Online sports wagering? You bet!

Michigan sees success in first legal month of remote sports betting

For many sports fans in Michigan, Gov. Whitmer’s 2019 bill legalizing sports betting was a well-anticipated reality.

According to, a Michigan-centric informational site on gambling, there have been over $607 million dollars of sports wagers placed since betting was made permissible. This has brought in more than 45 million dollars of lifetime revenue from sports wagers. Many people have wondered why so many have entered the realm of sports betting. For fellow Ferris student Ryan Lefor, it’s the amplified exuberance of the experience.

“It makes sports even more exciting,” Lefor said. “It just adds a different aspect for me to get excited about.”

With a year’s worth of success, Michigan decided to begin the next phase of sports betting. On Jan. 22, online sportsbooks launched, making it officially accessible within the state. This allows sports fans, like Ryan, to place bets on their smartphones instead of having to go to the nearest casino.

“It’s essentially way easier. Every app has the option to play any casino game right on your phone. It could be a bad thing if you don’t have self-control.”

While the action of wagering is now allowed, it does not come without a restriction. Participants must be 21 years or older to place a bet.

“I think it’s pretty smart,” Lefor said on the age restriction being 21 rather than 18. “I feel like kids in high school are still maturing to a level and might not understand what they are fully doing. Those three years could help when they begin to move out and learn the value of money.”

Despite other states requiring prospective bettors to register at a licensed retail location, Michiganders are allowed to register remotely into their desired sportsbook’s app or website. Participants will also be allowed to bet at casinos even if they choose to register online.

Fellow sports bettor Zak Hamilton believes this convenience makes the possibilities to bet much flexible.

“It’s crazy. Once, I was just sitting watching a random game when I looked on my app. I put some money on it since it gave me something to watch.”

One thing that lacks restriction is that bettors do not have to be Michigan residents to place bets within the state. This allows residents from nearby states to legally make bets within Michigan state boundaries, despite their state’s outlaw of sports wagering. To make this possible, sportsbook apps will require users to allow location tracking for confirmation that they are indeed within state lines.

“It’s kind of crazy to me,” Hamilton said. “It shocked me because I thought [the rule] would be where you lived is what you follow.”

Michigan is the latest of 14 states to have full, restriction-free legalization of online sports betting. This allows participants to place wagers on many different aspects of the game.

One type of wager is called the spread. As one of the most common bets, the point spread is a value set by sportsbooks on how much the expected winner is favored to win in a contest. Participants choose which team will “cover” the assessed spread, whether it’s the favorite winning by more than the spread value or the underdog either winning or losing by less than the spread value.

For example, if the Chicago Bulls were a -2 point spread favorite against the Detroit Pistons, bettors will choose if the Bulls will win by more than 3 points or if the Pistons will lose by less than 3 points or win. If the game ends with the Bulls winning by exactly 3, the game will be considered a “push” and the wager is refunded.

“I find rooting for a specific team is more fun to bet and watch than cheering for both teams to score or not score,” Hamilton said regarding spread bets. 

The second type is what is called a money line bet. This type of bet is simple. In a matchup, you are choosing what team will win. If you win, you win the amplified value of your bet based on the money line. For example, if you bet $190 the Indians would win with a -190 money line, you would win an additional $100 if Cleveland gets the win. If you bet $100 the Tigers would pull off the upset with a +165 line, you would earn a total of $265. This type of bet is very common in lower-scoring sports like baseball and hockey. Plus, they are simple enough to help beginners understand the experience.

The third main type of bet is the totals, or over/under bets. With an over/under bet, the main idea is you are trying to decide if the game’s total score will be under or over the designated total number. In the 2020 Week 3 NFL game of the Ravens vs. Chiefs, the over/under mark was placed at 54.5. As a bettor, you could choose if both team’s scores would combine for 55 points and higher or 54 points and lower.

There are many other types of bets like futures, props and parlays that many fans go for the big money with small odds. Every year someone wins big, like Mattress Mack with his legendary Super Bowl 55 debt. With a wager of 3.4 million dollars on the Buccaneers, he walked away with 6.18 million dollars in his pocket. While these bold, large-scale bets are extremely uncommon, the amount of people stepping on the betting scene has increased thoroughly since states like Michigan have legalized it. Trends now are showing that the future of the act will become astronomical.

“It’s basically taking over the world,” Lefor said. “In the next couple months, when more states start legalizing it, it’s going to be a billion-dollar industry.”

Then asked about the future scale of betting, Hamilton believes there is a potential for stadium betting.

“Teams like the Red Wings use game lines as a way to tell how the game is going to go. I think once it becomes legal all over the country we’ll start seeing sportsbooks stadiums and be able to bet on games there.”

For more information on sportsbooks and sports betting, visit