How A Michigan Online Casino Launch Delay Will Benefit Bettors, Operators

Posted on December 8, 2020 - Last Updated on December 9, 2020

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed expanded gambling laws in Michigan on Dec. 20, 2019. But one year later, chances for a 2020 launch of online sports betting, online casino and online poker are all but gone, leaving the same old question for a new year.

However, bettors could ultimately benefit from a few extra months waiting for launch.

MGCB executive director estimates six weeks until launch

PlayMichigan broke the news about the latest delay on Friday, reporting the Michigan Gaming Control Board official launch timetable was now four to six weeks from last week.

The most optimistic interpretation still could put launch inside of 2020 with two days to spare on Dec. 30. That’s entirely unlikely given the upcoming holidays though, but follow our live Michigan updates for the latest.

Other media outlets caught up to the news over the weekend, and MLive got a hold of Richard Kalm, the executive director of MGCB for a story published Sunday.

“With the waive of the rules, I thought we were four weeks out, but we just sent out earlier this week — the same day as the JCAR (meeting) — an inquiry to the platform providers’ operators to give us how ready they are to go and what they’re going to have done,” Kalm told MLive. “So we might be having to push that back, because we’re now looking at probably six weeks.

“The whole thing is going to be really dependent on the paperwork they’re submitting.”

While a ’21 launch likely misses the entire Detroit Lions season, online sports bettors could still possibly wager on portions of the NFL’s postseason.

Online casino players could get even more benefits.

How online casino operators could benefit

There is at least one positive of a delayed launch for operators of Michigan online casino and online poker.

According to the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, more bonus write-offs should be available, turn into more freebies for players.

As Michigan residents will see in deluges of advertising, operators give out free bonus play as a lure to new customers.

The operators are able to deduct some free play from their adjusted gross receipts to mitigate their tax commitments.

In years one through three, deductions cannot exceed 10% of gross receipts. The following two years have maximums deductions of 6% and 4%, respectively, before a phase-out in year 6.

However, the first partial year of launch is an extra period of 10% maximum deductions that don’t count against the five-year clock. If an online casino operator launched on Dec. 30, the first full year of 10% deductions would start two days later.

Launching after Jan. 1 gives operators, and in turn players, nearly a full extra year before the clock starts ticking there.

A long year. Michigan residents know plenty about that.

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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 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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