15 Michigan Online Gambling Operators Got Interim Licenses: What’s Next?

Written By Matt Schoch on December 10, 2020Last Updated on April 26, 2022
Michigan online gambling

Last week, the Michigan Legislature cleared the way for the Michigan Gaming Control Board to start licensing online gambling platform providers.

This week, the MGCB is going to work.

The board provisionally licensed 15 providers for sports betting and internet gaming this week. Internet gaming also covers online poker, though no poker-exclusive applicants were approved.

“The MGCB now can approve provisional licenses following the filing of the administrative rules for online gaming and sports betting Dec. 2 with the Office of the Great Seal,” said Richard Kalm, MGCB executive director, in a news release.

“The platform providers still must meet other regulatory requirements before online gaming and sports betting can launch in Michigan. The launch date will depend on how quickly they can fulfill the requirements.”

So is a Michigan online gambling launch imminent?

Provisional licenses enable the companies to move on to the next steps in the pre-launch process. They are essentially temporary approvals that require additional confirmation. They get the ball rolling, but they don’t mean a sportsbook or online casino app can launch the next day.

Before the launch happens, the platform providers must complete additional requirements including independent lab testing of platforms and games and MGCB approval of internal controls. The companies also must secure occupational licenses for certain employees.

Mary Kay Bean, a spokesperson for MGCB, wrote in an email to Playinmichigan that a mid-January launch is expected.

That launch estimate is in line with the MGCB’s timeline of four to six weeks from last week, when the internet gaming and internet sports betting rules were added to the state’s administrative code.

Who will be the first to launch in Michigan is still anyone’s guess. And, as Kalm put it, the who, what, and when is all dependent on which company gets all the pieces in place correctly:

“The platform providers’ ability to meet the requirements of the laws and rules will determine which entities can be licensed for launch first.”

Who has been given interim licenses by the MGCB?

As of Thursday morning, the MGCB had provisionally approved nine companies for both internet gaming and sports betting licenses and another for just sports betting.

The others were announced in a news release Thursday afternoon.

In all, they are:

  • American Wagering Inc. (doing business as William Hill, partnered with Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians)
  • Betfair Interactive US LLC (doing business as FanDuel, partnered with MotorCity Casino)
  • BetMGM, LLC (partnered with MGM Grand Detroit)
  • Churchill Downs Interactive Gaming, LLC (doing business as TwinSpires, partnered with Hannahville Indian Community)
  • Crown MI Gaming LLC (doing business as DraftKings, partnered with Bay Mills Indian Community)
  • GAN Nevada Inc. (partnered with Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)
  • Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Inc. (partnered with Keweenaw Bay Indian Community)
  • NYX Digital Gaming (USA), LLC (owned by Scientific Games, partnered with Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Indians)
  • Parx Interactive Inc. (partnered with Gun Lake Tribe)
  • Penn Sports Interactive, LLC (partnered with Greektown Casino)
  • PointsBet Michigan LLC (partnered with Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians)
  • Rush Street Interactive MI, LLC (owners of BetRivers, partnered with Little River Band of the Ottawa Indians)
  • Sports Information Services Limited (doing business as Kambi; licensed only for sports betting, partnered with Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians)
  • TSG Interactive US Services Limited (doing business as Fox Bet, partnered with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians).
  • WSI US, LLC (doing business as Wynn, also partnered with Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

Who has not yet been licensed by the MGCB?

Interestingly, there’s no obvious connection to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in the group. The operators of Soaring Eagle and Saganing Eagles Landing casinos could be pairing up with an operator such as Kambi or GAN that also has other partners.

Or, the operator could be going with someone else for its sports betting partnership. The tribe has not yet announced a partnership, though it plans to launch retail sports betting next month.

A statewide online launch also requires one other element: At least one online operator linked with a tribal casino must be approved as well as an operator linked with a commercial casino before anyone launches.

Even so, a mid-January launch of online gambling in Michigan is something to look forward to. Bookmark our live updates page for the latest news.

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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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