MGCB Board Receiving Pay Only Strengthens Michigan Gambling Industry

Written By Drew Ellis on July 24, 2023 - Last Updated on July 25, 2023
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The state of Michigan is getting serious about regulating the gaming industry.

Last month, the Michigan Legislature approved the Fiscal Year 2024 budget, including $50.7 million for the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Included in that total was $63,000 to begin compensating the MGCB board members, who were serving on a volunteer basis to this point.

The move should provide a little added motivation for board members to carry out the goals of the MGCB as the Michigan online casino market continues to thrive.

Four MGCB board members to share $63,000

The MGCB features a board of four members that carry out board meetings every other month.

Those meetings are made available to the public. The board approves licensing for companies and individuals seeking certification in the state’s online and retail gambling industry. They also discuss any violations committed by commercial casinos or online operators in the state.

The allocated $63,000 will be shared amongst the four members. It is not detailed how the money will be split.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed all four board members. They are:

  • Linda Forte (board chair)
  • Joni M. Thrower Davis
  • Andrew T. Palms
  • Deidre A. Lambert-Bounds

Davis and Palms currently have terms expiring on Dec. 31, 2023. Forte and Lambert-Bounds have terms that will expire on Dec. 31, 2024.

The funding allocations for FY2024 are set to take effect on Oct. 1.

MGCB board has granted thousands of licenses

The MGCB has had to sort through many licensing requests in recent years. The Michigan gambling stats are pretty eye-opening when you look at them.

As of the start of 2023, there are 901 licensed or exempt Michigan commercial casino entities. There are also 884 licensed or registered internet gaming and internet sports betting entities.

These entities have had to receive licensing approval from the MGCB and its board members.

Casino gambling revenue was up 19.3% in 2022 when compared to 2021. That included over $1.58 billion in online casino revenue.

The 42.1% jump online casino gambling saw in 2022 from 2021 is only getting bigger thus far in 2023. Through five months of 2023 ($783.6 million), online casino revenue is up 23.3% from a year ago. Compared to the first five months of 2021, that is a 99% jump.

As the industry keeps growing, it just emphasizes the importance of the MGCB board members.

Why paying MGCB board members is a good decision

When looking at all the information the MGCB board members have to sort through, it’s easy to see why the Michigan Legislature would elect to provide pay.

The board members’ jobs have grown increasingly more important in the last five years, with the US Supreme Court striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018.

Since Michigan passed its own legalized online gambling bills in 2019, it opened a whole new world in the state. For that world to function, it needed the efforts of the MGCB board.

I’m unsure if you’ve looked through all the requirements companies need to be licensed to be part of Michigan’s gambling industry, but it is vast.

For these board members to be using volunteer time to keep everything on the level, it was a big ask.

Now, hopefully, the added funding will continue to keep the board members motivated to carry out their duties. It may even draw added interest to the positions to keep the board filled with qualified and capable members in the years to come.

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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