Early third quarter 2020, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians plans to open its new retail sportsbook at its Northern Michigan casino resort. The Tribe has partnered with Rush Street Interactive (RSI) to service its in-casino sportsbook, and forthcoming co-branded online sports betting and online casino statewide — the latter as soon as Michigan regulations allow.
Little River Casino Resort looked to team with a veteran in the sports betting industry. “The successful track record of Rush Street Interactive as a provider of in-casino sportsbooks in Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois, was very significant to us when we chose them as our partner,” said Andrew Gentile, General Manager of Little River Casino Resort. “Rush Street’s ability to provide a road map of how they’ve enabled other land-based casinos to operate market-leading sportsbooks kept us from having to reinvent the wheel.”
Richard Schwartz, President of Rush Street Interactive, praised the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians’ outstanding reputation, and referenced the high value-add that sports wagering will bring to the entertainment destination. “Being only a lakeshore away in Chicago, the Rush Street Interactive team views this partnership as an opportunity to help bring a property-wide lift to Little Rivers Casino Resort—from slots to tables to restaurants—thanks to the tremendous and growing popularity of sports wagering,” Schwartz said.
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is the most recent Michigan-based Tribe to enter into a partnership to introduce retail and online sportsbooks, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer authorized sports betting and online gaming in December 2019. FireKeepers Casino Hotel became the first of 24 Tribally owned gaming establishments in Michigan to open a sportsbook on June 22nd. The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi-owned casino partnered with SG Digital to provide its on-property sports betting and, eventually, i-gaming.
Meanwhile, Bay Mills Resort and Casino has partnered with DraftKings to bring retail, online and mobile wagering to Michigan. 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.
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians’ Little River Casino Resort includes a 292-room hotel, a 95-space RV park, two indoor pools, one outdoor pool, an indoor winter garden, a courtyard with three fire pits, a gift shop boutique, a spa & salon, three restaurants, three bars, a 1600-seat event center, four conference rooms, an off-site gas station/c-store and an off-site golf course. The gaming floor houses roughly 1,350 slot machines, 26 table games featuring various card games, craps and interactive stadium roulette.