Michigan online sports betting may still launch in 2020 if state lawmakers waive the remaining time for further regulatory review.
The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) held up online sports betting in the Great Lake State, including iGaming. The committee has another 15 days to review mobile betting rules and regulations, or it could waive the remaining time and give the go-ahead to the Michigan Gaming Control Board to begin the licensing process. According to Associated Press, the Joint Committee is likely to waive those rules during a meeting scheduled November 1.
While speaking on this issue, JCAR Chairman Sen. Pete Lucido, said that this is something “that’s long overdue at this point.” He said that this is already being done in other states and that Michigan is losing opportunity costs. It suggests an eventual launch in 2020 against the board’s previous assertion the launch could be pushed to next year.
COVID’s Effect on Michigan’s Sports Betting
COVID-19 affected Michigan’s legal sports betting as the state had to close casinos immediately after the official launch of in-person betting. Casinos were forced to shut down recently for a second time, as the positive coronavirus cases escalated in the Great Lake State. While Michigan had not yet launched mobile betting, the only option to place wagers is through casino properties. The pandemic made this impossible.
The global pandemic also caused a delay in the launch of mobile betting as the state Congress has not met for a session, and things will get going when both chambers return to session.
The commercial casinos in the state are likely to reopen on December 24, after which these establishments can get a license to provide online sports betting formally. If all goes according to plan, Michigan’s first regulated sportsbook will launch before the end of 2020.
Cautious Optimism for 2020 Launch
It sounds like Michigan is ready to act as soon as possible in regulating its online sports betting industry.
While speaking about this situation to the media, spokeswoman for the MGCB Mary Kay Bean said, “If we hear the waiver request was approved, we hope that online gaming and sports betting can start this year.”
However, the launch also depends on when sportsbooks are eligible for licensing, and when all of their suppliers and vendors are fully registered. In addition, MGCB must hold an independent inquiry to ensure that the platform and games meet all technical requirements.
How Did We Reach Here?
The Great Lake State legalized sports betting in December 2019 and began chalking out the rules and regulations for the official launch of the new industry. It was not until March 2020 that the first sportsbook launched here.
For online sports betting, the initial launch date was set near the start of the NFL season. However, the COVID-19 pushed everything. Then, the authorities hoped to launch online gambling by Thanksgiving, and they were again pushed back to the end of this year.
Despite the official claims to launch the Michigan online sports betting in December 2020, experts believe it will not be until 2021 when the state sees mobile sports betting.
Online Sports Betting in Michigan
With its 15 licenses for the state’s 24 tribal casinos and three commercial casinos, Michigan could become a huge player in the US sports betting market. Michigan will not launch online sports betting unless it approves a commercial partner and tribal partner to launch their operations.
The eventual launch will bring much-needed support for Detroit’s commercial casinos, which was forced to close for weeks due to the COVID-19. The casinos could witness a boost from the NBA season as well as wagering on the NFL. Betting on the regular season could still be a possibility. However, this makes it much more likely that Super Bowl betting will be available online in Michigan.