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Michigan A Very Popular State In Which To Debut Online Casino Games

Efficient regulatory process, market size, low tax rate among factors cited




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Patrick Stewart and Levar Burton

Michigan may not have been the first U.S. jurisdiction to legalize online casino apps, but it’s often the state where major iCasino operators choose to debut new games.

Just why is that, exactly?

“The size of the market rivals that of New Jersey, so it’s a very significant market,” Howard Glaser, global head of government affairs for Light & Wonder, told MI Bets. “Secondly, Michigan has a streamlined approval process that maintains high regulatory standards but results in faster review times. I think the state regulator has learned from the experience of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and has made it quite efficient.

“It can take half as long for a new game review process in Michigan as it does in some of the other states,” Glaser continued. “It’s just in that sweet spot — you’ve got a large market, you’ve got an intelligent review process, and it’s a logical choice to introduce new products. It’s good for the state as well, because bringing new games into the marketplace also drives new revenue. It attracts new players, it keeps the interest of existing players — so it’s in the state’s interest to have a process that’s not overly cumbersome. I think Michigan accomplishes both speed and diligence.”

Glaser hits the nail on the head when it comes to the primary factors, but Chris Housel, founder and CEO of the Michigan-based content creator PDX Slots, also takes into consideration the high gross gaming revenue Michigan’s relatively low tax rate affords operators, as well as its low game count relative to a state like New Jersey.

“Pennsylvania has high taxes and tends to have a backlog of testing to do; New Jersey just has a large game count already approved; other states have small GGR,” said Housel, who went on to echo Glaser’s sentiment in complimenting Michigan’s “quick and easy-to-work-with gaming lab.”

The roar behind the score

The leading iCasino in Michigan, BetMGM, recently selected the state to debut high-profile online slots based on The Godfather and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

“We consider factors including regulatory approval timing, variety, and other upcoming game releases,” said Oliver Bartlett, BetMGM’s vice president of gaming product and content. “The iGaming industry in North America is still in its early stages, but it has grown at an incredible rate. Michigan has proven to be a strong market for BetMGM and we love to debut as much content as we can there.”

With a physical casino in downtown Detroit, there are more tactile factors at play for BetMGM as well.

“BetMGM was the Detroit Lions’ first sports betting partner,” said Bartlett. “We have a prominent in-stadium presence and exclusive Detroit Lions-branded games such as Detroit Lions Deluxe Slot, Detroit Lions Roulette and Blackjack, Detroit Lions Big Kick Lucky Tap, and Detroit Lions QB Blast Lucky Tap.”

One imagines the Lions’ ongoing feel-good playoff run can do nothing but help these silver and blue titles.

Photo: Getty Images