Michigan: 888’s SI sportsbook approved to launch in partnership with Hannahville tribe

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has approved 888 Holdings’ Sports Illustrated in the state, effective February 7. The group’s VHL Michigan LLC subsidiary has been greenlighted as the new platform provider for the Hannahville Indian Community’s online casino gaming, providing the platform under the SI brand.

The tribe, which operates Island Resort & Casino in Harris, Michigan, signed a deal with 888 Holdings after Twin Spires, the original platform provider for its online gaming and sports betting endeavors, announced plans to close its interactive business. The Hannahville Indian Community was among 10 licensees initially authorized by the MGCB to launch both forms of online gaming in Michigan on January 22, 2021.

Henry Williams, MGCB Executive Director, said: “I wish the Hannahville tribe continued success as they once again may offer their customers both Internet gaming and Internet sports betting in Michigan.”

In mid-April 2022, the MGCB authorized the state’s 15th internet gaming and sports betting operator. Licenses by law are limited to the three commercial casinos and 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan.

The expansion comes at a sensitive moment for 888. Last month, 888 Holdings announced the departure of CEO Itai Pazner after just over four years in the position. The company, which bought rival William Hill’s European business last year, is currently looking for a replacement. Non-executive chair Lord Mendelsohn will step in as executive chair and Andria Vidler has been named chair of the ESG committee. 

As reported earlier this year, Michigan online casino gaming and sports betting operators have posted nearly $2 billion in combined revenue for 2022, according to the latest report from the state’s Gaming Control Board. Gross receipts rose by a whopping 41% compared to the $1.4 billion reported in 2021, while handle for the year amounted to $4.6 billion, up from $3.7 billion in 2021. 

Commercial and tribal iGaming and online sports wagering operators reported a combined $1.98 billion total gross receipts in 2022. Internet casino gaming generated most of that figure at $1.58 billion in gross receipts, while internet sports betting produced $399.58 million in gross receipts.