Michigan Pushing to Expedite Opening Day for Online Sports Betting

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Apr 09, 2020 12:04Joe Tarzaiski

The initiation of legalizing land-based sports betting in Michigan couldn’t have happened at a more inconvenient time. The COVID-19 pandemic was a major blow to the expected revenue for the state. The market for Michigan launched on March 11, but was almost immediately placed on hold March 16 due to the suspension of land-based casino action in the state.

Detroit’s three casinos – Greektown, MGM Grand Detroit and Motor City – launched their sports betting and immediately hit a blockade as all major sports organizations suspended their seasons and team operations indefinitely.

The previous 2021 forecast to introduce online Michigan sports betting and iGaming has a strong chance to initiate sooner than originally anticipated. Residents of The Great Lakes State are lobbying for mobile sports gaming due to the recent closing of land-based casinos and quarantine restrictions.

Introduction to Speeding the Process for Online Sports Betting

Representative Brandt Iden introduced the bill to legalize online gambling stated:

“We’re working with regulators in hopes to have that mobile piece up and ready, and hopefully, very soon, given that people are at home and there’s a pent up demand, as was articulated, and people are going to be playing. And the state needs to capture some of that revenue.”

Timeline Held up by the Michigan Gaming Casino Board

The Michigan Gaming Casino Board (MGCB) is currently working to promulgate rules for online sports betting and internet casino gaming, as well as fantasy sports in early 2021. There has since been a push to expedite the process due to the recent closings of the land-based casinos.

Members of the public and stakeholders will have an opportunity to both review and suggest modifications and/or additions to the rules as the process moves forward.

Mary Kay Bean, communications specialist for the MGCB, stated: "we are at a very large stage of this process. The agency must establish several sets of administrative rules, which pass through many levels of rules. The timing of implementation depends not only on our agency but also on decisions other departments, agencies and the Legislature make along the way.

"Our goal is to authorize online sports betting at the Detroit casinos this spring. Timing will depend on how quickly we receive applications, can approve the casinos' internal controls and are able to issue required licenses."

Online sports action has yet to go live in the State of Michigan, but all signs point to its introduction completed and initiating before 2021.

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Joe Tarzaiski
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Joe Tarzaiski began his sports writing career in 2004 in the Philadelphia market, analyzing and handicapping professional sports, college sports, poker and various table games. He currently reports on the increased efforts on the legalization and continual growth of sports betting throughout the United States. A Philadelphia University alum, Joe is dedicated to following current trends in both the gaming community and daily news throughout the sports world.
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