Michigan Perhaps Only a Few Weeks Away from Online Gaming Launch

Michigan Online Gaming

  • Michigan hopes for final legislative approval to clear path for potential December launch
  • Three Detroit casinos hurt by two COVID-19 closings could use a welcome Christmas gift
  • All systems go for operators DraftKings Sportsbook & FanDuel, recently signing Pistons partnership 

For sports bettors in the Wolverine State, there could not be any more perfect Christmas gift. It would cost nothing but receiving online gaming might be a very potential reality for many if Michigan legislators clear the path in time.

On Tuesday, the Michigan state legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) waived its right to subject the final draft of the state’s online gambling regulations to further review. The decision could allow for the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MCGB) to officially file the final regulations with the department of state, after which the MGCB can begin approving online casino/betting licenses.

Michigan approved its plans for gambling expansion last December. The MGCB  then began accepting online license applications in July. At the time, the MGCB forecasted a potential date either late in 2020 or early in 2021 to launch state-approved online gambling. Due to the opportunity and easy application to get started, hope remains to begin this month.

The expected move will come nearly a year after the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer legalized internet gambling and wagering on sports.

Republican Sen. Pete Lucido, of Macomb County’s Shelby Township,said:

Everybody wants to get this thing going. This is something that’s long overdue at this point. It is being done in other states. We’re losing opportunity costs.

He also noted that Detroit’s casinos closed due to state coronavirus restrictions would benefit from being able to offer mobile options.

“If we hear the waiver request was approved by JCAR, we are hopeful that online gaming and sports betting can start this year,” added Mary Kay Bean, spokeswoman for the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Why the December Push

Detroit has three commercial casinos that have deeply struggled this year. Burdened by a second lockdown caused by COVID-19 last month, a December with sports wagering would be a welcome assist.  Adding to their woes, not all competitive casinos run by Native American operators opted to shut down during the same pandemic period. However, they are equally eligible to add online wagering.

DraftKings and FanDuel Ready to Go

Sportsbook operators including DraftKings Sporstbook, FanDuel, and PointsBet are also eager to begin operation in Michigan ASAP.

On Monday both DraftKings Sporstbook and FanDuel were named as official sports betting partners of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. The Pistons are the first professional sports team to have two simultaneous deals with these sports wagering and fantasy sports betting giants.

As part of their partnership with FanDuel, the Pistons will also partner with MotorCity Casino Hotel in downtown Detroit and will include online offers on the new FanDuel sportsbook app. DraftKings Sportsbook is also planning several promotions involving their mobile app for Pistons fans and new Michigan customers.

Other top sportsbooks also anxiously await word on the Michigan online launch date who have aligned with professional teams. Earlier this year BetMGM partnered with the NFL’s Detroit Lions and the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers most recently joined up with PointsBet in July.

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Larry Gibbs

Expert on Sports Betting Industry

Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.

Email: [email protected]