Soaring Eagle CEO Hopes Sportsbook Will Get People To ‘Visit Us More Often’

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The Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort earlier this week announced it will join the sports betting fray when it rebrands its sports bar as the Ascend Sports Book & Lounge with plans to launch sports betting in January 2021.

Michigan regulators have been pointing late this year or early next to approve sports betting operators to go live.

On Friday, Mike Bean, CEO of Saginaw Chippewa Gaming Enterprises, expanded on why his tribe made the decision to add sports betting.

“We offer a number of amenities — slots, table games, bingo, spa, pool, lounge, entertainment,” Bean told EightWest Friday morning. “People travel in couples or a couple of couples, so the more we can offer guests, the more often they are going to come to visit. Adding sports betting is just another amenity we can add so that our guests choose to visit us and choose to visit us more often. ”

New sportsbook also an entertainment venue

The space is currently a Las Vegas-style entertainment venue, according to the report, and will host live entertainment in addition to sports, when the COVID-19 crisis and shutdowns have passed.

“It’s an already existing venue, and it’s relatively new, and it’s a great place to visit,” Bean said. “Adding sports betting to that is going to further enhance it. We have a nice VIP area, we have a bar setup and table and chairs setup.”

The Soaring Eagle Resort and Casino is located in central Michigan, north of Lansing and east of Grand Rapids. The Saginaw Chippewa is the largest Indian gaming tribe by revenue in Michigan. It also owns the Saganing Eagles Landing Casino & Hotel in Standish and The Slot Palace and Bingo Hall in Mount Pleasant

Soaring Eagle is one of 23 tribal casinos in the state. Michigan’s tribes are the only ones in the U.S. so far to have agreed to be regulated by the state, and they’ll be subject to taxes, just like their three commercial peers in Detroit.

Under the new law, the tribes can also offer statewide mobile sports betting, though Bean did not mention who the Saginaw Chippewa’s technology partner would be, or if digital sports betting is in the plan. Several Michigan tribes have already announced partnerships, including the Bay Mills Community on the Upper Peninsula, which has partnered with DraftKings. Three other major players — BetMGM, FanDuel and Penn National/Barstool — are already offering retail sports betting in Detroit with plans to launch digital platforms.

Other big operators already partnered with tribes in Michigan are FoxBet, Parx, PointsBet, and William Hill.

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Jill R. Dorson

Jill has covered everything from steeplechase to the NFL and then some during a more than 30-year career in sports journalism. The highlight of her career was covering Oakland Raiders during the Charles Woodson/Jon Gruden era, including the infamous “Snow Bowl” and the Raiders’ 2003 trip to Super Bowl XXXVII. Her specialty these days is covering sports betting legislation across the country.

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