Michigan Closer to Reality for Potential November Online Sports Wagering Debut

Online Sports Wagering Debut

  • All the key pieces in place for a hopeful November debut
  • No doubt Covid-19 and bettors lock-in is driving the rush for Michigan market entry
  • Wynn and GAN announce partnership deal to be Michigan’s first online gaming operator

The clues and signs seem to be in place for Michigan to have online gaming join their retail betting locations that have quickly spread throughout the state in early 2020. The legal signatures are in place with just the fundamental framework, testing, and rules needing completion before launch.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board still needs to set rules for online gaming, including partners and licensing agreements. However, it seems Michigan will likely start to introduce mobile apps and legal online sports betting sometime in November, joining Tennessee as the next possible US states to introduce these popular new options.

Officially, online gambling is legal in Michigan. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Internet Gaming act in December 2019 and now the state is now poised to potentially challenge New Jersey as one of the nation’s online leaders in online casinos and mobile sports betting.

Michigan online gambling has plans to include fantasy sports, online poker casino games, and of course sports wagering.

Why the Rush

Like for every other state, the answer is obvious. The traffic in onsite casinos has dwindled since March due to the ominous breakout of Covid-19. But even before its perilous path, the tremendous demand for online wagering has proved evident. Leading sports wagering state New Jersey has claimed over an 85% share for online sports wagering since all four major four US sports have returned to action in July. Though there likely will be some fall-off at some time, the demand for online wagering is forecasted to remain for a long, extended period.

Michigan casinos will also benefit from their generous tax rates. Gross revenue from sports betting, both online and retail, will be taxed at 8.4% from the state. Detroit’s three commercial casinos pay an additional 1.25% city tax.

Michigan hosts 26 land-based casinos which 23 of them are tribal properties. They can all apply for sports betting and internet gaming licenses through the Michigan Gaming Control Board and offer those verticals to the state’s 10-million population. “All of the pieces are in place for Michigan to become a major hub for sports betting and online gambling,” Geoff Fisk, an analyst for MichiganSharp.com, said in a news release. “Virtually all of the state’s casinos should want a piece of the new market, especially with the attractive tax rates.”

In a comparison with other states, New Jersey taxes land-based sports betting at 9.75% and online sportsbooks at 13%. Indiana‘s online sports betting tax is levied at 9.5%, while Pennsylvania taxes sports betting at an incredible 36%.

MichiganSharp.com projected that Michigan could bring in as much as $400 million in potential first-year sports betting revenue, producing $33.6 million in tax revenue for the state. Fisk said:

 Mobile wagering should be the major revenue driver for Michigan’s sports betting market. The convenience and ease of access to online sports betting open up a whole new world of opportunities for both bettors and sportsbook operators.

More Good News from Wynn and GAN

An additional piece seemed to be put in place this week when Wynn Resorts became the latest company to enter the Michigan online casino gaming and online sports betting business.

In conjunction with the news, GAN, an iGaming software supplier, announced on Monday a 10-year agreement with Wynn to become the enterprise software platform. GAN said it expects to launch Wynn online when the first regulated online gambling operators go live in November, a news release said

Wynn will utilize GAN’s US-optimized software system to be one of the first online operators in Michigan. Part of their plan will include using their national casino brand and database of residents spread throughout the Michigan region to help introduce internet gaming.

Wynn Resorts initially went live in New Jersey with its Wynn Sports mobile app on July 27th. Their platform is powered by Scientific Games, using the equipment provider’s sports betting and iGaming platforms, in addition to sports applications it offers a content system including more than 2,000 digital games.

The sure bet is that when Wynn gets going live online it quickly will have several competitors joining them in Michigan. Probably one calendar day in November 2020.

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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: larry.gibbs@wsn.com