Michigan Lawmakers Confident in January Online Gambling Launch

Michigan is launching interactive sports betting by mid-January, officials from the Michigan Gaming Control Board have confirmed.

Michigan to See Official Interactive Sports Betting in January

Online gambling and specifically sports betting are coming to Michigan and members of the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) have confirmed that the state should see online operations launch very soon, in mid-January, 2021.

With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approving a bill that was passed to her office in December 2019, the time has finally come for sports betting to go live in the Wolverine State to open for business.

Following an approval from the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules on December 1, 2020, casinos in the state may now receive immediate licenses and set up their sports betting businesses, so long as they meet the prerequisites.

So far, there are 15 license holders that will be allowed to break ground in Michigan, and well ahead of the Super Bowl, one of the biggest drivers of revenue in the sports betting climate, right there with March Madness, a popular college basketball tournament held in March.

Among the approved stakeholders are Firekeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Gun Lake Casino in Wayland and Four Winds Casino in southwest Michigan. Michigan is keen to get a move on its sports betting industry as initial forecasts put the revenue at $90 million in just the first year of operation.

Expecting Solid Revenue Gains for the State

In the meantime, Detroit’s land-based casinos, to name MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City and Greektown will meet an 8.4% tax on all interactive gambling revenues with 4.62% allocated to the city and 3.78% going to the state to boost the School Aid Fund.

Competition for the state’s share of the sports betting pie is huge with 20 tribal operators already offering sports betting, out of 23 in total, and all three casinos in Detroit, all servicing sports bettors on site. Now, attitudes are going to change and most consumers are expected to make a shift for mobile betting solutions.

Commenting on this expedited approval schedule, sports attorney Michael Huff said that there was a noted interest among lawmakers to generate additional revenue. Just like any other state, Michigan has been hit by the paralyzing effect of Covid-19.

Detroit’s casinos have been see-sawing between openings and closures, with most properties restarting operation last Wednesday, but still having to comply with restrictive measures in order to avoid becoming “superspreaders.”

With the introduction of online betting, though, the state can benefit from tax revenue while limiting citizens’ exposure to offshore sportsbooks. According to Huff, the introduction of interactive licenses should attract new crowds as well, and allow everyone who doesn’t want to visit a casino to wager online.

It’s going to be an early sports betting year for Michigan by the look of it.

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