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Gambling Laws in Michigan: What’s Legal, What Isn’t, and Why

Gambling Laws in Michigan

Posted 5 years ago by Jim Titus

“I bet you $5 that I can make this shot.” Uh oh … Did you just commit a crime by making that playful, fun, common statement? Gambling laws in Michigan have changed so much in recent decades that they are somewhat confusing.

What was frowned upon years ago has become accepted as a result of the casinos that were built in downtown Detroit, as well as technological advancements. But some other issues haven’t changed at all. Here’s how it breaks down.

Gambling Laws in Michigan

What’s Legal

Here’s an easy way to think of it: If it benefits the state, it’s probably legal. So those casinos? Legal. That horse racing track? Legal. Gambling taxes can be used to benefit the state as a whole, such as by being used for education.

According to, the following are generally legal in Michigan:

Gambling Laws in Michigan

  • Casinos located on Native American land
  • Redemption games
  • Recreational card games at senior centers
  • Bingo
  • State-sponsored lotteries
  • League bowling less than $1,000
  • Some promotional activities
  • Millionaire parties

So playing Skee-Ball at that entertainment center? Legal.

Online gambling, for the most part, is allowed, but it should be done with caution. Some of the sources of online gambling can be sketchy, leading to the players not receiving winnings at all or becoming victims of fraud.

What Isn’t

Pool selling and gambling in stocks and bonds are considered illegal forms of gambling in Michigan. That includes betting on that sports game that everyone has been talking about.

A person accused of a gambling-related crime is commonly charged with a misdemeanor, but may be charged with a greater crime depending on the circumstances.

Think Carefully

While this is a general idea about gambling laws in Michigan, it is not a comprehensive list and is not intended for legal guidance. Laws change frequently, and unforeseen factors may prevail. If you have been accused of a gambling-related crime or simply want to prevent problems from occurring, consult with an attorney or your local bail bond agent regarding your specific case.

(Remember: Gambling can become an addiction, leading to loss of money and problems in relationships. If you believe you have a problem with gambling, consult with a mental health professional or call the Michigan Problem Gambling Hotline at 1-800-270-7117.)

Gambling Laws in Michigan

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