MGCB’s Double Down Podcast Informing Michigan Residents About Gambling Industry

Written By Paul Costanzo on June 6, 2023 - Last Updated on November 16, 2023
MGCB podcast

The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced in April that it had stepped up its communications game, launching a podcast.

Five episodes in, that podcast — named Double Down — is doing what was promised: providing residents with information about the gambling industry in Michigan.

But MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams is doing more than simply talking to the regulator’s employees about rules and regulations. It’s also not a live read of the MGCB website.

Why does the MGCB have a podcast?

As the gambling industry grows, regulators are trying to stay on top of communicating with the public. Press releases will only get you so far, and ads about responsible gambling are good, but also costly. There’s also the chance that people will tune an ad out, as we tend to do.

With the Double Down podcast, the MGCB can put out the messages it wants, unfiltered. And while residents will have to seek it out themselves, there’s a good chance they aren’t tuning it out once they get there.

“Through our podcast, Michigan citizens will learn more about the gaming industry and its impacts on the state and on its patrons,” Williams said in a release announcing the podcast. “If you enjoy gaming or are curious about how the industry works, our podcasts will provide insights from a regulator’s unique perspective. We also will help our listeners by sharing information on responsible gaming and problem gambling.”

The question is, of course, will people seek it out? As of now, it has two five-star ratings on Apple Podcasts and one review. But, as anyone who has tried to launch a podcast will tell you, listeners don’t just appear overnight.

MGCB Double Down focused mostly on responsible gaming

As one would expect, the main focus of the podcast through five episodes has been responsible gambling.

Three of those five episodes have featured podcast host Williams talking with a guest that specializes in RG. MGCB Responsible Gaming Manager Sandra Johnson was featured in Episode 1, while Alia Lucas, the Gambling Disorder Program Manager for the Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services, was in Episode 5.

Episode 2 also focused on it, but with a more personal touch, as Williams welcomed Michael Burke, the Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Problem Gambling, and a board member of the National Council on Problem Gambling. Burke also authored Never Enough: One Lawyer’s True Story of How He Gambled His Career Away.

Burke spoke at length — it’s by far the podcast’s longest episode at 52 minutes — about his own experiences, as well as myths and facts about problem gambling, and how to support a love one who is going through it.

While it’s the longest episode, it’s the most interesting, as Burke’s personal story adds a layer to the normally information-only podcast.

Each of the other two episodes focused on horse racing, but from different angles. Episode 3 featured John Carlo, co-owner of Northville Downs. Carlo talked at length about horse racing in Michigan, the history of Northville Downs and his future vision for it.

Episode 4 was a conversation with MGCB Horse Racing Section Manager Heather Gaunt, and was more informational.

Where can you find the MGCB podcast?

The Double Down podcast is available where most podcasts can be found: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeart Radio, Podcast Index and Spotify.

Episodes have been released toward the end of each of the past three months.

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Paul Costanzo

Paul Costanzo is the managing editor of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. He has covered news and sports throughout the state at various media outlets over the past 20 years. Paul works with a talented team at PlayMichigan to provide the latest news and information on Michigan’s booming sports betting, online casino and online poker industries.

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