West Michigan casinos not in initial online gaming rollout

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s the big buzz in Michigan’s casino industry: online gambling and sports betting. 

Nine casinos, including six tribal ones, will offer these services for the first time on Friday

“I’ve been getting emails for four or five months (saying), ‘When’s this going to happen?’” said Richard Kalm, the executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board. “A lot of anticipation.”

Casinos have to meet certain requirements before being approved by the board.

“They have to ensure us they can do it, which is identity protection, cyber security, geolocation. They have to be able to show us where the bet is coming from,” Kalm said.

As of Tuesday, Gun Lake Casino in Wayland and Firekeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek are not included in the nine casinos that will offer these services on Friday.

“Both sophisticated casinos and we’re working with them,” Kalm said. “It’s really a matter of when their platform reaches a completion stage. I think one of the two is very close.”

Casinos ready to go on Friday will work with well-known betting companies. MotorCity Casino in Detroit will partner with FanDuel. Bay Mills Casino in the Upper Peninsula will work with DraftKings.

Kalm doesn’t think casinos in West Michigan will be at a disadvantage by not being linked with a big company as services get underway on Friday.

“I don’t think there’s advantage from one to the other,” Kalm said. “In addition to that, for the first time in the U.S., we’ve licensed tribal governments to do off-reservation online gaming.”

Kalm believes online gambling is the wave of the future.

“It’s really an expansion to capture a demographic of younger people that are adept to using their phone,” Kalm said.

The executive director of the board says they are working diligently to get more casinos regulated by Friday.

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