Shutterstock/Juanju Tugores April 4 is a date that’s been getting a lot of coverage in the gambling media.

Here at Online Poker Report, you may have seen it the context of the upcoming Ontario online gambling launch. If you’re a sports bettor, it’s an important date as it marks the final game of the March Madness NCAA basketball tournament.

There’s at least one more thing happening that day, though. That’s the opening of the Ascend Sportsbook at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Michgan. The casino is owned and operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. “Ascend Sportsbook is the perfect spot,” said Kristina Griffus, Soaring Eagle’s director of iGaming and sports betting operations. “It’s a great place to watch a game and it really has all the elements that make for a great sportsbook. It’s an energetic game-day atmosphere, has plenty of TV’s, and you can’t beat the food and drinks.” When it opens, Ascent will be Michiganders’ 13th option for retail sports betting. Perhaps more interestingly for OPR readers, it also signals the imminent arrival of the other product mentioned in Griffus’s job description: iGaming. Eagle Casino & Sports coming later this spring

The sportsbook announcement mentions that the tribal casino’s mobile product is coming “later this spring.”

It also makes mention of the brand, revealing that Soaring Eagle will drop the first half of its name online. The mobile product will be simply Eagle Casino & Sports.

Soaring Eagle is the state’s largest retail casino, which makes it surprising it has taken this long to launch its online product. That may be due in part to its decision to go without a brand partner. Eight of the twelve tribal casinos in the state elected to partner with national brands like Golden Nugget and DraftKings. Only FireKeepers, Four Winds, Gun Lake and Soaring Eagle are going with self-branded products.

On the other hand, neither of those other self-branded apps took quite as long to launch. Four Winds joined the market just a few weeks after it opened. FireKeepers arrived in July last year, followed by Play Gun Lake in […]

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