A tribe in Michigan is lowering the gambling age at all of its casinos to 18 years old.
The Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced the decision saying it’s allowed to do so per its Class III gaming compact with the state. Class III gambling includes slot machines and table games like roulette and blackjack.
Compact laws from Michigan Tribe
Since the tribe is a sovereign entity, it is free to determine its laws, such as the minimum gambling age. During the COVID-19 pandemic, tribal casinos were not subject to regulations installed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The governor closed the state’s three commercial casinos in Detroit from mid-March until mid-December 2020. Although tribal casinos did close their doors, they did so independently.
Michigan brings change to expanded demographics
Before lowering the age, the Sault Tribes’ five Kewadin Casinos were only accessible to those 19 and older.
Allen Kerridge, CEO of Kewadin Casinos, said lowering the age allows for better competition with other tribes in Michigan.
“The decision to lower the gaming age to 18 is a decision that gives all legal adults access to our gaming properties.”
All five of these tribal Michigan casinos are located in the state’s Upper Peninsula.
The move allows the tribe to capture a larger demographic of customers, potentially giving them an advantage over casinos in Detroit, where the gambling age is 21.
It remains unclear if lowering the age will allow gamblers to participate in Michigan sports betting. Most operators across the US have set a minimum age at 21. However, there is a possibility young gamblers could place bets at retail sportsbooks.
Potential concern for Michigan in regards to gambling
Although tribes in Michigan have the ability to lower the gambling age, one thing they cannot do is lower the minimum drinking age.
Federal law strictly states that federally recognized tribes, such as the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians, adhere to state alcohol laws on their land. In a press release, Kewadin Casinos said its servers and bartenders are adequately trained through the Michigan Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS).