Williams: Michigan Gambling Plays Key Role In Gov. Whitmer’s Economic Vision

Written By Dave Briggs on September 5, 2023
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

The head of the Michigan Gaming Control Board said the state’s strong gambling industry is key to delivering Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s economic priorities.

Last week, the economy was a major theme in Whitmer’s What’s Next Address at the Lansing Shuffle.

“Michiganders work hard,” Whitmer said. “The numbers prove it. Our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 23 years… When Michigan families succeed, Michigan’s economy thrives.

“Our list of accomplishments, our growing, diversifying economy, and our strong financial position prove that what we are doing is working. That feeling you’re seeing in every region of our state — is hope. Michiganders believe in Michigan.”

Gambling a key cog in Michigan’s economy

Though she didn’t address the Michigan online casino and sports betting industry specifically, MGCB executive director Henry Williams (below) took the opportunity to add to Whitmer’s comments with his own.

Henry Williams Michigan Gaming Control Board

“I appreciated hearing Governor Whitmer’s remarks about the health of Michigan’s economy… and her highlighting the need for its continued growth by calling on each of us to do our part to help provide for workers, businesses, and communities,” Williams said in a release.

“Michigan’s gaming industry and its economic impact goes well beyond the entertainment factor everyone knows it provides. It fosters innovation, creates employment opportunities ranging from table dealers to cage cashiers, attracts investments by encouraging small businesses to partner with and provide their goods and services to our casinos and their patrons, and drives economic growth through revenue generated and tax payments made back to the state, as well as contributions made to the School Aid Fund, which directly benefits K-12 students.”

Michigan online casino revenue up 23%

Just last week, PlayMichigan reported that all 15 online casinos in Michigan have combined for over $1 billion in revenue through the first seven months of 2023. That’s up 23% from the first seven months of 2022.

Meanwhile, Detroit casinos are on pace to post their best year since 2019. Through seven months, they have combined for more than $749 million in revenue. That’s up more than $6 million than the same point in 2022, and $28 million more than 2021. The first half of 2021 did include capacity limits because of COVID-19.

Williams said there is still room for improvement.

“The governor also emphasized the need for a smoother permitting process to help support our economic growth,” he said. “The Michigan Gaming Control Board’s licensing division has particularly made a concerted effort to improve its licensing application process for gaming and non-gaming suppliers that conduct business with the three Detroit casinos and online operators.

“In addition, the Board has adopted several resolutions that provide clarification to licensing-related matters, all with an eye toward protecting the public’s interest.

“Like Gov. Whitmer said, ‘we have it all,’ and the MGCB is all in when it comes to Michigan citizens benefiting from our state’s gaming industry and the opportunities it provides.”

Photo by Al Goldis / AP Photo
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Dave Briggs

Dave Briggs is a managing editor and writer for Catena Media. His expertise is covering the gambling industry in Michigan with an emphasis on online casino, online sports betting and horse racing sectors. He is currently reporting on the gambling industries in Michigan and Canada.

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