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The Stars Group secures market access in Michigan

Just over two weeks ago after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the state’s online gambling bill into law, The Stars Group (TSG) became the first operator to secure access to the state’s online gambling market when it opens.

The company did it via a new agreement with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority (LTBBOIGA). The deal grants the company first skin market access to operate and brand real-money online betting, poker and casino in Michigan, subject to license availability, state law and regulatory approvals.

“We are excited to announce this agreement with the Odawa tribe, which further strengthens our market access as we work to continue to build our FOX Bet business into one of the leaders in the emerging US online betting and gaming market,” said Robin Chhabra, CEO of FOX Bet.

The partnership is likely to be the first of many access deals in Michigan. Each of the state’s three commercial casinos and 12 Native American gaming tribes (which operate 23 casinos) will have an online skin to offer. The state is aiming to have retail betting ready for March Madness, although online will likely be several months after that.

LTBBOIGA operates three properties in Michigan, most notably the Odawa Casino Resort near Petoskey, opened in June 2007 at a cost of $140m with 50,000 sq ft of gaming space available. Under the agreement with TSG, the tribe will receive a share of the company’s online revenues in return for providing market access.

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