Lawmakers clear way for online gambling in Michigan

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan casinos are one step closer to offering online gambling and sports betting.

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted Tuesday to waive a 15-day waiting period to approve state regulations.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Gaming Control Board says it is now likely that casinos will be able to offer online betting before the end of the year.

“Part of the legislature’s motivation is to generate additional revenue and it’s worth noting that revenue will be used to fund the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the problem gambling hotline, to support first responders and additionally fund the Michigan school aid fund,” said sports attorney Michael Huff.

In the next 48 hours, sports betting rules will be filed with the state and then become official. At that point, the 26 casinos here in Michigan will be able to apply for the appropriate licenses to participate.

After a year of closures and limited capacities due to COVID-19, it’s a boost many have been waiting for.

“Online betting is going to propose a huge opportunity for revenue generation to reach people who are comfortable betting from their homes. I think the casino is anticipating they’re going to attract some new users as well: people who are die hard sports fans but maybe wouldn’t visit a casino, may want to place bets online,” Huff said. 

With regulations now set, the process lies in the hands of the casinos and the Gaming Board. The MGCB says its staff will work closely with sportsbooks to make sure they have everything prepared. Casinos, along with their vendors and suppliers, now need to submit applications to get their licenses. Their platforms and games will also need to be reviewed by the Board.

Michigan has three commercial casinos: the MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown and MotorCity Casino in Detroit. The state also has 23 tribal-owned casinos.

Experts forecast online gambling will generate more than $90 million in revenue in its first year. The commercial casinos will pay an 8.4% tax on online gambling revenues: 4.62% goes to their local jurisdiction (Detroit) and 3.78% goes to the state, which is allocated to the School Aid Fund.

Currently, all three commercial casinos have sportsbooks up and running. Twenty of Michigan’s 23 tribal casinos have deals in place for sportsbooks and have either opened or are in the process of opening.

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