- By Tribal Business News Staff
HARRIS, Mich. — The Hannahville Indian Community has partnered with 888 Holdings VHL Michigan LLC as the new platform provider for the tribe's internet sports betting site.
The agreement was approved by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), effective Wednesday, Sept. 10.
The tribe previously partnered with Louisville, Ky.-based Churchill Downs Inc. to operate a BetAmerica-branded retail sportsbook at its Island Resort & Casino in Harris, Mich., located in the south-central Upper Peninsula near Escanaba. However, according to industry reports, the company announced earlier this year that it was pulling back its online gaming operations to focus on locations that offered horse racing, which Island Resort does not.
Michigan authorized sports betting in December 2019, and the state’s first retail sportsbooks opened in March 2020. In 2021, Michigan internet sports betting produced $292.2 million in gross sports betting receipts.
888 Holdings was founded in 1997. The company partnered with Sports Illustrated in 2021 to launch the Sports Illustrated Sports Book, which is currently only available in Colorado, Virginia, and now Michigan.
“The Hannahville tribe is the first operator in Michigan to change platform providers since internet gaming and sports betting began here in January 2021,” Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Henry Williams said in a statement. “The tribe has found another experienced partner, and I wish them continued success.”
At this time, the tribe and 888 Holdings have requested the MGCB to authorize internet sports betting only, and will seek approval for internet gaming later in the year.
The Hannahville Indian Community was among 10 licensees initially authorized by the MGCB to launch both forms of internet gaming in Michigan on Jan. 22, 2001. In mid April, the MGCB authorized the state’s 15th internet gaming and sports betting operator. Licenses by law are limited to commercial casinos and federally recognized tribes in Michigan.
In 2021, Hannahville Indian Community reported a total handle of $20.6 million and about $1.5 million in gross receipts from online sports betting, and $16.7 million in gross receipts from online gaming, according to Michigan Gaming Control Board data.
Through July of this year, the tribe had a total handle of nearly $6.5 million and $156,000 in gross receipts from online sports betting, and nearly $5.3 million in gross receipts from online gaming, per data from the state.