Michigan Online Gambling Rules Move Forward, Paving Way For Launch

Posted on December 1, 2020 - Last Updated on December 2, 2020

We are one step closer to an online gambling launch here in Michigan.

The state legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules waived a maximum of 15 session days on Tuesday, moving the internet sports betting and internet gaming rules along to the next step.

In Lansing, the Michigan Gaming Control Board will next send the rules to the Office of the Great Seal.

There is likely to be at least a couple weeks of licensing and procedure before an actual launch of online gambling for consumers. We’ll see how the holidays and the new year also play a part in a potential launch date.

Also at issue is whether operators themselves would prefer to squeeze in a 2020 launch or wait until the new year.

The MGCB will convene next week for its regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Snowy Michigan weather nearly derailed plans to move

Even on the day things moved along in Lansing, there were delays.

The 8 a.m. JCAR meeting began with six of 10 members unable to establish a quorum. Sen. Pete Lucido indicated members had car trouble on the snowy Michigan morning and the meeting was called at ease.

About 30 minutes later, the meeting resumed with Rep. LaTanya Garrett making it seven members present.

Seven members yoted in favor of waiving the session days after Rep. Matt Maddock made motions to move the rules. One state senator, Ed McBroom, voted against both motions.

The ‘yea’ votes were from Sens. Adam Hollier, Jeff Irwin, Lucido and Lana Theis, along with Reps. Garrett, Steven Johnson and Maddock.

Representatives Kyra Harris Bolden and Douglas Wozniak were absent.

Michigan online gambling launch date still unknown

The licensing process can now continue as the MGCB is vetting operators for online sports betting, online casino, and online poker. Many of the state’s 15 casino operators have formed partnerships with operators who are preparing to launch in Michigan.

Before launch, at least one operator partnered with a Michigan tribal casino and another with one of Detroit’s commercial casinos must be licensed and ready.

The agency has sent a pre-launch checklist to operators and platform providers, covering:

  • Licensing
  • Internal Control Standards
  • Platform and game review approval
  • Branding
  • Occupational Licensing

All items on the checklist must be completed before launch.

“If everything moves forward smoothly, we hope online gaming and sports betting can begin by the end of the year,” MGCB spokesperson Mary Kay Bean wrote in an email to PlayMichigan.

The actions by JCAR seem to give those hopes a fighting chance.

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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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