Tuesday marked another significant development for the state of Michigan and its future of online gambling. It wasn’t a surprising one, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced in a presser that it formally began accepting applications from the companies that will directly offer online casino gambling and online/mobile sports wagering in the Wolverine State — in other words, the commercial and tribal casinos in the state. The state is also accepting applications from the service providers they have or will partner with.
On May 15, the agency began to accept online gaming supplier forms.
Formally accepting the paperwork comes as regulators also work to finalize rules and regulations that companies will adhere to in order to offer gambling over the web. In December, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer put her signature on legislation to expand casino-style gambling to the internet.
“The MGCB continues to make progress toward the launch of online gaming by adding forms for operators and vendors,” Richard Kalm, MGCB executive director, said in a statement. “Operators should file applications soon so we can conduct investigations and work with them on internal controls, technical standards, lab certifications, and other requirements. In addition, the operators and suppliers should encourage their vendors to complete and submit registration forms.”
The law in Michigan states that at least one tribal and one commercial license must be approved before anyone can launch. That was designed to level the playing field.
Michigan has three Detroit casinos and more than 20 tribal casinos sprinkled around the state.
The state of the sports world still faces uncertainty amid the public health crisis, so casinos and their online sports betting partners could be less eager right now to see the activity start than the state of Michigan is, as the state is in need of tax revenue.
Online casino gambling is a higher margin business, and that is likely to pay off quickly for the brick-and-mortar casinos. While tribal casinos have reopened, the Detroit casinos are still closed.
“We expect to launch internet gaming and online sports betting by late 2020 or early 2021,” Kalm added. “It’s more likely all participants will be prepared and qualified for launch if the MGCB receives timely applications.”
Prior to the pandemic, Michigan was eyeing a launch sometime in the first quarter of 2021.