days later as COVID-19 forced a nationwide shutdown.
Those three casinos remain closed even now, while the state’s tribal casinos have all reopened. Island Casino was in fact one of the first to do so on May 16. Some larger properties like FireKeepers and Four Winds have since launched their retail sportsbooks, and BetAmerica may seek to do the same soon at Island.
Meanwhile, Michigan is making progress towards getting online sportsbooks and casinos off the ground too. The state’s Gaming Control Board released a draft of its regulations last week and will soon hold a public hearing before producing a final version. Its most optimistic timeline would allow BetAmerica and others to launch their gambling apps apps as soon as October.
Any hiccup in the regulatory process could push the go-live date back into 2021.
BetAmerica is still a fairly new name in US online gambling and sports betting. The company itself was founded in 2007 as an offshoot of Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI), owner of both the eponymous racetrack and the Kentucky Derby it hosts there.
BetAmerica operated exclusively as a racebook for 10 years before CDI announced in 2018 that it was expanding the brand in partnership with SBTech, a white-label supplier of sportsbook and iGaming technology. While still offering race betting in almost all states, it has since begun offering online casino gambling and sports betting too.
BetAmerica is up against some tough competition, with companies like DraftKings and Flutter holding an edge in terms of size, brand recognition, and marketing spend. The DraftKings/SBTech merger posed an additional problem for BetAmerica, one it will solve by migrating to a GAN platform and Kambi sportsbook.
None of these problems have stopped it from throwing its hat into the ring. BetAmerica now offers its full suite of products in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, plus a sportsbook in Indiana.
To date, the company has not announced plans for online gambling West Virginia — a market that is still in its infancy and possibly too small to be of interest.