Launch Of Online Sportsbooks Might Not Happen Until End Of Month, Online Casinos Possibly Later

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The goal posts have been incrementally moved farther away on the online sportsbook front in Michigan.

Today, the Michigan Gaming Control Board told MIBets that while an announcement of which sportsbooks are ready to launch is expected sometime in mid-January — that’s Jan. 10 to Jan. 20, for those scoring at home — the actual launch of said sportsbooks probably won’t happen until later in the month.

“In mid-January, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) expects to announce the first group of operators eligible to accept wagers,” said Mary Kay Bean, the spokesperson for the MGCB. “We expect they will start accepting wagers later in the month. By law, that first group must include one tribal operator and one commercial operator. The authorization announcement and launch date will not coincide.

And why the delay between announcement and actual launch?

The timing and way the MGCB authorizes launch depend on how quickly the applicants meet regulatory requirements and submit all required information,” Bean said. “We are awaiting items such as independent testing lab reports, occupational licensing applications and branding information. The agency continues to work on outstanding items with the applicants and should know more soon regarding the number of applicants approved for launch.”

Casinos might not launch at same time

Additionally, online casinos may lag behind online sportsbooks in launch dates. 

“We should know soon whether we can authorize the launch of online gaming at the same time as sports wagering, or whether there may be a delay for online gaming,” Bean said.

It’s been over a year since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the bill that allowed for both in-person and online sports betting. While in-person wagering in Michigan began last March — days before the coronavirus shut everything down — the start of online gaming has been held up by regulatory hurdles.

From the get-go, however — and despite some politicians hoping otherwise — the MGCB didn’t see a path to an online launch in 2020, and obviously the pandemic didn’t help speed the process along.

But while the coronavirus wreaked havoc, the MGCB hunkered down in its ongoing attempt to get everything in order for the official launch of online sportsbooks and casinos in the Wolverine State.

In a word, then: Soon.

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