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Disclaimer: The online version of Firekeepers casino is not yet live but is expected to launch soon. This review is speculative based on what we know so far and will be updated when the casino comes online.
The Firekeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, is a favorite gambling destination for state residents and visitors. Operated by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, the casino floor is home to thousands of slots and dozens of table games. Its 26-table poker room is also the largest in the state.
Now, Firekeepers Casino Hotel is expanding its offerings with an online casino. In 2019, Michigan became the sixth state in the US to legalize online gambling. In January 2020, Firekeepers announced it had partnered with Scientific Games to provide both sports betting and online casino games. By June 2020, it had opened its retail sportsbook.
In January 2021, the first Michigan online casinos and sportsbooks launched, and Firekeepers will soon be among the options available. Read on for a guide to what you can expect, including welcome bonuses and other promotions, how to sign up for an account and download the app, site features and game selection, and information about banking options and customer support.
To compete with other Michigan online casinos, Firekeepers will no doubt offer welcome bonuses to attract new players. The most common options are no deposit bonuses and deposit matching bonuses.
A no deposit bonus or “join bonus” is free money from the casino that you can use to play games. All you have to do is sign up for an account to receive the funds. A typical amount for such a bonus is $25 or $30, although in some cases it can go as high as $50.
You must wager with a no deposit bonus and cannot immediately withdraw it. You can withdraw any winnings, however, although sometimes those funds have a playthrough requirement, as well. That means you must wager a certain amount before being able to withdraw the funds.
A deposit matching bonus, meanwhile, does require you to deposit funds. This is usually applied to the first deposit only, with the casino matching that initial deposit, usually the full amount. You will see a maximum amount for a bonus like this, typically in the range of $250 to $1,500 but sometimes higher. Some sites split the bonus across multiple deposits, e.g. the first three, instead of just one.
The deposit matching bonus always comes with a playthrough requirement. Again, that means you can’t simply withdraw the bonus money, but have to wager a certain multiple of the bonus to unlock it. For example, a 10x playthrough requirement would mean you have to bet $10 for every bonus dollar you’re trying to unlock. A $250 bonus would require $2,500 in total wagers to unlock, perhaps in $10 increments released with each $100 wagered.
Online casinos also offer other incentives. Free spins are a popular example. These free spins can be for any slot or game. Some also offer “risk-free weekends” or special days where players can receive a refund for any losses, up to a set amount.
With around a dozen online casinos already operating in Michigan, Firekeepers will certainly offer welcome bonuses to attract players, so keep an eye out for those when the site launches.
Firekeepers online casino will also no doubt run additional promotions for returning players. These also typically provide different versions of “risk-free” wagering in the form of bonuses, free spins and the like.
Such promotions almost always have certain limits or restrictions associated with them. You generally have to wager the funds you receive, so the bonuses are more like site credits than actual cash. Winnings from such bonuses also often have playthrough requirements associated with them before you can cash out.
“Refer a friend” promotions are popular, as well. With these, players who have accounts can earn bonuses, free spins, risk-free bets or other rewards just for encouraging a friend to create an account.
You might also see deposit matching bonuses for existing players, usually only for a specific time period.
Expect some form of loyalty program from Firekeepers, as well. Most online casinos have them, with players receiving additional bonuses and perks simply for playing, and high-volume players earning additional rewards.
The Firekeepers Casino Hotel has its own loyalty program, the Red Hot Rewards Club. Members receive a range of benefits, including discounts on rooms, food and drink, complimentary valet parking and various entertainment offers.
As visitors spend money both in the casino and elsewhere on the property, they accumulate points. As they accumulate more points, they ascend the various Red Hot Rewards Club tiers as follows:
There is even a Patriot tier reserved for veterans of the US military.
Firekeepers will certainly have some form of “VIP” or loyalty program for online players. Many, but not all sites affiliated with land-based properties link their retail and online loyalty programs, so players can earn points no matter how or where they play. Assuming it remains a single-state operator, it’s likely that FireKeepers will go this route, though it could also start a separate loyalty program for its online customers.
Signing up for an online casino account is simple to do. Nearly all licensed and regulated sites follow a similar process, and FireKeepers should be no exception.
First, be aware that in Michigan you must be at least 21 or older to sign up for an online casino account. Some tribal casinos in the state allow players as young as 18 or 19 to gamble. However, FireKeepers’ physical property is 21+, and in any case, Michigan law imposes that age limit statewide for online play.
Once the online casino is available, you’ll be able to find a signup link here or directly on FireKeepers’ website. From there, you will need to provide some personal information:
This information helps Firekeepers know you are who you say you are. It also helps the casino ensure the integrity of the games and the security of your funds once you deposit and start playing.
There will likely be other information you need to submit, and you’ll also need to create a username and password. Signing up for an account costs nothing, however, and generally only takes a couple of minutes at most.
Scientific Games powers a number of online casinos accessible via mobile devices by using a free downloadable app. Versions of the app are available for both Apple and Android devices.
Using your device, visit the Firekeepers online casino via a mobile browser and find the link to download the app. The site will automatically direct you to the correct app for your device. Once you’ve downloaded, you can log in and access the games, banking operations, customer support and all of the other features on the site.
Note that in some cases the casino app will not include all of the same games as the website version of the casino. Usually, though, most of the games will appear on both, especially when it comes to slots, which are typically the most popular.
Other online casinos powered by Scientific Games provide details that can help us anticipate what the Firekeepers site will include. Scientific Games already powers the Firekeepers online sportsbook, so expect the online casino to be integrated as well, letting you create a single account to use both.
Scientific Games sites generally feature an intuitive design with easy-to-find links to game settings, banking, customer support, promotions and information about responsible gambling. On the web-based version, tabs indicating game categories (slots, table games, roulette, video poker, live dealer games) will appear along the top of the main screen.
In some cases, the apps present the different games as one long scrollable list. However, both on the app and the web-based version, you can search for games by title as well. Once you choose a game, it opens in its own screen (on the app) or pop-up window (on the browser). The games feature state-of-the-art animation and graphics, as well as sound effects that you can toggle on or off as you wish.
Having Scientific Games as a partner means the Firekeepers should be able to offer a large library of games, especially slots. Scientific Games has a number of subsidiaries, including Bally Technologies, Barcrest, NextGen and WMS. That expands the potential number of games available on the site.
Here are some of the popular slots you might expect to see among Firekeepers’ offerings:
It remains to be seen if Firekeepers will include progressive jackpot slots among its choices. None of Scientific Games’ subsidiaries have them, meaning they might not be part of what is available. That could easily change, however.
Expect plenty of table games from Firekeepers online casino. These should include the following, in some cases with multiple varieties or options:
When it comes to card-based table games, Scientific Gaming has some very popular choices in its arsenal:
Live dealer games enable online casinos to provide an experience similar to what you’d find in a retail casino. Special studios featuring tables with actual dealers allow online players to play blackjack, roulette, baccarat and other games right alongside other online players.
Live dealer games have yet to arrive in Michigan, but they soon will. Some sites in the state have already partnered with Evolution Gaming, the leading live dealer company, to provide games. Keep an eye out for Firekeepers potentially to forge a similar alliance in order to offer live dealer games as well.
When it comes to funding your account at Firekeepers, expect a variety of depositing methods. Most online casinos have a $10 minimum for deposits. Available methods will likely include some or all of the following:
Withdrawal methods, meanwhile, typically aren’t as plentiful, but expect there to be multiple options to withdraw your money, as well.
Sometimes your available withdrawal methods are limited to the ways you have deposited funds. For that reason, you might spend some time looking into the different methods and choose one you like that allows to deposit and withdraw. Once you set up an option, you can easily make deposits and withdrawals thereafter without having to repeatedly enter your information.
Be aware that some withdrawal methods take longer to process than others. For example, using a prepaid card is often relatively quick (within 24 hours), while online banking or checks may take several days.
Generally speaking, online casinos provide a range of options to players seeking assistance. Most feature FAQs with answers to common issues and queries. These are usually searchable and organized by category, making it easy to find an answer.
Players can directly contact someone at the site, as well, often in multiple ways. There is usually both phone and email support available. Sometimes these methods are available around the clock. More often, they have set hours, starting early in the morning and running until midnight or later.
Live chat support is also available quite often, and this is usually 24 hours. You can access this either via the web-based version of the site or the app. For quick answers to straightforward questions, this can be the best method to use.