The Michigan Gaming News Letter

MGCB Licenses Third Horse Racing Advance Deposit Wagering Provider Just in Time For the Resumption of Live Racing at Northville Downs

On Wednesday of this week, the Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard S. Kalm issued an order granting Xpress Bet a conditional temporary third-party facilitator license under the Horse Racing Law of 1995.   Sports bettors in Michigan now can place bets on live and simulcast pari-mutuel horse races using mobile wagering through Xpress Bet in addition to the already licensed and authorized third-party facilitators TVG Network and TwinSpires/Churchill Downs.

“Michigan horse racing fans now have a third option for betting on horse races from anywhere in the state using mobile wagering,” Kalm said. “It’s a win for horse racing fans who want more choices in convenient mobile wagering providers, and the horse racing industry hopes to tap additional funding through this betting format.”

In December 2019, Michigan’s Horse Racing Law was amended to allow a race meeting licensee to use contracted third-party firms to facilitate wagering on live and simulcast pari-mutuel racing. A bettor creates an account with the third-party facilitator and can use a mobile device or computer to place wagers on pari-mutuel races using the money on deposit. A simulcast wager is a bet on a horse race occurring outside of Michigan, such as the Kentucky Derby. The MGCB approved mobile wagering on horse races in June 2020.

The approval of Xpress Bet comes just in time for the resumption of live racing at Michigan’s only track, Northville Downs.  The track is holding live race meetings on Fridays and Saturdays starting April 2 continuing through June 26th.  Further information on the full live racing schedule is available on Northville Downs’ website.

Northville Downs’ resumption of Live Racing will be in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.


On Wednesday, March 31, the Ohio Senate’s Select Committee on Gaming conducted its final hearing for interested parties to voice their views on the expansion of gaming in the state to include sports betting. The gaming committee was commissioned in January to oversee “gaming regulation in Ohio and to analyze the industries’ economic impact on the state” and conducted nine hearings to explore the topic.  The committee received input from a variety of stakeholders, including professional Ohio sports teams, local businesses, state lottery officials, and large casino operators. In total, the committee heard from over 40 people.

A bill is expected to be put together by the end of April and introduced when the legislature returns from an Easter and Spring break.

At a press conference held in early March, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine expressed his confidence that the legalization and regulation of sports gaming “is inevitable and [is] coming to Ohio.” Ohio would become the twenty-sixth state to authorize sports gaming, if the legislature decides to do so.


In a press release issued March 31, 2021, the Nottawaseppi Huron Potawatomi Band (NHBP), owners and operators of the FireKeepers Casino Hotel, announced that it has recently contributed $15.6 million to the State of Michigan and the local revenue sharing board and that the combined revenue sharing payments paid to the State of Michigan and the local revenue sharing board have exceeded $233 million.  State and local revenue sharing payments are required under the terms of the compact the NHPB negotiated with the State of Michigan related to the operation of the FireKeepers casino since its opening 12 years ago.

The most recent payments totaled over $15.6 million, with payments to the State of Michigan totaling $10.7 million and local revenue sharing payments totaling over $4.9 million.  Overall, NHPB has contributed over $173.4 million to the State of Michigan and $59.7 million to the local revenue sharing board.  The payments to the local revenue sharing board have benefitted numerous local groups, including:

  • Harper Creek Community Schools
  • Calhoun County Road Commission
  • Emmett Township
  • Calhoun County
  • Calhoun Intermediate School District
  • Kellogg Community College
  • Willard Library
  • Athens Township
  • Marshall Township
  • City of Marshall
  • City of Battle Creek
  • Athens Area Schools
  • Village of Athens
  • Battle Creek Public Schools
  • Marshall Public Schools
  • Lakeview School District
  • Pennfield Schools

“Revenue sharing distributions are a source of enormous pride for NHBP Tribal Members, as well as the FireKeepers team,” stated Jamie Stuck, Tribal Council Chairperson of the NHBP. “To produce these numbers after being closed for 12-weeks truly speaks to the ability of our team to adapt to unforeseen and extremely difficult situations while retaining a focus on creating a safe environment for guests and delivering award-winning service.”

Kathy George, Chief Executive Officer at FireKeepers Casino Hotel stated.  “I am so proud of this group of Team Members who have risen above the countless challenges this past year has presented; and go above and beyond for our valued guests day after day.”


Gun Lake Casino recently announced a $5,000 donation to the Exodus Place, a nonprofit organization that provides hygiene kits to homeless men and helps to provide them with development and rapid re-housing.  The donation from Gun Lake Casino will provide a year’s supply of the kits.  The Exodus Place program provides its members with a variety of essential services, including transitional housing, case management, medical care and support, spiritual advising, clothing services, education, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), MRT, member activities, a points program, GED preparation, workforce development and even a barbershop.

“Gun Lake Casino recognizes that vital organizations, like Exodus Place, have experienced a loss of funding for critical care donations due to the Coronavirus pandemic,” stated Sal Semola, president and chief operating officer of Gun Lake Casino. “We are proud to support Exodus Place and their mission of empowering men and providing the tools needed to overcome homelessness. We sincerely hope that our donation contributes to the success of many. ”

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with Gun Lake Casino and to be providing hygiene items to the men we serve. At Exodus Place, the first step to a new member’s development is to restore their dignity and pride, and Gun Lake Casino is helping us do that. They are making a positive impact on men in need,” said Robb Munger, president and CEO of Exodus Place.