Michigan Online Gambling Launch Timetable Unclear As Licensing Process Begins

Written By Matt Schoch on May 18, 2020
Michigan online gambling

Estimates for when online gambling and mobile sports betting will launch in Michigan are all over the place, but the licensing and rule-making processes are moving forward.

On Friday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board issued online gaming supplier licensing forms and is now accepting them.

“We’ve taken another step toward the launch of online gaming by beginning the licensing process,” MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm said in a statement. “The MGCB encourages suppliers to file applications soon so we can conduct investigations and issue provisional licenses, which are allowed under state law.”

A launch is expected as early as August of this year or as late as early 2021.

Forms on Michigan Gaming Control Board site

On Friday, the MGCB added a new “Internet Gaming and Fantasy Contests” section to its website. The section includes forms for daily fantasy sports operators.

There, applicants can access a series of forms: A Supplier License Inquiry Form, Supplier License Initial/Five-Year Renewal, Business Disclosure Form Initial/Five-Year Renewal, Personal Disclosure Form Initial/Five-Year Renewal, Supplemental Personal Disclosure Form Initial/Five-Year Renewal, Limited Personal Disclosure Form Initial/Five-Year Renewal and a Multi-Jurisdictional Personal Disclosure Form.

“We continue to make progress on rule promulgation for internet gaming and online sports betting,” Kalm said. “While we expect to launch these forms of betting by early 2021, we hope it can happen sooner.”

Kalm told Playinmichigan earlier this month that a November launch could be possible for iGaming and mobile sports betting.

According to the MGCB, the provisional licenses for all suppliers other than platform providers can be issued.

Other forms will be added to the website soon after the agency receives additional feedback on proposed rules shared recently with stakeholders.

Rep. Brandt Iden hopes for summer launch

Rep. Brandt Iden, the primary state lawmaker who pushed several years for expanded gambling laws, is a popular man in the industry.

Last week, Iden was the only person to appear on two separate days of panels at an ICE North America conference, which was held remotely.

On Monday, Iden reiterated his hope for a fall launch for iGaming and online sports betting.

During a session on Tuesday, the Republican repeated the fall hopes then took it a step further, saying a late summer launch is possible.

“We’re getting it up and fast tracking it, so we could potentially be up and ready by this fall,” he said. “So people could both play with the iGaming platform as well as the mobile sports betting as soon as maybe August or September.”

Michigan online gambling would help state

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state officials will have to deal with a $3.2 billion shortfall in this year’s budget because of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Detroit News reported.

Any new revenue can help, including the hastening of Michigan online gambling, Iden said.

“Each state is going to be looking to capitalize on revenue,” Iden said. “We’re going to need dollars to our state budget. With our land-based casinos being closed, I believe the next platform is going to be online. That’s where players are going to go.

“If states don’t have a regulatory market in place, they could go to the black market. That’s dangerous for everyone.”

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He’s also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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