Ways to promote your online casino in michigan (2023)

With Michigan entering the iGaming arena, more players mean tough competition for operators. If you want your online gaming brand to stand out from the crowd in this growing market, then a solid marketing strategy will be critical.

So, how do you successfully promote an online casino in Michigan? Let’s find out! 

This mid-western state became the 19th state to legalize online casino and sports betting games in 2019. The laws permit residents and visitors to enjoy their favorite real money games online within the state’s borders. The first wave of casinos launched in January 2021, just as the world was coming out of lockdown. So, the full potential of this market has still to be seen. But with 10 million+ people in the state alone, not to mention tourists, it’s set to be a highly profitable location for online gaming.

To start, let’s look at what’s permitted and what’s prohibited under Michigan online casino laws. 


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  • Real money casino games, including slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, poker, and live dealer games.
  • Bonuses & promotions offered by casinos.
  • Advertising through many mediums, such as search engines, social media, billboards, TV etc.
  • Sports betting (on the same license).
  • Giving away merchandise as part of a promotion or contest.
  • Paying affiliate websites for generating new business (like we have!)


  • Bonuses that have unrealistic playthrough requirements (known as ROLA – Requirements so ludicrous they are laughable).
  • Bonuses that don’t clearly explain terms and conditions to players before they opt-in.
  • Bonuses that offer huge initial offers but are impossible to withdraw winnings from (even after completing T&C).

Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective methods available to online casino operators. And in Michigan, it’s perfectly legal. Not only can you use affiliates to drive new customers to your site. You can also use them to raise awareness of your brand across the state.

By partnering with relevant websites, you can access targeted audiences who are interested in what you have to offer. Plus, you only pay for new depositing customers. So, it’s a low-risk way to stretch your budget that smart operators simply shouldn’t ignore.

At BSD Marketing, we’ve been driving growth for clients in the US and internationally since 2007. Our team consists of experienced marketers, developers, designers, writers, and iGaming psychologists. We understand player acquisition and retention at every level. So, not only can we generate high-quality leads for your brand. We can also provide you with support to convert more of the traffic you already generate.

Contact us here to learn more about our services, or check out the rest of this guide for more info on promoting casinos in Michigan.

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How to Get an Online Gambling License in Michigan

Before we get into the details of how to market your casino online in Michigan, let’s run through the basics of getting licensed.

If you want to provide online casino or sports betting services to customers located in Michigan, then you’ll need to apply for a license through the Michigan Gaming Control Board. This costs $150k for five years, which covers both online casino and sportsbooks on the same license.

You must also have a land-based partner in the state, as all licenses are tethered to a retail establishment. The application process involves submitting forms, documentation, and fees. Then, the MGCB runs background checks on directors, officers, and anyone with a 10% or greater share of the applicant company.

The board will also review the suitability of any international partners. When applying, you’ll need to detail exactly how you plan to prevent underage gambling and self-excluded individuals from using your sites/apps. As well as how you’ll identify and verify customer ages and locations.

Once your license is granted, you have one year to go live. If you don’t launch within that time, you’ll need to reapply and pay the fee again.

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For more info on licensing, check out the official guidelines on the Michigan Gaming Control Board site.

What Michigand Residents Want From Your Online Casino

To compete effectively in Michigan, you need to know what local players want from their gaming experiences. While there are many factors that influence where they choose to play, some of the main ones include:

  • Incentives –_ Players love to bag a good deal. And with plenty of options available in Michigan, bonuses and promos can tip the balance for newbies choosing where to play. To stand out, you need compelling offers that deliver value to your audience.
  • Trust – Building trust takes time and consistency. But without it, you won’t retain many customers, let alone attract new ones. Ensuring fast payouts, responsive CS, fair gameplay, transparent T&C, and a professional appearance will help.
  • Experience – While the basics are important, players move to your site looking for exciting experiences. Dull layouts, limited games, and poor mobile compatibility will quickly send them back to Google.
  • Convenience – Mobile gaming is king these days. So, your website and app need to work seamlessly across all modern devices. Fast loading times, easy navigation, and quick payment processing are also essential for convenience.
  • Diversity– Offering a broad range of games is vital to attracting and engaging a wide audience. From classic slot themes to innovative table game variants, consider what will appeal to a diverse demographic. Also, think about adding live dealer games, which combine the convenience of online gaming with the interactive thrills of land-based gambling.
  • Customer service – Even with the most reliable platform, issues can arise. Having knowledgeable, responsive CS on hand to resolve things swiftly will impress your users and build positive sentiment towards your brand.

Understanding the Michigan Gambling Market & Audience

Understanding your target audience is key to creating a successful marketing campaign. Here’s an overview of the Michigan gambling market to help.

Date law was passed: December 2018

Size & population: 96,716 sq. Kms. / 10 million+ residents

Languages & culture: English, Polish, Arabic, Albanian, Greek, Vietnamese, Hmong, Serbian-Croatian, Spanish

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Demographics: Michigan has a diverse population. The largest ethnic groups are African American (15%), White (78%) and Christian (80%). The median age is 38.3 years old.

Time zone: EST / CST

Economy: Michigan is the 11th largest state economy, with major industries including automotive, aerospace, and agriculture. It also attracts many tourists each year due to its natural beauty, with activities like skiing, hiking, camping, fishing, and beach resorts.

Regulated gambling products: (Online/mobile) Casino Games & Sports Betting (On land: Commercial & Tribal Casinos)

Cashout Options: Bank Transfers, Checks/Cheque, Cash at Casino, Credit/Debit Card, PayPal, ACH Transfer, Wire Transfer

Deposit Options: ACH Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, PayPal, Cash at Casino, Bank Transfer, PayNearMe, Play+ Card, Skrill, PaySafe

Biggest casino brands:

  • BetMGM (entered the market with partnerships from 13 land-based casinos across Detroit and the Upper Peninsula)
  • Caesars (partnered with three of its own Detroit casinos and Gun Lake Casino in Wayland)
  • DraftKings (has six land-based partners, including four in Detroit and two tribal casinos)
  •  (partnered with the Bay Mills Indian Community for its online launch)
  • Barstool (owns a small minority stake in the Dowagiac Downs race track and has a partnership with a tribal casino)
  • FanDuel (connected to the Granductum Hospitality LLC, which owns the Nottawut Inn and Wikegambing.com)

Top Tips for Marketing Your Michigan Online Casino Brand

Now you’re clued up on the market, your competitors, and what locals want from their gaming experiences, it’s time to look at how to reach and engage them effectively. In this section, we’ll give you an overview of the best ways to advertise your Michigan casino online.

Build a Great Site or App

While marketing skills are crucial to success in Michigan, they count for nothing if you direct people to a bad platform. Before you focus too much on traffic gen, make sure your site or app is up to scratch.

Here are some key elements to include…

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Mobile Optimization

With 56% of US casino and sportsbetting revenue generated via mobile devices in Q1 2023, this is non-negotiable. Make sure your site is fully responsive and your app compatible with iOS and Android.

Good Game Selection

Stock popular slots, table games, and live dealer titles. You should have at least 100 slots and a few live games to start. As well as popular sports betting markets.

Intuitive Navigation

Make it simple for users to find what they want. Clear headings, categories, and search functions will save people time and effort, improving the chances they stick around.

Fast Load Speeds

Nobody wants to wait around. Use tools like GTmetrix to check load speeds and optimize images/videos/code where necessary.

Quality Bonus Offers

We cover promotional strategies later in this guide. For now, just note that your welcome bonus and ongoing promos should be appealing and accessible via the right pages on your site.

Secure Payment Methods

Offer a decent selection of cashier options that people trust. Including deposit limits and responsible gambling tools.


Working with relevant third-party websites to raise awareness of your brand is a highly effective way to generate new depositing customers and widen your reach across Michigan. As affiliating parties only get paid for delivering new business, they work hard to ensure your message gets in front of the right people at the right time.

There are many ways to collaborate with affiliates. The most common models are Pay per Acquisition (PPA), Pay per Lead (PPL), and Revenue Share. Within performance marketing, you’ll typically pay either PPA or PPL. With PPC models also available in some instances.

Revenue share models are more common in other forms of digital marketing, such as SEO and PPC. But it’s not unheard of for affiliate programs to use this method. We’ll explore each model in more depth to help you choose the best approach for your Michigan marketing plans.

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Pay Per Acquisition (PPA)

Also known as Pay Per Customer (PPC) or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), this model is the most common way that online casinos work with affiliates in Michigan. As the name suggests, you pay each partner a one-off fee each time they send a new depositing customer to your site.

This could be for a casino bonus sign-up, a sports bet, or any other action that the operator defines as an acquisition. There are two main types of PPA/PPC/CPA deals; negotiated and flat rate.

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  • Negotiated rates – Here, you agree a set amount with each affiliate. This could be based on the client acquisition cost for your organization. Or it may be negotiated with the publisher based on factors such as the competitiveness of the casino games or sports betting markets, the type of site they own, and the expected conversion rates.
  • Flat rate deals – Some affiliates only work on blat rate deals set by the operator. Given that acquisition costs can vary wildly across different regions, affiliates take on some of the risk with this model. As as such, it’s not overly common in competitive markets like MI.

Pay Per Lead (PPL)

Less commonly used than PPA in online casino marketing, this model involves paying a set price for each new player that completes the registration process. They don’t need to deposit or even be first-time users of the site. So, your risk level is higher here than with PPA. Unless, of course, you have a top tier offer and conversion rate optimization techniques in place to encourage sign-ups to deposit.

One nice thing about PPL is that you can typically define what counts as a ‘lead.’ This might include people who complete registration forms on publication pages. Or it could be something related to another product or service you provide, such as downloading a casino app, signing up for a newsletter, or claiming a non-gaming related offer, like free bingo tickets.

Revenue Share

Some publishers will request a rev share for referring new customers. This model is less common in financial markets like Michigan, although it’s worth keeping in mind that some other forms of digital marketing, such as SEO and PPC, often utilize revenue share.

With this model, you agree a percentage of NDR (Net Deposits Remained) for a set period, usually between 30 and 180 days. The affiliate receives this cut of profits for the duration of the contract. It’s not unusual for operators to use rev share models through exclusive terms, especially if they’re looking to replace their existing casino partner in Michigan.

Hybrid Deals

It’s possible to create hybrid deals by combining two or more of the above models. For instance, you could ask for a reduction in the fixed cost per sign-up due to the volume of deals you’re providing. Alternatively, you might offer a reduced rev share percent for any customers that stay beyond the standard period.

Whatever approach you take, putting together a custom deal can often help you form relationships with publishers that operate on more rigid terms. That said, you need to be comfortable with the numbers involved before taking this route. Otherwise, you could end up paying out far more than if you’d chosen another network member or media buying route.

How to Choose the Best Model for Michigan?

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The best performance model for your brand will depend on various factors. These include your available budget, the size and quality of the publisher network, the strength of the sites in that collection, the length of the agreement, and the current competition levels in Michigan.

For smaller brands with limited budgets, PPA is generally the safest option. You know exactly how much you’ll pay for each new customer. And if if you select your publications carefully, this cost should be recouped promptly when the user deposits and any agreed referral fee is exceeded.

From a publishing perspective, Michigan operators typically earn more money per player with Rev Share and PPL deals. This is because they make profits from a single referral over a prolonged period. Whereas, PPA deals are one and done.

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But there are risks attached to large rev shares, especially if the publication in question has strong conversion and content creation abilities. That being said, if you have the correct systems for player retention in place, along with an attractive casino bonus offering and game selection, this model can deliver excellent returns.

PPC deals sit somewhere in the middle in terms of risk vs reward. But remember, the publisher takes on some of the risk by offering a set price. However, conversion rates change constantly, so this can make it tough to get a great deal. That’s why many operators reserve PPC deals for publications they know perform well for their Michigan brand.

What About Flat % Rev Share Deals?

In simpler terms, you’d pay a rev share to the publisher for all depositing customers, not just those they referred. This model can seem tempting as the cost is spread across multiple new players rather than just the ones delivered by each site. However, the reality can be very different.

Let’s imagine you’re looking to recruit ten new customers and each publisher can refer two. If you were to pay a PPA fee for each new player, the cost would be $20 x 2 = $40 for the first site and $20 x 2 = $40 for the second. Total cost = $80.

Now, let’s assume the same two publishers want a 25% rev share instead. Assuming all ten players continue playing for a year, that’s 10 X ($X monthly deposit X 12 months) X 0.25 = $XX. Even if Monthly Deposits averaged just $100/player/month, that equates to $2,400 -$480 (from the first site) + $480 (from site two) = $1,920.

That’s almost five times as much in this hypothetical example. Now, obviously, the monthly deposits will reduce as players naturally churn over time. However, the rev share costs will continue until the players stop gaming or transition to another operator.

So, while rev share models can be beneficial for publishers, they’re not always favorable for online casinos operating in Michigan. Especially as there are many high-quality pay per acquisition affiliates to work with instead.

How Much Do Michigan Operators Pay for Casino Leads?

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PPA rates in Michigan vary depending on several factors. These include the size and quality of the publisher, your brand reputation, the strength of your offering, and the competitiveness of the space.

Generally, larger brands with bigger budgets can command lower rates due to the higher volumes of customers they can provide. So, publishers offset the reduced revenues per player with increased numbers.

Newer entries to the Michigan market might start by offering larger PPA fees to affiliates in a bid to drive rapid growth. But this tactic isn’t sustainable long-term unless it’s balanced by strong revenues or profit margins.

At BSD, we work with many operators in the US and internationally. So, we can usually negotiate competitive rates for our casino and sportsbook launch clients. And we have many exclusive deals that can significantly reduce your costs for Michigan. Contact us today to see how much you could save.

How Do I Get Good Rates for My MI Casino Brand?

First, do your homework. Research the average rates for your products in Michigan. This will give you an idea of the typical costs. Although, as mentioned above, more significant volumes can alter these figures substantially.

Next, create a strong offering that top performing publications will want to sell. This could involve boosting your casino bonuses, expanding your game selection, refining your landing pages, or enhancing your tracking and communication processes.

Then, speak directly with your top choices. Many affiliates apply inflexible rates sent by networks. So, building a direct relationship and demonstrating the value you can provide makes good commercial sense.

Also, consider working with a good affiliate network or agency. While many operator brands are applied to these deals, some are stricter than others. Agencies like BSD Marketing can apply better rates for multiple clients. So, if you’re looking to keep your number of partnerships lean, this approach could work well.

Finally, remember that rates are negotiable in most cases. Don’t be afraid to counteroffers or walkaway if the numbers aren’t right. After all, with thousands of publications covering countless topics in Michigan, it’s always possible to find alternative partners that deliver similar or better results for a better price.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) Networks & Agencies in Michigan

There are many networks and agencies providing CPA marketing services in Michigan. Some are global brands with offices around the world. While others are smaller, more nimble businesses that can offer a personal touch.

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When choosing where to advertise your brand, consider the following points…

Size & Reach

Larger networks provide access to hundreds or even thousands of publishers. Yet this massive choice can sometimes cause problems. As the network must apply one set of terms across the whole network, creating inflexibility for advertisers.

Smaller agencies tend to have more flexible approaches and stronger relationships with their publishers. Allowing them to offer more bespoke rates and conditions for their clients. Of course, your priorities will differ according to your preferences and circumstances. So, it’s worth exploring options across the spectrum to find the right fit for your business.


Many big networks hire a large number of sales staff to sign up as many advertisers and publishers as possible. While some of these teams have deep industry knowledge, others rely heavily on training manuals and scripts.

At BSD, we’ve been working in the iGaming industry since 2001. So, we have a wealth of experience and expertise to draw upon when developing tailored solutions for clients.

Our team members work directly with advertisers and publishers, rather than operating purely as intermediaries. Enabling us to build close relations based on honesty, transparency, and trust.

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Popular CPA Affiliate Networks in Michigan

Here are some of the leading providers operating in the USA.

Affiliate Network Comparison Table

Use the table below to compare some of the leading CPA affiliate networks in Michigan.

Revenue Share Networks

There are numerous other networks that focus on rev share programs in Michigan. Again, it’s worth noting that rev share models are less common among financial advertisers. But these networks may still feature some casino and sports offers alongside revenue streams from SEO, PPC, and other digital channels. 

Popular Revenue Share Affiliate Networks in Michigan

Here are some of the leading providers operating in the USA.

Revenue Share Network Comparison Table

Use the table below to compare some of the leading revenue share affiliate networks in Michigan.

Agency Comparison Table

Here’s a comparison of the top performing CPA and rev share agencies operating in Michigan.

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How to Choose the Right Partner for Your MI Brand?

When selecting an affiliate network or agency, prioritize knowledge, experience, flexibility, and the quality of their publishers over the raw number of contacts they have. You should also consider geographical coverage. If your brand operates outside of Michigan, it pays to work with organizations that have international contacts.

Talk to several potential partners and request case studies to see the kinds of results they have achieved for previous clients in Michigan. Finally, meet with the teams you like and see if there’s a good cultural fit. Can you see yourself working closely with these people to achieve your goals? If so, that’s a great sign.

Top Michigan Casino Affiliates

Now you have an idea of how performance marketing works in Michigan and the networks and agencies operating in the region, it’s time to look at some individual affiliates that can help you grow your business.

Remember, while national and international publications can be useful for raising awareness of your brand, local sites tend to perform best. So, try to seek out publications focused on Michigan news, events, and communities.

Casino Sites

Here are some top performing paid casino traffic sources operating in the region. Most of these sites have multiple brands in their portfolios. So, the positions listed below are for their overall network, rather than a specific property.

Top Casino Affiliates Ranking

These are the top casino affiliates in Michigan, based on eCommerce data provided directly by each network/agency/channel.

Sports Betting Affiliates

Here are some top performing paid sports betting traffic sources operating in the region. Most of these sites have multiple brands in their portfolios. So, the positions listed below are for their overall network, rather than a specific property.

Top Sports Betting Affiliates Ranking

These are the top sports betting affiliates in Michigan, based on eCommerce data provided directly by each network/agency/channel.

Poker Affiliates

Here are some top performing paid poker traffic sources operating in the region. Most of these sites have multiple brands in their portfolios. So, the positions listed below are for their overall network, rather than a specific property.

Top Poker Affiliates Ranking

These are the top poker affiliates in Michigan, based on eCommerce data provided directly by each network/agency/channel.

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Free Partnership Programs

As touched upon earlier, rev share deals are less common among financial brands like online casinos. However, some Michigan publishers operate rev share models. And there are many non-gaming sites giving away products and services for free that can still provide excellent returns on investment. Here are some of the highest performing ones…

Free Partnerships Ranking

These are the top free partnerships in Michigan, based on eCommerce data provided directly by each network/agency/channel.

How to Find Michigan Affiliates

Now you have some ideas for publications to work with, how do you make contact? Well, if you’ve gone with a network or agency, they will typically manage the relationships on your behalf. That means you simply need to provide creative assets and any other resources needed, before reviewing the publisher lineup and confirming which channels to activate.

If you’re going it alone or working with a third-party affiliate consultant, like BSD Marketing, the process is slightly different. Here are some steps to follow…

  1. Create a list of potential partners – Search for Michigan-focused publications in your niche using search engines, social media, industry contacts, and networking sites like LinkedIn.
  2. Check their suitability – Visit their sites and read their content to ensure it aligns with your brand values and targets suitable audiences in Michigan. Check they accept advertising partners and have clear contact details.
  3. Reach out with introductory emails – Introduce your brand and request further details about their traffic sources, audience stats, demographics, engagement metrics, and promotion opportunities.
  4. Review proposal documents – If the publications seem suited to your needs, they will typically send over contracts or rates cards. Read these thoroughly and query anything that seems unclear or does not align with your expectations.
  5. Start collaborations – Once you’re happy with the deals on the table, begin setting up your campaigns. Most networks allow you to activate or deactivate channels with the press of a button. However, direct partnerships will require you to exchange tracking links and creatives.
  6. Monitor performances – Use your network dashboard or analytics tools to monitor the results of your campaigns. This allows you to spot top performers and underperformers, making it easier to tweak your strategy for optimal yields. Based on the passage above, Summarize the differences between PPA, PPL, and rev share commission structures for online casino affiliates in Michigan.
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