London-based mobile gambling software company GAN announced Monday that it had entered a 10-year partnership with Wynn Resorts to provide online casino gaming and sports betting in Michigan.
According to a statement released by GAN, the companies expect to launch Wynn online in Michigan by November — provided that state government can complete the regulatory rulemaking process and begin approving licenses for digital betting platforms by then. The Michigan Gaming Control Board has cited November as its target date to launch mobile betting, although the board’s previous estimates pegged early 2021 as a potential rollout date.
Earlier this year, GAN signed a market-access agreement with Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, which operates five Kewadin casinos in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, to supply mobile gaming services throughout the Wolverine State. At the time, GAN, which typically provides gaming operators with business-to-business software expertise and technical support, also announced that its online wagering software would be used by an “existing major U.S. casino operator client of GAN that has requested anonymity pending certain regulatory approvals.”
Monday’s agreement would appear to make Wynn Resorts the missing piece, thus providing GAN and Kewadin Casinos with a brand-name skin for their iGaming and mobile sports betting platforms. Wynn would also bring access to its “substantial database of patrons’ resident within the Michigan region to cross-market to Internet gambling,” the statement said.
“We look forward to powering the Wynn brand in Michigan with our highly optimized technology platform and enabling Wynn to efficiently invest their marketing capital to attract loyal sports betting and iGaming players,” said GAN Chief Commercial Officer Jeffrey Berman in Monday’s statement. “We are pleased to onboard Wynn, with its national casino brand and substantial Michigan-region patron base, as a major operator client and are excited at the opportunity presented by potential roll-outs in multiple additional states in the future.”
Back when GAN announced its initial partnership with the tribal casino operator, Kewadin Gaming Authority CEO Allen Kerridge said: “The Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians is excited to take this important step with GAN and our mutual partner to bring both retail sports to our consumers at our five casino locations in short course, in addition to internet gaming casino on day-one when first allowed by the state of Michigan. We chose GAN and our mutual partner based on their market-leading technology and combined substantial experience serving gaming clients both online and offline.”
Potential for early foothold in iGaming
As Michigan has grown closer to implementing regulated online gambling, following the state legislature’s passage of twin bills to legalize sports wagering and internet gambling in December 2019, much of the attention has focused on mobile sports betting and well-known digital sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Penn National Gaming’s new Barstool app, all of which should be available in Michigan.
GAN and Wynn will also offer mobile sports betting, just as the aforementioned sports-centric platforms also plan to host iGaming in Michigan, but Wynn’s internet casino offerings may reap initial success thanks to Wynn’s database of existing players and its name value as a legacy brand in the terrestrial casino business.
When GAN and Kewadin Casinos announced their market-access deal in March, GAN cited projections that Michigan could be worth more than $830 million per year by the state’s fourth year of regulated betting. That sum would be greater than New Jersey’s 2019 revenue, which topped out at slightly more than $700 million, 69% of which came from online casino wagering as opposed to sports betting.
“Michigan has long represented an attractive market with both internet sports and internet casino gaming now regulated,” Berman said in the March statement announcing GAN’s deal with the tribal casino operator. “Our technical expertise and ‘day one’ experience in multiple U.S. internet gambling markets will enable the Sault Tribe to capture their share of the online opportunity and we thank them for their trust in forming this relationship with GAN and our major U.S. casino operator client whose identity will be confirmed in due course.”
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