The expansion of gaming in Michigan has paralleled national social trends in gaming acceptance. Pari-mutuel horse racing was legalized in 1933, followed by the legalization of a state lottery in 1972 and the explosion of gaming activity on Indian reservations in the 1980s. By the end of 1996, seven Native American tribes were operating 17 casinos in Michigan.

Gaming has become a thriving industry in Michigan. The Michigan Lottery which includes lottery ticket sales and charitable gaming, brought in $1.65 billion in fiscal year 1996.

Efforts to initiate legalized casino gaming in the City of Detroit have been occurring since 1970s. These efforts failed until the Windsor Casino opened its doors across the Detroit River in Canada in 1994. The steady flow of Michigan residents and U.S. dollars into the Windsor Casino, along with the continued expansion of Native American casinos in Michigan, has had a dramatic impact upon voter attitudes toward casino gaming. This attitudinal shift culminated with the passage of Proposal E in the November 1996 general election. Proposal E enacted the Michigan Gaming Control & Revenue Act (the "Act") by the public referendum. The Act permits the development and licensing of the three privately owned casinos within the Detroit city limits.