Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is looking to provide more problem gambling support as sports betting and online casino continue to mature in the Mitten State.
Whitmer introduced her $80.7 billion budget proposal to Michigan lawmakers Wednesday. The 201-page document includes a $4 million earmark for the Compulsive Gambling Prevention Fund (CGPF.)
Increasing gambling support in Michigan
The $4 million for the CGPF will help protect vulnerable citizens, MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said. The budget proposal said the funds will “enhance the 24/7 Gambling Disorder Helpline and existing treatment options to assist those suffering with gambling addiction and related problems.”
“The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 showcases a strong commitment to addressing the challenges posed by compulsive gambling and ensuring the integrity of iGaming operations,” Williams said in a release.
The CGPF receives approximately $3 million annually from the MGCB, Michigan Lottery and operators. Earlier this year, federal lawmakers in Washington DC introduced a bill that would send US sports betting revenue to fund problem gambling support.
Michigan budget includes offshore assistance
Along with money to assist in responsible gambling efforts, Whitmer proposed sending $1.9 million to the MGCB. That fund would be used to help the agency combat illegal operators in Michigan, Williams said.
“The proposed budget’s allocation for expanding the MGCB’s iGaming regulatory capacity is a significant step forward in safeguarding consumers and deterring illegal activities within Michigan’s online gambling sector,” Williams said. “As iGaming continues to grow in popularity, enhanced regulatory oversight becomes indispensable in protecting vulnerable Michigan citizens, preventing money laundering, and mitigating the risks of fraudulent practices.”
There is also $1.1 million set aside to improve the iLottery website and app.
Sports betting regulators starting to crack down
In January, the MGCB announced three websites were taking illegal bets in the state, including PredictionStrike. In the announcement, the MGCB said it sent cease and desist letters to the sites in late 2023.
Michigan has led markets with how it handled daily fantasy sports pick’em products. Last October, the MGCB issued clarifying rules on the industry.
Last May, Williams sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for assistance in cracking down on offshore gambling operators. That followed an American Gaming Association letter to Garland.
Michigan sports betting grows
Prior to online operators, in-person sportsbooks opened in March 2020. With the online launch in January 2021, there are 14 online sportsbooks and 15 online casinos in Michigan.
Since the beginning of Michigan sports betting, more than $13.7 billion has been wagered on sports. Operators have generated $1.2 billion in sports betting revenue, with the state raking in $60.6 million in taxes.
Online casino operators have generated $4.4 billion in revenue since January 2021, with Michigan collecting $844 million in taxes.