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December 20, 2019

BY Minyetta Nelson

Detroit, MI - 

The MGM Grand Casino aims to be the first Michigan casino with live sportsbooks and is currently lobbying with lawmakers to promote and potentially expedite legislation. Michigan race tracks such as Northville Downs are also steadfast in their support of regulated sports betting. There are potential conflicts of interest in two of Detroit’s main casinos, as MotorCity Casino is owned by Detroit Red Wings owner Marian Ilitch and GreekTown Casiono by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Any sports wagering operation at those casinos would be forced to exclude bets on those teams. The MLB and NFL prohibit owners from having a stake in any gambling operations, which could create further restrictions in other states. However, Ilitch’s husband, Mike, and their son, Chris, own the Detroit Tigers. Michigan’s 23 tribal casinos are operated by sovereign nations, meaning the state can’t regulate their practices. The state oversees the finances and has compacts with the tribes, but those tribes are able to make final decisions regarding their practices in accordance with the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Because sports wagering requires more overhead costs than slot machines (the tribal casinos main source of income), those tribes may deem sports books unprofitable, especially in rural locations.