There were 563 calls made to the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline in the month, according to a report by the Lansing State Journal. That was more than 10 times the amount of calls the helpline received in February of 2020.
“Casinos are at limited capacity right now because of the pandemic,” Michelle Malkin, a Ph.D. candidate studying problem gambling at Michigan State University’s school of justice, told the paper. “The only thing that could really [explain] this is the growth of online gambling. Because that’s really the only big change that’s happened in Michigan.”
And a big change it was, with over a dozen sportsbooks and online casinos competing for the gambling dollar, with many of the concerns blasting their advertising day and night.
Money pouring in since launch
In the first three months of operation, Michigan’s foray into online sportsbooks and online casinos has been an unqualified success.
Since going live on Jan. 22, Michigan’s online sportsbooks have taken in over $776 million in wagers and brought in nearly $800,000 in tax revenue.
Online casinos have been an even bigger cash cow, making over $204 million in revenue and paying out nearly $36 million in taxes to the state.
But those successes have clearly brought some people into the gambling fold who went in over their heads.
In addition to calling the helpline, Michigan residents can also self-exclude themselves from gambling, either in-person or online. For online gaming, people can set up self-exclusion from the sites for between one and five years by applying at the Michigan Gaming Control Board’s Responsible Gaming Database.
Would-be gamblers can also sign up to be excluded through each of the online gaming operators.
Lastly, Michigan residents can bar themselves from entering Detroit’s three brick-and-mortar casinos. That would be done by applying to be placed on the state’s “dissociated persons list.” Residents who wish to sign up there can do so by filling out a form on the MGCB website.
And finally, people who are seeking immediate help can call the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-270-7117.