Michigan residents have had a few weeks to let the idea of online sports betting launching next year instead of this year soak in.
As it turns out, that mental preparation might have been for nothing.
Online sports betting in Michigan, as well as iGaming, had been held up by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The committee has 15 days to review both sets of rules, or it could waive the remaining time and allow the Michigan Gaming Control Board to begin the licensing process.
JCAR formally waived that remaining time on Tuesday, which regulators say puts the state on track for a launch this month.
Chairman Sen. Pete Lucido told the Associated Press it was time to get online betting launched:
“Everybody wants to get this thing going. This is something that’s long overdue at this point. It’s being done in other states. We’re losing opportunity costs.”
Online sports betting in Michigan timeline
It sounds like state regulators are ready to act as soon as possible, according to a spokesperson:
“If JCAR waives the 15-day rule review requirement on Tuesday, the MGCB remains hopeful that online gaming and sports betting can start this year. 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.
“… The MGCB expects to get a clearer picture of when launch will occur as more of the required materials are submitted during December.”
Michigan could become a significant player in the US sports betting market with its 15 licenses for its 24 tribal casinos and three commercial casinos. The state will not launch online sports betting until it approves a commercial partner and tribal partner to start their operations.
Launching online sports betting would bring much-needed help for Detroit‘s commercial casinos. Those casinos closed nearly two weeks ago and will be shut through at least the first week in December in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The casinos could see a boost from the start of the NBA season as well as betting on the NFL. Betting on the regular season, which ends Jan. 3, could still be up in the air, but this makes it much more likely that Super Bowl betting will be available online in the state.
MI betting so far
Michigan launched retail sports betting in March, right before the coronavirus pandemic shut much of the world down. That’s led to very little handle so far: just $96 million from brief operations in March and then again when casinos reopened in August.
Sports betting revenue is $14.1 million so far for a 14.6% hold.
Those numbers should look significantly different once online betting launches. Residents near the southern border who could have visited the Detroit sportsbooks might have opted to travel to Indiana instead, where mobile sports betting has been live since last October.
There are plenty of big names coming to Michigan’s online sports betting market, as outlined by PlayMichigan.