Michigan Online Sports Betting Delayed till Early 2021

Sports betting in Michigan has been delayed by a month. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules waived the customary 15-day waiting period prior to accepting the online gambling rules.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board was hopeful of legalizing sports betting in the state by the end of 2020. But now, it seems the plan has inadvertently been delayed by six weeks. Every operator hopeful of offering sports betting service will still have to seek the final licensing approval.

But before the final procedure takes place, the operators must submit approval letters from individual laboratories proving that the games meet the state’s licensing requirements. The move to waive the 15-day waiting period should accelerate the process.

The Progress So Far

Without the waiver, the officials would have to present the rules again in January to a new group of lawmakers, potentially delaying the process till February. But with the Super Bowl scheduled for the same month, that was not an option. Especially since the casino business in the state is already suffering due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

“The entire process is heavily dependent on the paperwork that they’re submitting. We’re going to hand out the provisional licenses as soon as the paperwork comes in and we complete the verification process. The platforms have also been asked to submit their software and lab testing reports complying with our requirements. Unfortunately, that is going to take a little more time,” said MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm.

“The labs will have to take an in-depth look at the technical aspects to ensure they’re compliant. Otherwise, we won’t be able to issue a license. With the waiver, I thought we were four weeks out. Unfortunately, the request went out earlier this week, right after the JCAR meeting. So, we might have to push the deadlines back by two more weeks,” Kalm added.

What Steps have the Authorities Taken?

Online sports betting cannot begin in Michigan as long as at least one of the three casinos in the state – MotorCity, MGM Grand, and Greektown – or any of the 23 tribal casinos earn their license. “It’s all good at the moment. There are no major complications preventing the licensing procedure, and the entire substructure including the vendors and suppliers is arranged”, Kalm commented.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer passed a bill back in December 2019 legalizing online sports betting and iGaming in the state. But the process of regulating the industry and forming the rules has been overly lengthy. The first step in this direction was launching in-person sports betting in March 2020, but that plan had to be postponed due to COVID-19.

While New Jersey generated over $803.1 million during October, setting a national record for the third time in as many months, Michigan’s casinos are projected to earn close to $67 million as the service goes live. Online sports wagering is a silver lining for Michigan casinos that suffered major losses during the lockdown and the subsequent months as capacity was limited to just 15%.

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