2021 in Michigan's Regulated Online Market

This story was published more than 1 year ago.

2021 has sucked big donkey balls for many of us. We're in the midst of a pandemic. Inflation is up by staggering amounts. People seem to be torn apart by ideologies. Still, there have been a few good things that have happened (at least for me). My home state of Michigan regulated online casino gambling and sportsbetting, launching both in late January of this year. As I write this at the end of December 2021, I have a pretty good grasp on what regulated online gambling has gotten me, and thought I'd share my thoughts.

A Big Launch

Online gambling in Michigan officially launched on January 22nd, 2021. For a month or so before the launch there was a really heavy marketing push looking to get players to register accounts in advance. This was done with enticements like free money, deposit match bonuses, and basically unlosable bets. Tom Brady to throw for 1 yard or more in the Super Bowl at +100? Yes, please.

When the market launched, I was ready. I had registered with big-name brands like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and others. I immediately went to the sites and began taking their bonuses. DraftKings was offering $100 in free blackjack bets with a 1x wagering requirement. FanDuel was offering the same, and BetMGM had some smaller amounts.

The real beauty here was BetRivers. The casino was offering up a 100% match bonus up to $250 with a 1x wagering requirement. This casino operator doesn't offer much in the way of big bonuses, but they do have a 1x on each one of their games. Even better? Multiple people per household could claim this bonus. This meant that my wife and I each profited to the tune of $270 and $330 respectively.

By the time the bonus hoard was over, January netted me over $2,000 in profit by taking the regulated market for their bonuses.

Things Slow Down and Casinos Do What They Do

Unfortunately, the good times couldn't last forever. After getting their mitts on me for player accounts, the bonuses dried up. Because I don't like to play much unless I get a good bonus, my play also slowed, which in turn led to a lack of bonuses being offered. Once every month or so I'd get a free $25 here or there or a match bonus offer, but often things weren't enticing enough for me to want to deposit.

After the Super Bowl, the sportsbetting scene dried up a bit, too. There just wasn't much going on in the way of interesting sporting events to bet on for me until the summer.

The casino industry also started getting wise. The bonuses being offered were subject to growing wagering requirements. While there's nothing too egregious, you do see 10x to 30x wagering requirements on a lot of bonuses, and a game like blackjack will only count for 10% of a wagering requirement, making them effectively 100x or higher for betting totals.

Even worse was the fact that the casinos were blanketing TV, radio, and the internet with ads. You couldn't go more than two commercials in a TV break without a betting ad. While things are slightly better now, they're still obnoxious and everyone in the state I've talked to hates them.

That's not to say it was all bad. I did get some slot-free bets and swung for the fences. This led to me taking home some big wins worth $500, $1,300, and $900 during that time.

Double Leopard

Sports Come Roaring Back

In September we started to see some nice bonuses coming back with the launch of the NFL, NCAA Football, and NHL seasons kicking off. Once again we were treated to stupid easy bets, and there were some good promotion bonuses. I myself put a ton of money on NFL games, and only had one bad beat on an unlosable bet due to an injury. To the sportsbook's credit though, they refunded everyone due to the injury.

Unfortunately, me only betting with the bonuses was getting me some attention at books and casinos. DraftKings made me admit to bonus abuse or else I'd be facing a ban. My sin? Not wagering my money and only using the site's money. I was specifically told, "We'd like to see you risk some of your money." Apparently, they didn't get the memo that I'm there to take their money, not risk my own.

Fox Bet did outright ban me (no big loss there), and one other major spot has blocked me off as well (which won't be named as I'm trying to weasel my way back in for another score).

Christmas Season Strikes Large

As we rounded into the holiday season, I started seeing good bonuses. My buddy Travis told me about a good promo at Gun Lake where you'd get a 50% free bet on a deposit up to $200, which you could use three times. I deposited $200, got my $100 free bet, placed the bet, and pulled my $200 out. I did this two other times, hedging my bet and then placing a bet on the moneyline for the Titans in an NFL game. I profited to the tune of $234 and still haven't managed to get banned from that site yet.

We also got live dealer games, which saw some decent match bonuses being offered in the fall. I took advantage of some of these small $5 and $10 bonuses, turning them into small withdrawals.

In Closing

The last year for online gaming has been sweet for me. The bonuses they offered at the outset was enough for me to become a true bonus whore, and I walked the virtual streets in my fishnets taking whatever I could. This led to some large wins, a lot of small wins, a couple losses, and a whole lot of fun. For me, the fun part of this wasn't the gambling. Sure, I like blackjack and such, but the real thrill is being able to turn the tables on the casinos and take advantage of the money they're giving away to lure people in. They're hoping that most people will get the itch and play games like slots where the casinos can butter their bread. This isn't the case for them in regards to me.

The future will certainly not be as bright for me. I know these bonuses are going to continue to dry up, and I need to be Johnny-on-the-spot to claim whichever ones I can. More bans will likely come down the pike, and as the market matures, the unlosable bets will go away.

But for the time being, I'm having an absolute blast going forth and taking the house for what I can. My wins for the year are in the thousands from the state's regulated casinos.

Regulated online gambling does not suck donkey balls.

About the author

Dustin Jermalowicz // News Editor
Dustin Jermalowicz
Dustin has a long-standing passion for gambling. He has been writing professionally on the subject and breaking industry news for Casino Listings since 2011. His favorite casino games include Blackjack, Poker, and Hi/Lo. A proud native of Detroit, Dustin currently lives in Michigan.