Michigan Prepares for the Launch of Online Sportsbooks and Casinos

Punters in Michigan can finally rejoice as the wait for online sports betting and casino gaming is almost over. Richard Kalm, the Executive Director for the Michigan Gaming Control Board, made an announcement during the board’s monthly meeting regarding the licensed operators in the state, and the launch could happen any day before January 19.

“We are extremely close. I wish I could give you all an exact date and time. Unfortunately, the deadline changes every day and we’re gathering information daily,” Kalm said. Once the board gives the final go-ahead, Kalm says the final implementation is a four-to-five-day process. The operators can make the best use of this period for conducting last-minute tests before the applications go live.

The Parameters to Follow

For starters, only the 24 licensed tribal casinos and the three in Detroit can legally offer online sports betting and iGaming services. And under the Michigan sports betting guidelines of 2019, wagers cannot be placed at least until one each of the state’s commercial casinos and tribal casinos earn their wagering license.

The MGCB provided provisional gambling licenses to 15 operators in the state on December 10. This allows the shortlisted operators to offer iGaming services in Michigan. However, the casinos must wait for the final go-ahead from the Government.

DraftKings, which recently partnered with Bay Mills Resort & Casino, is one of the first operators to take its services live. “We have been working really hard to get ready in time, and we can finally say that we’re all set for the green light. We’re really excited about the progress made so far and look forward to the MGCB’s instructions before moving ahead”, revealed Matt Kalish, the Co-Founder and President at DraftKings.

What the Road Ahead Looks Like

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a Bill in December 2019 to legalize sports betting in Michigan. But getting to this point hasn’t been an easy ride, with loads of painstaking hurdles blocking the way. While in-person sports betting was legalized in Michigan on March 11, casinos in Detroit were forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan’s commercial casinos earned close to $18.3 million in total revenue in 2020, while the three Detroit casinos earned $639 million in total during the tenure. Although the figures seem impressive, revenue was down almost 56% compared to 2019. But online casinos played a key role in minimizing the impact to a certain degree.

According to projections from MichiganSharp.com, revenue from online casinos and sportsbooks could rake in $650 million in annual revenue for the tribal and commercial casinos in Michigan.

“I believe we’ll witness an upwards trend of 90% in sports betting handle from mobile gambling. Online casino gaming will take off as the industry matures and the operators continue adding more games to their portfolio”, said Geoff Fisk, an analyst for MichiganSharp.com.

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