Licensing Process For MI Online Casinos And Sportsbooks Underway

Posted By Matt Schoch on July 1, 2020 - Last Updated on January 11, 2021

The race to launch online gambling in Michigan cleared another hurdle this week.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) announced it’s accepting license applications from the state’s commercial casinos and tribes to become internet gaming and internet sports betting operators.

In addition, the MGCB is accepting vendor registration applications from firms supporting the operators and suppliers.

“The MGCB continues to make progress toward the launch of online gaming by adding forms for operators and vendors,” said Richard Kalm, MGCB executive director. “Operators should file applications soon so we can conduct investigations and work with them on internal controls, technical standards, lab certifications, and other requirements. In addition, the operators and suppliers should encourage their vendors to complete and submit registration forms.”

When will online gambling launch in Michigan?

Kalm said the board expects to launch online gambling later this year or early 2021. MGCB deputy director David Murley told Online Poker Report recently that an October launch is possible.

“It’s more likely all participants will be prepared and qualified for launch if the MGCB receives timely applications,” Kalm said.

With NFL football still angling toward a season, despite COVID-19 concerns, it could be a lucrative launch for Michigan online sports betting apps this fall.

Several online sportsbook brands have partnered with Michigan casinos, including Barstool, BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, Fox Bet, Parx, PointsBet, and William Hill.

In addition, Golden Nugget has reportedly struck an undisclosed partnership to bring its Golden Nugget casino brand to the Great Lakes State.

Online poker will also be part of the internet gambling launch in Michigan, with PokerStars and PartyPoker among the expected entrants.

Michigan sports betting launched in March at three retail sportsbooks in Detroit. Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino are all closed because of the pandemic, though.

FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek launched the state’s first tribal casino sportsbook last week.

License application forms available on MGCB website

The forms and related information are available on the MGCB website in the Internet Gaming and Fantasy Contests section.

There are separate applications for Detroit’s three commercial casinos and Native American tribes. The commercial casino application is five pages and the tribal application is 10 pages.

In May, the board already issued and began to accept online gaming supplier forms.

There are eight supplier forms, including:

  • 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
  • Multi-Jurisdictional Personal Disclosure Form
  • Affiliate Marketer Certification

What’s next for Michigan online gambling launch?

Concurrently with the licensing process, the regulatory body is also working on the online gambling rule-making process.

Michigan has an expected timeline for the rulemaking process that estimates about 373 days.

However, there are ways to shave some days off parts of the process that could shorten it to about 250 days.

Second drafts of rules for online casinos and online sports betting were due to be sent to stakeholders last month.

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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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