FireKeepers Opens First Tribally Owned Sportsbook in Michigan

FireKeepers Casino Hotel and Tribal officials cut a ribbon to mark the grand opening of Dacey’s Sportsbook.

Patrons started casting wagers at Dacey’s Sportsbook & Taphouse at FireKeepers Casino Hotel on June 22nd. The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi-owned casino became the first of 24 Tribally owned gaming establishments in Michigan to open a sportsbook.

What can people wager on? Currently, golf, soccer, NASCAR, UFC and MMA events. But the casino will be ready when the MLB, NBA and NHL return in mid-to-late July. 

As FireKeepers CEO Kathy George told WWMT, “Sports will come along. Each week, I think they’ll be announcing something different, so we just look forward to everyone coming out and having some entertainment.”

READ MORE: What COVID-19 May Mean for Tribal Sports Betting in 2020 

Multiple big screens showcase top game action at the 125-seat restaurant. Wagers can be placed at three live wagering windows and four self-service kiosks in and around Dacey’s Sportsbook & Taphouse. The Battle Creek-based casino reopened June 1st after a 10-week shutdown to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

Since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer authorized sports betting and online gaming in Michigan in December 2019, various Detroit commercial casinos have opened their own books. But FireKeepers is the first Tribally owned casino to start accepting wagers. 

Whereas FireKeepers partnered with SG Digital to provide its on-property sports betting and, eventually, i-gaming, various other Tribes in the state have likewise teamed up with operators to launch and service their future retail and online sportsbooks. Bay Mills Resort and Casino has partnered with DraftKings to bring retail, online and mobile wagering to Michigan. The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians partnered with Rush Street Interactive (RSI) for its casino sportsbook, forecasted to open at its Northern Michigan casino resort in third quarter 2020, and forthcoming co-branded online sports betting and casino statewide — the latter once Michigan regulations allow. 

Additionally, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority teamed up with The Stars Group (TSG); the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians entered into a long-term partnership with London-based bookmaker William Hill; and Michigan’s Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians inked a 20-year agreement with PointsBet. 

READ MORE: Sports Betting Industry Poised to Emerge From COVID-19 Crisis Strong as Ever 

Topping Off Ceremony 

Also on June 22nd, a traditional Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi ceremony commemorated the topping-off point of construction of FireKeepers’ second hotel tower, scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2021.

The JCJ Architecture-designed, eight-story, 203-room second hotel tower, including 14 suites, will meet FireKeepers’ standards of excellence. The current hotel has been recognized as a AAA Four Diamond award winner for the past five consecutive years. The new hotel will also house a Nibi signature restaurant. 

FireKeepers’ ongoing construction project will additionally revamp a section of FireKeepers existing gaming space, adding new High Limit Gaming sections for slots and table games, plus a new bar and VIP lounge.

“Today marked another significant step forward in FireKeepers history,” George said of Monday’s sportsbook ribbon cutting and topping off ceremony. “Two memorable events in the same day reflects the great leadership of the Tribe and their focus and support, maintaining FireKeepers position as a top regional U.S. gaming destination.” 

READ MORE: A Genuinely Effective Leader: Kathy George, CEO, FireKeepers Casino Hotel