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Michigan's Soaring Eagle Casino to debut retail sportsbook on March Madness final day

Rendering of Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort's Ascend Sportsbook.
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Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort near Mount Pleasant, Michigan, has announced April 4 as the opening date for its Ascend Sportsbook. The casino’s new amenity is set to become the state’s 13th retail sportsbook, and will be making its debut on the same day of the NCAA Tournament "March Madness" championship game.

“Ascend Sportsbook is the perfect spot,” said Kristina Griffus, director of iGaming and sports betting operations. “It’s a great place to watch a game and it really has all the elements that make for a great sportsbook. It’s an energetic game-day atmosphere, has plenty of TV’s, and you can’t beat the food and drinks.”

The sportsbook’s grand opening starts at 4 pm, with remarks from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and Soaring Eagle executives. The ceremony will feature guest appearances from Michigan State University 2000 College Champions Morris Peterson and Mateen Cleaves. Additionally, the event will also feature live music and drink specials.

A previously shared rendering for the sportsbook

We have taken considerable time to ensure we have an offering that is customer-centered with a focus on true relationship building wagering. Everyone here is very excited and ready to not only meet but exceed all your gaming experiences,” said Melinda Coffin, CEO of Soaring Eagle.

For the new amenity, Saginaw Chippewa Gaming Enterprises -the business arm of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe- partnered with Kambi Group and GAN, a deal first announced last November, which also will feature online operations at a later stage.

Kambi is the multi-channel sportsbook partner for the project, while GAN will provide a platform for the integration of online games and the sportsbook. “Together they will provide a great experience for players”, Soaring Eagle said in a statement last year.

The sportsbook will be located within the casino’s Ascend sports bar and features seating for 75+ guests. In addition to food and drinks options, the amenity features multiple large video screens for guests to enjoy top games around the country and outside the US.

Additionally, Ascend Sportsbook features a non-smoking atmosphere “to provide a more welcoming environment” to guests. Sports betting is strictly prohibited to any person under the age of 18, and the casino will be making resources available for new participants.

"People who are not familiar with sports betting and may be new to sports betting will have resources available for them to learn more about it," Griffus said, according to Central Michigan Life. "We'll have sports Betting 101 materials available beginning next week."

There is still no exact date for the launch of the casino’s online gaming and sports betting platform, called “Eagle Casino & Sports,” which will allow users to access a sportsbook and play both online slots and table games. The product is set to arrive later this spring.

Online casino gaming and sports betting have been legal in Michigan since January 2021 after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation allowing it in 2019, in legislation that incorporates both commercial and tribal casinos into its framework.