Pokagon Starts Online Gaming in Michigan, Makes Progress on Tribal Compact in Indiana

Posted on: February 15, 2021, 10:00h.

Last updated on: February 16, 2021, 12:50h.

Michigan added yet another online gaming option Monday as the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians announced the rollout of its platform.


Matt Wesaw, chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and CEO of the tribe’s gaming authority, speaks to the media on Aug. 20, 2019, before presenting a check for $127,500 to Beacon Children’s Hospital in South Bend, Ind. On Monday, the tribe announced it received approval from Michigan to launch iGaming and mobile sports betting in that state. (Image: PRNewswire)

The Pokagon operates three Four Winds casinos in the southwestern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Pala Interactive LLC will serve as the tribe’s online platform provider.

“Providing online access from a mobile phone, tablet or personal computer adds an entirely new dimension to the gaming and sports betting experience,” said Frank Freedman, COO of Four Winds Casinos in a statement.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board said in a release the Pokagon becomes the 11th licensee to offer both online sports betting and casino gaming. There are a dozen licenses. However, the Lac Vieux Desert Tribe can only offering mobile sports betting at this point.

Revenue from gaming operations will help fund education, economic development, and Pokagon needs, MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm said in the statement.

Tribal Leaders Had Considered Expansion

In its statement, Pokagon Tribal Council Chairman and Pokagon Gaming Authority Matthew Wesaw said the tribe’s leadership had planned for the ability to offer online gaming for some time.

COVID-19 has accelerated interest in providing online access and added convenience to customers across a variety of industries and gaming is no different,” he said.

The MGCB license enables the Pokagon to offer its online gaming platform to anyone 21 or older physically in Michigan.

Online gaming launched only within the last month in Michigan. Yet, with 12 online sports betting applications and 11 iGaming options, the state has already become one of the more lucrative markets in the US.

In its first weekend of operation, Jan. 23-25, tracking data from GeoComply indicated that Michigan had more sports betting traffic than any other state offering legal betting. That included New Jersey, which is the largest sports betting market in the US by handle.

Indiana Senate OKs Pokagon Compact

The Pokagon is also one step closer to offering Class III gaming in Indiana as well.

Last week, the Indiana state Senate voted 36-11 to pass Senate Bill 356. The bill codifies the gaming compact the tribe secured with Indiana officials last month. It is now in the House for its consideration.

The Pokagon operate a Class II Four Winds Casino in South Bend near the Michigan state line. The compact, the first in Indiana, enables the casino to offer banked table games, such as blackjack and roulette.

It also clears the way for the casino to offer sports betting. That’s a product the Pokagon sought once sports betting became legal in Indiana in September 2019.

One thing the bill does not allow is for the casino to offer mobile sports betting across the state. The bill states patrons can wager online only if they are at the casino when they make the wager.

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