Michigan Online Gambling Has A Set Of Rules And Regulations Now

Posted on July 23, 2020 - Last Updated on July 29, 2020

Online gambling rules are off to Lansing, another step toward implementation in Michigan.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) published draft rules for internet gaming and internet sports betting on Monday morning, moving them forward in the regulatory process.

The MGCB hopes to hold a public hearing on the rules in September, according to agency spokesperson Mary Kay Bean on Thursday.

The draft rules were sent to the Administrative Rules Division, the next step on the rulemaking timetable.

A fall launch is expected, though delays could push it back to early 2021.

Michigan is a highly anticipated online market

Michigan expanded its gambling market in December when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed laws that were years in the making.

Sports betting launched in Michigan through retail sportsbooks in March. Online sports betting, casinos and poker are expected to launch later this year, perhaps in October.

Fifteen casino operators. the state’s 12 federally recognized Native American tribes and three commercial casinos in Detroit can deploy one skin apiece for online sports betting, casino and poker.

Several agreements with suppliers and operators, subject to approval, have been announced this year for the highly anticipated market.

Last month, West Virginia became the fourth US state with online casinos. Illinois was the 11th state to launch online sportsbooks in June. Washington, DC, also has online sports betting.

In addition to Detroit’s three casinos, five Michigan tribal casinos operated by three different tribes have opened retail sportsbooks this summer.

Servers, official league data among notable sections

The draft rules were developed using provisions from other states where online gambling is already approved, MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm has said.

The rules will require servers for sports betting and online casinos to be located in Michigan, with the operator and platform providing their location to the MGCB.

A previous version of the draft rules, obtained by PlayMichigan in April, said the location “must be approved by the board.”

The draft rules submitted Monday also require American professional sports leagues to notify the board in writing “if it desires sports betting operators to use official league data to settle tier 2 sports bets.”

Tier 2 bets are in-play wagers.

The MGCB rules detail that there must be commercially reasonable terms for the use of official league data. Meanwhile, “the availability and cost of comparable, lawfully derived data from other data sources” will be considered.

According to Gambling Compliance (paywall), those official league data parameters borrow from rules in place for Illinois and Tennessee.

What’s next in the regulatory timetable?

The draft process started before the COVID-19 pandemic trashed the major sports calendar in March, closing all of Michigan’s casinos.

MGCB staff members wrote the rules and then sent them to stakeholders for an informal revision process.

The Administrative Rules Division will review the rules, and then send them to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

The MGCB will then need to draft a regulatory impact statement. A public hearing will follow a minimum of 28 days after approval of the statement.

Reports, reviews and approvals will follow before rules are certified and filed. Some of the estimated timelines can be truncated in the process.

The internet gaming draft rules are 71 pages long. Sports betting rules are 79 pages.

Matt Schoch Avatar
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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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