‘I’d Put My Money On It,’ Says Legislator On 2020 Online Sportsbook Launch In Michigan

One Michigan legislator says online gaming and sportsbooks should launch in 2020 after rules committee clears the way.
Michigan statehouse
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Michigan residents will definitely be getting online sportsbooks and casinos, and it’s looking increasingly likely it will happen before the calendar flips to 2021.

In an expected move, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) waived through the rules and regulations concerning online wagering and gaming during a scheduled meeting Tuesday.

This marks the official end of the legislative portion of getting online wagering and casino gambling up and running, and now the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) holds the keys to getting operators approved and live. Will it happen by the end of the year?

One key legislator definitely thinks so.

“As a betting man, I’d put my money on it,” said Rep. Brandt Iden, who was instrumental in getting the legislation passed and signed into law in late 2019.

At this point, the MGCB will commence the licensing process, and if things go as smoothly as Iden predicts, some sportsbooks and casinos could be up and running before Santa Claus comes to town.

“The MGCB remains hopeful that online gaming and sports betting can start this year,” Mary Kay Bean, the spokesperson for the MGCB, said Monday, anticipating JCAR’s waiving of the rules.

“Launch also depends on when the operators are eligible for licensing and all of their partners (suppliers and vendors) are fully licensed or registered. The MGCB also must receive approval letters from an independent test lab that the platform and various games meet all technical requirements. Our staff is reviewing pre-launch checklists from the operators and platform providers to assess licensing eligibility. No one will be eligible for licensing or launch when the rules are filed. Some aspects of licensing can’t occur until after the rules are filed. The MGCB expects to get a clearer picture of when launch will occur as more of the required materials are submitted during December.”

So while the MGCB remains cautious, Iden’s optimism is cause for celebration.

A year-long process

The process to get online gaming going in Michigan started nearly a year ago. Last December, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a comprehensive gambling bill into law, and this past spring saw the three Detroit casinos and the 24 tribal casinos be able to take sports bets in person.

As for the online process, the MGCB crafted all the regulations, and JCAR received the online rules and regs on Oct. 8. The MGCB officially requested a waiver on Oct. 26. 

There is no word on which casinos – and their online partners – will be first to market. There are 15 expected entries into what will quickly become a crowded field.

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