Parx Sportsbook Now Open At Western Michigan Casino


The Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, Mich., opened its brick-and-mortar sportsbook over the weekend, making it the 10th tribal casino in the state to offer retail sports betting, in addition to Detroit’s three commercial casinos.

The Stage 131 Sportsbook and Lounge, named for Gun Lake’s location between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo on U.S. highway 131, took its ceremonial first bet Saturday from Jeff Martin, secretary of the Gun Lake Tribal Council, who placed a wager on the Detroit Lions. “Mr. Martin’s bet was also a brave one,” the casino joked on its Facebook page, a day before the Lions lost to the New Orleans Saints 35-29.

“After much planning, we are thrilled to announce the official opening of Gun Lake Casino’s sportsbook,” said Jose Flores, vice president and general manager at Gun Lake. “Our dedication to provide an exceptional sports betting experience stems from our continued reputation of top quality entertainment. We have worked diligently to create a comfortable and exciting atmosphere within Stage 131 Sportsbook and Lounge for all guests interested in sports betting.”

Plans for the casino’s sportsbook were several months in the making, stemming back to a March agreement between Pennsylvania-based Parx Casino, which operates retail and online sportsbooks in its home state and in New Jersey, and the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish-Band of Pottawatomi Indians, which operates the Gun Lake Casino. Sports bettors can place wagers at a retail counter in the sportsbook and at self-serve kiosks located throughout the casino.

“Parx Casino is thrilled to partner with Gun Lake Casino to power their retail sports betting business,” said Parx Senior Vice President of Interactive Gaming and Sports Matthew Cullen. “We’re excited to bring our expertise in exciting sports betting offerings, aggressive lines, and intelligent risk management to the vast Michigan customer base.”

Online betting soon to come

Along with Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge, and Odawa Casino, Gun Lake is the fourth tribal casino in the Wolverine State to unveil retail sports betting options in the past two weeks.

The recent surge of sportsbook openings reflects the Michigan Gaming Control Board’s aspirations to launch mobile sports betting and casino gaming by the end of the year — perhaps even in time for Thanksgiving. Once the board and state legislators complete the rulemaking process for online wagering and complete the licensing process for operators and suppliers, casinos like Gun Lake in Wayland and Little River in Manistee and MotorCity in Detroit and the internet betting platforms they’ve partnered with — Parx, BetRivers, and FanDuel, respectively — will be able to accept mobile wagers from anywhere in the state.

“Before online gaming can start, the agency must license applicants.” said Richard S. Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, after a September public hearing on the draft rules for mobile gambling. “The MGCB has limited ability to license before the rules go into effect. The licensing timetable also depends on the applicants and their delivery of complete and timely applications to us. Michigan must have at least one tribal and one commercial license approved before launch, which I hope can happen by late fall.”

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Rafe Bartholomew

Rafe has worked as an editor and writer at Harper's Magazine, Grantland, Eater, and The Athletic. He is a co-author of the New York Times Bestselling book Basketball: A Love Story and the author of two other books, Pacific Rims and Two and Two.

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