urtle Creek Casino will be launching a sportsbook powered by William Hill in Traverse City and it also plans to operate a satellite location at Leelanau Sands Casino in Peshawbestown.
The casino repeatedly stated it would be open in time for the NFL season, billboard advertisements off M-72, social media posts dating back to Aug. 17, and the initial announcement by William Hill in February all indicated the sportsbook would be open in time for fall football. However, as of Tuesday night the sportsbook was not open.
An announcement for the grand opening is imminent, but it doesn’t look like the sportsbook will open on time, the Record-Eagle reports.
"We are finalizing all internal approvals at this time and we hope to open sports betting soon at Turtle Creek and Leelanau Sands casinos," Michael Schrader, CEO of Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos said in a statement to the Record-Eagle. “We appreciate everyone’s patience during this process.”
When the sportsbook opens, Michigan will become the 11th state in which William Hill operates retail sports betting. The company, based out of London, located its U.S. offices in Las Vegas since 2012.
Turtle Creek is Michigan’s 23rd casino to be able to successfully purchase a retail sports betting license, and will be the sixth to officially open after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of gambling expansion bills into state law in December 2019.
William Hill operates 124 race and sportsbooks across the state of Nevada, with a large footprint on the Las Vegas strip. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 bets in America are made through William Hill.
It’s also not the first major bookkeeper to launch at a northern Michigan casino. Manistee’s Little River Casino in July opened its sportsbook with BetRivers, Bay Mills casino near Sault Ste. Marie partnered with DraftKings and is expected to open this fall, and Odawa Casino in Petoskey is expected to open its sportsbook with FOX Bet later in 2020.
Barstool/Penn National Gaming, BetMGM and FanDuel operate in Detroit’s three commercial casinos.
Many sportsbook companies tried in 2020 to get into Michigan’s market in anticipation of the Michigan Gaming Control Board approving regulations for online sports betting later this year or into 2021. The regulations would also permit online casino games and daily fantasy sports for anyone who is a Michigan resident.
The reason why, for example, is residents of Detroit could place wagers with William Hill through Turtle Creek casino.
The William Hill branding latches onto the existing Onyx Sports Bar and Grill the casino already had in place.
The bar, which appears to be complete in its construction with plexiglass overhanging its cage, features 20 HDTVs, two betting windows and free pool tables. It’s set up like many of William Hill’s Las Vegas sportsbooks, where the bettor checks off the rotation number it wants to bet on a sheet of paper and presents it to the writer inside the cage.
Social media images showed self-use kiosks that in other casinos allow the sportsbook to be open 24 hours a day, but they were not visible as of Tuesday.
Smoking is not permitted inside the sportsbook, but is permitted outside on the patio.
According to its website, when open, the sportsbook will be staffed Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m. to midnight.
The kiosks will operate during the casino’s reduced hours at both casinos, 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. at Turtle Creek casino and 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. at Leelanau Sands.
Bettors must be at least 18 years old to place bets. Wagers of $1,000 or more will require a William Hill Rewards card, according to the website’s FAQ. Placing a bet of $999.99 and under does not.
Face masks are required at Onyx Sports Book by William Hill to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, with capacity limited to 60 people.