Sports Betting in Indian Country: Barry McGrady

Barry McGrady, Director of Gaming & Marketing
Little River Casino Resort

THE LAUNCH: Little River Casino Resort (LRCR) partnered with Rush Street Interactive (RSI), to move forward with sports betting and online gaming. The decision to go with RSI was due to their established performance in the online gaming sector and their brand identity that resonated with our own.  Our sportsbook launched internally as the River Rock Sportsbook & Grill in July of 2020, which allowed LRCR the ability to operate an on-premise sportsbook where gamers had the ability to bet on various sporting events. The sportsbook was the first step in moving forward in our partnership. The second phase was meeting the requirements of the State of Michigan, to be able to offer online gaming. LRCR had already invested in a venue to create a sports themed dining outlet supporting 60 large screen TV’s, two bars and seating for 150 patrons to eat and enjoy the venue. This venue, River Rock Sports Bar & Grille, was built with the understanding that a sportsbook was in our future.  Once the partnership was established, further investment in the outlet allowed us to install a new large video wall, sportsbook lounge chairs, a sportsbook betting window, and 12 sportsbook betting kiosks on property. 

LIttle River Casino Resort Sportsbook

REACTION: Guest response has been positive, and this was a first step in opening up a new revenue source for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and developing our partnership with RSI. This ultimately came at a time when the pandemic had caused downturns in our business and the sports industry, and we have yet to feel the full impact of our ability to offer this type of gaming. The pandemic has created difficulties in our industry, but has also opened up opportunities and accelerated efforts to move forward with new possibilities.   

THE FUTURE: We look forward to increased participation by our guests and feel this will also increase visitation to both our property and our online partner’s site. The advancement and interaction of both venues will only grow our presence in the state and make a positive impact on revenues for the tribe.