Global sports betting technology and risk-management supplier Kambi Group announced on Wednesday a new partnership that will have Kambi operate retail and online sportsbooks at the three Four Winds Casinos properties in Michigan. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians owns and operates the trio of Michigan casinos, plus another in South Bend, Indiana.
Per the agreement, Kambi will install on-property sports wagering products — kiosks, live ticketing systems, odds boards and such — in Four Winds’ casino locations in New Buffalo, Dowagiac and Hartford, Michigan, “with an online launch to follow.”
Kambi’s on-property offerings were a key factor in their selection from a competitive tender process, according to the joint statement.
“Kambi has established itself as the trusted partner to tribal casino gaming enterprises that wish to leverage the strength of their brand to truly capitalize on the sports betting opportunity, and we are excited to be supporting Four Winds as they look to fulfill their online and on-property ambitions,” said Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén.
Timeline for sportsbook rollouts
Twelve Indian tribes in Michigan operate a total 24 casinos in the Wolverine State. Michigan tribal and commercial casinos shut down in March when the COVID-19 pandemic began to force the closure of businesses across the United States. The three Four Winds casinos in Michigan, all of them located in the southwestern corner of the state near the Indiana border, later reopened on June 15 under new health and sanitation guidelines.
Kambi and the tribe have not yet publicly announced a timetable for the opening of on-site sportsbook lounges at the properties. The first physical sportsbooks in Michigan opened at each of the three commercial casinos in Detroit in mid-March, briefly, while new sportsbook at the tribal Fire Keepers casino debuted on June 22.
Ultimately, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and health conditions will dictate when the sportsbooks cut a ribbon. Kambi’s track record in other states, with other sportsbook operators, is for getting systems ready pretty quickly. Kambi has previously outfitted physical sportsbooks for DraftKings, Rush Street Gaming, and Penn National, among others.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board is in the process of crafting and revising regulations for both online sports betting and iGaming, recently signaling a potential ready date of October 2019 instead of early 2021 that the board initially marked. The Four Winds Casinos online sportsbook that eventually reaches market probably will be branded as Four Winds with the same or similar robust sportsbook menus Kambi provides in other jurisdictions.
Frank Kennedy, Senior Vice President of Gaming Operations for Four Winds Casinos, said: “We look forward to announcing the details of the sports betting options we will offer at our Michigan locations in the near future.”