888 Holdings Launches First Sports Illustrated Retail Sportsbook in Michigan

Jessica Aletor
Jessica Aletor


  • A first-of-its-kind Sports Illustrated-branded retail sportsbook has opened at Island Resort & Casino in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
  • Launched by 888 Holdings, the sportsbook is part of the wagering partnership between the Hannahville Indian Community and Sports Illustrated.
  • This sportsbook replaces the defunct operations of TwinSpires which exited the sports wagering market in 2022.

In August 2022, TwinSpires announced that it was shutting down its sports betting operation, effectively leaving the Hannahville Indian Community without a licensed partner. However, 888 Holdings quickly struck a deal with the tribal casino operator, ensuring that Sports Illustrated replaced TwinSpires in the state. Months of partnership after, 888 Holdings has announced the launch of a Sports Illustrated sportsbook at Island Resort & Casino.

The resort location is owned by the Hannahville Indian Community and is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. On the other hand, the newly opened sportsbook will be powered by the OpenBet platform. This string of alliances is expected to herald unprecedented growth of both the tribal operator and 888 Holdings-owned Sports Illustrated.

Stakeholders Describe Launch as an “Exciting New Chapter”

With the establishment of a retail sportsbook, customers who had recently made a switch from TwinSpires to the Sports Illustrated Online Sportsbook can have some assurance of the brand’s stability. However, for 888 Holdings and OpenBet, the platform provider, this landmark represents more.

Speaking about the prospects of the launch, Howard Mittman, US President of 888 Holdings remarked as follows:

“Our alliance with OpenBet to power Sports Illustrated Sportsbook, celebrated with this launch, paints a promising future for the retail betting landscape in Michigan. As we stand on the cusp of this exciting new chapter, our collective vision and expertise are set to redefine customer experiences.”

“Delivering this landmark retail platform for such an iconic brand is a significant milestone for OpenBet and underscores our commitment to ensuring our partners are equipped with cutting-edge technology and unrivaled content,” Deb Krupinski, the US Vice President of OpenBet, added in a press release announcing the partnership. “We’re excited about the future and eager to see the successes this launch will bring.”

The tribal casino also expressed elation at how quickly the project was developed. Not only would this launch add variety to retail sportsbooks available in Michigan, but it would also provide some needed revenue for SI’s operation in the state.

OpenBet Promises Sports Illustrated a Secure Sports Betting Environment

The partnership between OpenBet and Sports Illustrated dates back to the past two years. After Sports Illustrated successfully launched its digital sportsbook operations in 2021, it engaged OpenBet as its partner for retail expansion. Customers visiting the Island Resort and Casino for a taste of sports betting action at the Sports Illustrated Sportsbook will have access to OpenBet retail solutions, self-service kiosks and advanced betting counters.

Thanks to OpenBet’s comprehensive trading system, all of the three features are seamlessly integrated into the SI sportsbook. According to Krupinski, “Customers at the Island Resort & Casino in Michigan can now immerse themselves in the ultimate sports betting experience in a safe and secure environment.”

Some of the major sports betting options that are currently available on launch include same-game parlays, teasers, futures, player props and in-game wagering. OpenBet is affiliated to the reputable Endeavor network, which is an additional testament to the brand’s commitment to provide safe and secure sports wagering.

As Sportsbooks Continue to Grow, MGCB Continues to Promote Responsible Gambling Measures

Regardless of what wagering handle figures may suggest, Michigan online sportsbooks and even retail outlets are here to stay. That’s why the Michigan gaming Control Board is not leaving anything to chance, as it relates to responsible gambling. One of its foremost measures against problem gambling, the “Don’t Regret the Bet” ad has recently gained yet another international recognition.

Back in August, the MGCB and King Media won the 2023 Platinum Viddy Awards for the video ad of the “Don’t Regret the Bet” campaign. This time, the campaign won a Platinum dotCOMM award, its second in two months. The ad was top from over 2,500 entries submitted from across the globe, with only 17% of submissions winning honors.

“We knew from the beginning of our partnership with King Media that we would be able to develop an effective, recognizable and impactful responsible gaming messaging campaign,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams revealed in a press release.

“Winning two platinum-level international awards now, back-to-back within two months’ time, proves that ‘Don’t Regret the Bet’ is just the beginning of our climb and a shining example of what a successful integrated marketing campaign looks like.

The dotCOMM Awards is a global contest that recognizes and rewards excellence in web creativity and digital communication. Michiganders can access the responsible gaming campaign at the official website: DontRegretTheBet.org.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments