Michigan Welcomes First Online Poker Operator, Tennessee Adds More Sportsbooks in Latest License Approvals

  • Flutter brands, Barstool Casino received MI licenses as TN approved William Hill, Wynn Sports
  • PokerStars became the Wolverine State's first online poker operator after its launch on Friday
  • Tennessee's two new sportsbook licensees won't launch in time for the Super Bowl on February 7
  • The state's sports betting market saw December 2020 handle of $180.9m, up 38% month-on-month
Red approval stamp on license application document
Michigan welcomed its first online poker operator Friday, as Tennessee added two new sportsbooks in the latest round of license approvals. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Joining the party

Gaming regulators in Michigan and Tennessee have approved their next round of licenses, permitting more operators to launch sportsbooks and online gaming offerings in the burgeoning markets.

PokerStars, Stars Casino, and FOX Bet all launched in the Wolverine State on Friday

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has authorized online gaming and sports betting licenses for the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians. Flutter Entertainment-owned PokerStars, Stars Casino, and FOX Bet all launched in the Wolverine State on Friday through their partnership with the casino operator.

Through an agreement with Detroit’s Greektown Casino, Penn National and Barstool Sports also got approval for the launch of their online casino offering in Michigan. The MGCB authorized the launch, set for Monday at 11am.

In Tennessee, the state’s gaming regulator has approved two more online-only sportsbooks. William Hill and Wynn Sports both received approval from the Tennessee Education Lottery (TEL) on Friday.

Poker gets go ahead in Michigan

Michigan’s online gambling markets launched on January 22. After the new round of license approvals, the state is now home to ten casinos offering both online gaming and sports betting.

PokerStars became the first online poker operator to go live in Michigan on Friday. The company took to Twitter to announce its launch:

Newly licensed FOX Bet, Stars Casino, and PokerStars all fall under the Flutter Entertainment umbrella. In a statement publicizing the launch of PokerStars, FOX Bet CEO Kip Levin noted that customers can create one account for all three apps. He said this allows the operator to “supercharge the experience” for Michigan players.

Under current Michigan law, PokerStars can only offer games between players based in the state. Lawmakers signed legislation permitting Michigan to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association late last year. However, MGCB executive director Richard Kalm said Michigan must reach agreements with other states before establishing such a framework.

Two more for Tennessee

Tennessee sports betting launched on November 1 last year after a legislative process of more than 18 months. The state currently has four active online sportsbooks, including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Action 24/7.

new licensees will not launch in time for the Super Bowl on February 7

Wynn Sports and William Hill are yet to launch in Tennessee, despite receiving the state’s latest sports betting licenses on Friday. According to the Associated Press, TEL CEO Rebecca Hargrove confirmed that the new licensees will not launch in time for the Super Bowl on February 7. Churchill Downs, which received a license earlier this year, also indicated it won’t launch its TwinSpires brand in time for the event.

The sports betting market in Tennessee has seen success since its launch, despite only boasting four active operators. Sports betting handle reached $180.9m for the month of December 2020, an increase of 38% from November. Sportsbook revenue was up 5% month-on-month to $13.9m. The state accumulated $3.1m in revenue as a result of the 20% gross revenue tax for sportsbooks.