Michigan could launch online sports betting in the coming days

The state of Michigan could launch its online sports betting market in the coming days.

During a Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) meeting held on Tuesday, it was revealed that Michigan’s online sports betting market is very close” to launching.

During the Michigan regulator’s meeting, Executive Director Richard Kalm said that “We could have an announcement this week” on a launch date for online sports betting operations in Michigan.

Kalm said: “I’m cautiously optimistic we’re going to have something either this week or the very first part of next week to relay to the public. I know it seems slow to the public, but from our perspective, the regulatory perspective, we just cannot launch new types of gaming until we have rules in place to protect the integrity of that gaming.”

“We’re very close. I wish I could give an exact date and time but each day that changes, so we’re gathering information daily. We’re very, very close.”

It is not clear which operator will be the first to take bets in the state of Michigan. On top of this, once a launch date is approved bets may not be taken straight away as operators will be required to test their platforms before serving the wider public.

15 operators standing by to launch

In December 2020, the regulator awarded provisional licences to 15 online sports betting operators.

The MGCB issued approval to Betfair Interactive (FanDuel), Crown MI Gaming (DraftKings), Rush Street Interactive (BetRivers), Roar Digital (BetMGM), American Wagering (William Hill), PointsBet and Penn Sports Interactive.

Of the seven above, FanDuel, BetMGM and Penn Sports currently offer land-based sports betting at the three land-based casinos in Detroit. William Hill, BetRivers, DraftKings and PointsBet have opted to enter the Michigan betting market via partnerships with tribal gambling operators

Other applicants included Churchill Downs’ TwinSpires, The Stars Group’s Fox Bet product, Wynn Sports, GAN, Golden Nugget, Scientific Games’ NYX Digital Gaming arm and Parx Interactive.

A long road to launch

The launch of legal online gambling operations in the state of Michigan has been a long time coming. In December 2019, Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed three pieces of legislation into law that would legalise mobile and online casino gambling; online, mobile and land-based sports betting; and daily fantasy sports contests in the state.

Michigan’s land-based sports wagering market went live on 11 March with the opening of sportsbooks at Penn National Gaming’s Greektown Casino and the MGM Grand Detroit. 

Although sports betting is legal in the state, the closure of the state’s three commercial casinos due to the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the market.

It was widely speculated that Michigan’s online market would launch in time for the 2020 football season but the process was ultimately slowed down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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