Michigan Gets Ready to Welcome First Round of Online Sportsbooks in Mid-January

Michigan is getting ready to roll out sports betting in mid-January, and fifteen sportsbooks are already licensed to operate in the state. FanDuel and DraftKings are already offering pre-registration bonuses for punters who want to sign in before the live-action can begin.

According to Michigan Senator Curtis Hertel, “I fully expect to see a launch sometime this month.” The Senator, however, was unsure of an exact launch date at the time of publication. Fifteen sportsbooks, including FanDuel and DraftKings, have already been approved by the licensing authorities, and more are expected to follow suit.

“I expect most of the brick-and-mortar casinos to pair up with an online partner and go live within the next few months. I think we’ll soon witness over a dozen offerings in the category”, Hertel added.

The Perks of Legalizing Online Sports Betting in Michigan

As stated by the state’s Gaming and Control Board, punters can directly wager on their mobile devices after the operators follow the location and age verification protocols. “For a resident, this probably means you’ll have direct access to legal sports betting and mobile wagering platforms on the go” explained John Holden, Assistant Professor of Business at the Oklahoma State University, who’s an expert in federal and regional regulation of sports wagering.

Holden says operators that launch their own sportsbooks could witness greater engagement as the program goes live. “Sports betting has been active in select casinos for the past few months. Although access to these establishments had been limited in the past few months owing to the lockdown and related restrictions”, Holden added.

State-governed institutions were hit hard by the COVID-19 lockdown and the restrictive business practices that followed. Revenue from table games and video slots dropped by over 61% compared to the same duration in 2019.

“I think there’s pent up demand. Since the casinos were only open at 15% capacity through October and November, patrons were actively looking at ways to return to their old habits”, said Richard Kalm, Executive Director of Michigan Gaming and Control Board.

Legalities and Statistics

When the Lawful Sports Betting Act was first signed in December 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer projected an average handle between $175 million and $225 million from sports betting at both commercial and tribal properties.

Michigan is the twentieth state to legalize online sports betting, while the others have taken note following the disastrous run of physical establishments in 2020. “The general trend in 2020 was that states with both physical and online casinos saw an upward trend in revenue of 80% – 85%. New Jersey saw 93% of all sports wagers arrive from online sportsbooks.

Kalm believes the process is now reliant on the sportsbooks and the operators, and they must follow safe gambling practices as laid down by the government and the regulatory bodies. “We’re currently waiting for test results from independent labs that test the software and the types of games on offer along with geolocation, age verification, and internal control”, Kalm explained.

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