The Michigan Gaming News Letter

BetMGM Announces Responsible Gaming Promotion in Advertising

In a press release issued February 24, 2023, BetMGM announced that it will prominently feature responsible gaming messages in all of its advertising and marketing campaigns beginning March 1.  The messaging will be on BetMGM’s mobile app, digital and social platforms, property signage at retail sportsbooks and advertisements from print, television and radio ads to billboard marketing across the United States and Canada.

“We are committed to leading the industry in promoting responsible gaming, which is why we’re announcing this unprecedented pledge to spotlight responsible gaming messaging in our advertising,” said Adam Greenblatt, BetMGM CEO. “As the legalized sports betting and online gaming industry continues to expand, it is vital that we not only equip players with tools and resources for how to play in a responsible and safe manner, but that we also make a significant commitment to showcasing responsible gaming in our advertising.”

The messages were developed in partnership with GameSense, a responsible gaming program developed by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation and licensed to MGM Resorts and BetMGM.  BetMGM has integrated GameSense into its digital platforms that allow customers the tools to set spending and time limits.

MGM Resorts CEO & President Bill Hornbuckle added, “With the continued growth of sports betting and iGaming, it’s imperative that our industry remain committed to supporting the best interests of our guests and customers. MGM Resorts is the premier leader in gaming entertainment, and GameSense has helped us set the standard for promoting responsible gaming and prioritizing player health. We commend BetMGM for this groundbreaking commitment.”

Investigators Seize Equipment, Cash from Alleged Delta Township Illegal Gambling Operation

According to a press release issued by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”) on February 22nd,  state investigators seized 36 machines including computers used as slot-style gaming machines, freestanding slot-style gaming machines, table-mounted gaming machines, a coin usher machine and more than $23,000 in related cash on February 16 from an alleged illegal gaming operation, Cozy Barcade, at 3280 S. Waverly Rd, Suite C-2, Delta Township.

“Illegal gaming locations prey on vulnerable people and don’t offer the patron protections required for legal, regulated gaming.  The MGCB will continue to work hard to protect Michigan communities from crime by eliminating illegal gambling. We appreciate the public’s help in identifying possible illegal gambling locations,” said Henry Williams, Michigan Gaming Control Board executive director.

“Illegal gambling diverts taxes and revenue from our communities which is otherwise used to support our state and schools. I am grateful for the work of the Michigan Gaming Control Board in putting a stop to these unlawful actions,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

The investigation began after the MGCB received several anonymous tips about the alleged illegal gambling location.

“We have received several complaints from residents in the area about this place,” said Captain Rob Block, Eaton County Office of the Sheriff. “These establishments breed other types of crimes such as robberies, assaults and drug activity.”

Following an investigation by the Michigan Department of Attorney General and Michigan Gaming Control Board, search warrants were served at the business with assistance from the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department and Lansing Police Department.

The public can report alleged illegal gambling by contacting the MGCB at 1-888-314-2682 or

Michigan Internet Gaming and Sports Betting Operators Report Combined $187.3 Million January Total Gross Receipts

As reported by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”), Michigan commercial and tribal internet casino gaming and sports betting operators reported a combined $187.3 million total gross receipts in January. January receipts decreased 7.1% when compared to last month’s results.

January internet gaming gross receipts were a new Michigan record $153.7 million, an increase of 0.6% from the previous record set in December 2022. Gross sports receipts totaled $33.6 million, decreasing 31.1% when compared with December’s 2022’s total of $48.8 million.

Combined total adjusted gross receipts of $156.17 million were reported for January, including $138.32 million from internet gaming and $17.85 million for internet sports betting.

Total internet sports betting handle was $475.6 million and declined a fractional 0.7% when compared with December 2022 results of $496.8 million.

The operators delivered $26.1 million in taxes and payments to the State of Michigan during January, with internet gaming taxes and fees contributing $24.9 million and internet sports betting taxes and fees contributing $1.2 million.

The three Detroit Casinos – MotorCity Casino, MGM Grand Detroit, and Greektown Casino – reported city wagering taxes and municipal service fees of $7.5 million, with internet gaming taxes and fees contributing $7 million and internet sports betting taxes and fees contributing $533,763 for the month of January.

Tribal operators reported making total payments of $2.7 million of wagering payments to the tribes’ governing bodies according to the MGCB.

An online gaming and sports betting revenue distribution table is available on the agency’s website.

During January, a total of 14 operators offered internet gaming. A total of 15 commercial and tribal operators offered internet sports betting. Details for each operator’s internet gaming and internet sports betting results are available and published on the MGCB website.

Detroit Casinos Report $103.5 Million January Aggregate Revenue

According to the January revenues released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”), the three Detroit casinos reported $103.5 million in monthly aggregate revenue in January. Table games and slots generated $103.4 million in revenue, and retail sports betting generated $111,023 in revenue.

The January market shares were:

  • MGM, 48%
  • MotorCity, 30%
  • Hollywood Casino at Greektown, 22%

Monthly revenue for table games and slots rose 4.4% when compared to January 2022 results.  January revenue fell 4.4% compared to December 2022 results.

When compared with January 2022, monthly gaming revenue results were:

  • MGM, $50.2 million, rose 3.2%
  • MotorCity, $30.3 million, rose 1.3%
  • Hollywood Casino at Greektown, $22.9 million, rose 11.9%

The three Detroit casinos paid $8.4 million in gaming taxes to the State of Michigan, compared to $8 million for the same month last year.  The casinos also reported submitting $16.3 million in wagering taxes and development agreement payments to the City of Detroit in January.

Retail sports betting qualified adjusted gross receipts (QAGR) for January declined 94.3% when compared with January 2022 results. Monthly QAGR was also down 93.2% from December 2022 results. The Detroit casinos reported total retail sports betting handle of $15,277,683, and total gross receipts were $149,379.

January QAGR by property were:

  • MGM, -$62,725
  • MotorCity, $236,503
  • Hollywood Casino at Greektown, -$62,755

The three Detroit casinos reported submitting taxes on retail sports betting in the amounts of $8,490 to the State of Michigan, compared to $73,070 for the same month last year, and $10,926 to the City of Detroit during for January 2023.

Fantasy contest operators reported total adjusted revenues of $1.6 million and paid taxes of $133,324 during December 2022.

Fantasy contest operators reported aggregated total adjusted revenues of $16.8 million and paid taxes of $1.4 million in taxes during 2022.

Sault Tribe Announces New General Counsel

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced the appointment of attorney Aaron Schlehuber as the tribe’s general counsel on its website.

According to the Tribe,  “Schlehuber is uniquely qualified for the position. He is a Sault Tribe member who specializes in tribal law, gaming, business and finance. He also previously served as the tribe’s staff attorney for nearly 20 years from 2000 to 2019.”

“This is home,” said Schlehuber. “My experiences have prepared me to best serve the Sault Tribe in this new and expanded role – I look forward to the challenge and to serving the Tribe to the best of my ability.”

Schlehuber graduated from Michigan State University College of Law. After serving as a staff attorney for the Sault Tribe, Schlehuber spent two years as a tribal attorney and general counsel for the Bay Mills Indian Community and Bay Mills Community College before recently returning to the Sault Tribe.

BIA Issues Proposed Finding Proposing To Deny Recognition of Grand River Band

In a process that began decades ago, the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians (“Grand River Band”) petitioned the United States Department of Interior (“DOI”) for federal recognition.  This week, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) issued a detailed 117 page Proposed Finding Against Acknowledgement of the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians.

The BIA’s proposed finding determined that the Grand River Band did not comprise a “distinct community” at present as required by the relevant federal regulation.   Section 83.7(b) of the federal “Procedures for Establishing that an American Indian Group Exists as an Indian Tribe”, 25 CFR Part 83 (1994) requires that “[a] predominant portion of the petitioning group comprises a distinct community and has existed as a community from historical times until the present.”

In making the finding, the BIA noted that the proposed finding could change if the Grand River Band provides further evidence.   “This PF [proposed finding] is based on the evidence currently in the record. Additional evidence may be submitted during the comment period that follows publication of this finding. New evidence provided during the comment period may result in a modification or reversal of the conclusions reached in the PF [proposed finding].”  The Grand River Band and/or any individual or organization wishing to challenge or support the proposed finding have 180 days to submit arguments and evidence to the Assistant Secretary to rebut or support the proposed finding.

Last year, Governor Whitmer rejected a plan proposed by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians to build a casino in Fruitport Township near Muskegon, Michigan.   In doing so, the Governor indicated that she might be willing to revisit the topic after a decision is made by the DOI on the application by the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians who own land somewhat in proximity to the proposed Little River location. As reported in the Manistee New Advocate, the Governor stated:

“The Little River Band has invested a significant amount of time and money into its proposal, following the process prescribed by law and regulation, and secured the support of many stakeholders,” Whitmer’s statement read. “Despite the strength of the proposal, however, I am unable to concur in the Little River Band’s two-part determination because of the remaining uncertainty created by the Grand River Bands’ pending acknowledgment petition.”

In October of 2022, the DOI invited the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians to submit a new application for a casino at the Fruitport Township location, according to a news report on WZZM 13 News.  Thus, if the Grand River Band’s petition for federal recognition is ultimately denied, it may encourage a renewed effort by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians to revisit the concept of a casino location near Muskegon, Michigan.