Live Updates — Michigan Online Casinos & Sports Betting 2021

Posted By Matt Schoch on October 28, 2020 - Last Updated on April 29, 2021

Michigan online gambling has officially launched!

Launch went down on Friday, Jan. 22 with 10 apps going live for sports betting and eight for online casinos. Online poker also launched a week later on Friday, Jan. 29 as PokerStars went live.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation into law in December 2019, making online casinos, online poker, and online sports betting legal in the Great Lakes State.

They launched 13 months later.

More operators will come in time. News happens fast, so as information develops via Twitter or other outlets, we will be updating this article.

The updates are time-stamped based on when we find them, not when they were first posted. Here is what we know right now about the launch of legal online gambling in Michigan. Ten sports betting operators launched Jan. 22 with Fox Bet joining on Jan. 29.

Eight online casinos launched on opening day, Stars Casino launched on Jan. 29, and Barstool Casino was live Feb. 15.

Four Winds Casinos launched online sports betting and online casinos on Feb. 15. The self-branded platforms were the first of three such products expected in Michigan.

BetMGM launched its online poker product on March 22 as the second poker operator.

Michigan online casinos and sports betting updates

April 29 Updates

4 p.m. — Does anybody know Michigan’s NFL Draft rules? … Maybe not.

The NFL Draft begins Thursday night. But bets could not be placed in Michigan after Wednesday night. 

At least those were the rules. A couple of operators still had markets up on Thursday morning, which led us to wonder: Are the Michigan Gaming Control Board’s draft guidelines too complicated?

April 28 Updates

5 p.m. — A sports potpourri

Baseball. Horse Racing. Soccer. (Really) Amateur boxing. You want catch-all news? You’ve got catch-all news.

April 27 Updates

11 a.m. — Poker springing into action

One spring Michigan online poker series ended the start of this week: BetMGM Poker saw modestly positive returns from its initial online series.

Another big series was freshly announced, with the schedule for PokerStars MI’s MISCOOP (Michigan Spring Championship of Online Poker) set for May 8-24.

April 23 Updates

Noon — Change atop the Michigan Gaming Control Board

With online sports betting and internet gaming off the ground in Michigan, the state’s gambling regulator is getting a new leader.

Richard Kalm announced Friday morning that he’s stepping down as executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board after more than 13 years in the post. Soon after, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced her appointment to fill the position, as deputy director Henry Williams will be tabbed.

Kalm will stay in his role until Williams, who heads the regulator’s casino operations division, is approved by the Senate.

April 21 Updates

3 p.m. — Numbers, numbers, numbers!

The March totals for online sports betting and internet gaming arrived earlier this week.

And although the sports handle was a relatively modest $359.5 million, considering the March Madness hubbub, the casino and poker sector continued to flex their big muscles in the early going.

Nearly $100 million in monthly revenue after just launching in late January? That’s a figure that is making the rest of the country take notice.

And the sports wagering community will applaud next month when the state crosses $1 billion in total handle.

April 16 Updates

5 p.m. — Starting the weekend off with … a bummer

We unfortunately send you into the weekend with a little frustration on two completely different fronts.

First, there’s Bally Sports Detroit, which continues to be a headache for fan access and hasn’t exactly won the viewers it does have over with its broadcast presentation.

Matt Schoch offered a review of the new production and solicited your feedback and responses, too.

Oh, and then there were the Detroit Lions. Sigh, the Lions. NFL win total markets came out across many sportsbooks and … well, just go read the damage for yourself. It’s not pretty.

April 12 Updates

1 p.m. — Academy Awards betting approved by MGCB

Sports betting?

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has approved betting on the 93rd Academy Awards, which are later this month.

Check out the odds from DraftKings and PointsBet and which markets are already being offered.

Michigan is the third state to join in regulating betting, joining New Jersey and Indiana.

April 6 Updates

3 p.m. — Easter weekend online poker events draw more than 5,000 entries

Events at BetMGM Poker and PokerStars combined for more than 5,000 entries over the Easter weekend.

We’ve got the details on the events and what’s next for both operators.

April 1 Updates

4 p.m. — Michigan gambling has its first oddity: Drone Racing League betting

It’s not just football, basketball, baseball and other such staples anymore.

Michigan now has Drone Racing League bets available. We’ve got the details on the sport and league, which should resume in the fall.

March 31 Updates

1 p.m. — Fox Sports Detroit rebrands as Bally Sports Detroit

Fox Sports Detroit, which carries Detroit Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers games, is rebranding today as Bally Sports Detroit.

Bally’s is acquiring the naming rights to several regional sports networks owned by Sinclair to try and boost their gambling profile, angling toward a push for a more online presence. There is no immediate path for them to offer online gambling products in Michigan.

Read up on the change here.

March 29 Updates

5 p.m. — PlayTech will house live casino studios in Southfield

PlayTech announced the location of its live casino studios for Michigan. The facility will be in Southfield, a suburb of Detroit.

PlayTech will house games for Parx Casino there and maybe other operators in time.

Evolution Gaming has also announced partnership with a handful of MI operators.

March 22 Updates

11 a.m. — BetMGM Poker launches as second MI operator

BetMGM Poker launched today, becoming the second online poker operator in Michigan, joining PokerStars.

We’ve got the details on the move here.

Here’s what you need to know to play online poker at BetMGM.

March 9 Updates

9 a.m. — Online gambling dispute form now available on MGCB website

Michigan online gambling players now have a formal mechanism to dispute complaints with internet sports betting and internet gaming platforms.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has made the Patron Dispute Form available. However, language on the web page instructs players to go through the proper channels with the operators first before resorting to a formal MGCB complaint. Each operator has complaint filing instructions and they must investigate and provide you with a written response within 10 calendar days.

“If the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction and you have taken all reasonable means to resolve it with the operator or platform provider, you may submit a complaint to us using this form,” the MGCB website says.

This mechanism is only for online gambling disputes and all supporting documentation should be included in the complaint.

March 1 Updates

1 p.m. — Craps not yet available at Michigan online casinos

Online casino players in Michigan cannot yet play online craps, though it is approved by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Check out our report on the game.

Feb. 26 Updates

3 p.m. — Application available for placement in internet gaming database

The Michigan Gaming Control Board now has an application available on its website to join a Responsible Gambling Database, a self-exclusion tool for internet sports betting and internet gaming.

Residents can apply before or after opening accounts. Self-exclusion periods can last one year or five years. Applicants can also choose to exclude from either internet sports betting or internet gaming.

The list is separate from the Disassociated Persons List, which applies to exclusion from the three Detroit casinos.

Applicants will not be placed on this list until processing is completed by Richard Kalm, the executive director of the MGCB. The registration process can take up to 45 days. Applicants will be notified by email (if provided) or U.S. mail when they have been added to the list.

Feb. 19 Updates

1 p.m. — Michigan January numbers part of a big week of revenue reports

Michigan was one of a few key online gambling states to drop its revenue report this week.

On Wednesday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board announced that the state raised $42.7 million in revenue after online gambling launch over the final 10 days of January.

We also took a look at three takeaways from online sports betting and have three more coming today about online casinos too.

Also this week, Pennsylvania released its record January handle and New Jersey released its Atlantic City retail casinos numbers as well.

Feb. 16 Updates

4:30 p.m. — Parx Casino will launch on Playtech platform

While the industry waits for the final three online gambling brands to launch in Michigan, some news broke this week about one of them.

Parx Casino, partnered with the Gun Lake Tribe of West Michigan, will launch products on the Playtech platform, the companies announced this week.

Playtech is a United Kingdom gambling software developer that will also enter agreements with Greenwood Racing into online markets for Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Greenwood owns Parx, a Pennsylvania company that manages the sports betting and online operations for Gun Lake.

PlayMichigan reached out to Gun Lake Casino in Wayland for updates on a launch timeline but we have not yet heard back.

There are no updates available about FireKeepers Casino, as an official said late last month the brands were a few weeks from launching. Soaring Eagle, which has not yet announced an online gambling partner and previously announced a mid-January retail sports betting opening that did not happen, has not responded for comment since the state’s Jan. 22 launch.

Other products expected soon are a PointsBet online casino (the company’s first), and the BetMGM poker platform, which has not confirmed its launch timetable.

Feb. 15 Updates

6:30 p.m. — Four Winds Casino now live with sports betting, online casinos

Make it a dozen operators in the state of Michigan.

Four Winds Casino launched online sports betting and online casino products on Monday afternoon in Michigan, after receiving approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board earlier in the morning.

The site is created by Pala Interactive LLC and is owned and operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. The tribe operates three casinos in southwest Michigan, including the flagship location in New Buffalo. The sports betting offerings are the same as the retail sportsbooks, which are operated by Kambi.

The online casino launched with 91 online slots, 18 table games, four versions of video poker and more.

“COVID-19 has accelerated interest in providing online access and added convenience to customers across a variety of industries and gaming is no different,” said Matthew Wesaw, tribal council chairman and CEO of the Pokagon Gaming Authority, in a statement. “The Pokagon Gaming Authority and our Casino Operations Team have been planning for the approval of online gaming and sports betting for quite some time and we are very pleased that we can now offer this new and exciting entertainment experience to our guests.”

Frank Freedman, chief operating officer of Four Winds Casinos added, “Providing online access from a mobile phone, tablet or personal computer adds an entirely new dimension to the gaming and sports betting experience.  This new platform will enable us to bring the fun and excitement from inside our Four Winds Casinos to the homes of our loyal guests and players throughout Michigan.”

The only operators that have not yet launched online gambling are Parx Casino (partnered with Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, and Soaring Eagle and FireKeepers, who plan to also self-brand their products.

10 a.m. — Four Winds Casino authorized to launch online gambling, sports betting at noon today

Another online gambling brand will be authorized to hit the Michigan market today.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced Monday morning that Four Winds Casino is authorized to launch online gaming and sports betting under its own brand, in partnership with platform provider Pala Interactive LLC.

PlayMichigan has reached out to Four Winds for details and launch plans, but the casino has been tight-lipped throughout the process. The casino launched sports betting at its three Michigan casinos last summer in partnership with Kambi.

Four Winds has three tribal casinos in southwest Michigan with its flagship location in New Buffalo. The operators, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, also operates a casino in South Bend, IN. The other two operators with self-branding plans include Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant and FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek.

Four Winds is the 12th online gambling entity to get approval for launch. When it launches, there will be 12 online sports betting brands live in Michigan and 11 online casinos.

“We welcome the addition of Four Winds Casinos and Pala Interactive to Michigan’s growing online gaming and sports wagering market,” said Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director, in a statement. “Their participation will generate revenue to support education, economic development and the Pokagon Band’s tribal community.”

Feb. 9 Updates

9:30 a.m. — January online gambling revenue report expected next week

The early indications are the launch of online gambling in Michigan was a big one.

We should find out how big soon.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is expected to release its monthly revenue report for January soon, likely next week, capturing the first 10 days of online gambling, which launched on Jan. 22.

Numbers are due to the board on Wednesday and MGCB auditors will review them, board spokesperson Mary Kay Bean said on Tuesday.

The report should detail which operators got the best jump off the starting block, though we know the race will be more of a marathon than a sprint here in Michigan.

Online poker was only live for three days in January, as PokerStars launched on Jan. 29.

Feb. 4 Updates

10:30 a.m. — More indications of a monster start to Michigan online gambling

While we won’t get official January numbers until Feb. 10, all indications are that the launch of online gambling in Michigan was a big one.

Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, gave more evidence this week.

Kalm told West Michigan television station FOX17 that GeoComply tracked 7.1 million hits of location checks in Michigan over a three-day span after the Jan. 22 launch.

That’s compared to New Jersey, which had 7.7 million hits over that same span. The Garden State is a much more established betting state, garnering nearly $1 billion in sports bets per month.

Feb. 1 Updates

11:15 a.m. — Barstool launches first online casino in Michigan

Barstool Casino launched Monday in Michigan with a wide variety of games.

In all, there are 66 slot machine titles offers and and 15 tables games. Some of the slot machine titles are straight from the Greektown Casino floor, including Triple Diamond, Treasures of Troy and Lucky Larry’s Lobster Mania 2. Divine Fortune and Gonzo’s Quest are among a handful listed as Featured Slots.

Included in the table games are four blackjack games, three for roulette, six video poker games and two for baccarat.

Barstool is the 10th online casino in the state, joining the eight from Jan. 22’s initial launch, as well as Stars Casino, which launched on Friday. Michigan is the first state with a live Barstool Casino online.

Barstool is partnered with Detroit’s Greektown, which is owned by Penn National Gaming. Barstool launched its sports betting online operation on Jan. 22.

The website and app offer a shared wallet for sports betting and casino players. The casino games are accessible through the Barstool Sportsbook app.

10 a.m. — Barstool Casino can launch at 11 a.m. today; but will they?

Barstool Casino has been cleared for launch at 11 a.m. on Monday, although we have not confirmed they will launch the products.

The brand was on the starting line for sports betting on Jan. 22 but was one of two operators at that time who didn’t launch their online casino brand alongside of it. Many of Barstool’s main talent, including founder Dave Portnoy, were in Michigan for launch weekend, creating a viral marketing campaign.

Michigan will be the first state for Barstool Casino, which will become the 10th online casino statewide. Barstool has market access through Detroit’s Greektown Casino, a property of Penn National Gaming.

The MGCB cleared Barstool for launch on Friday along with Fox Bet sports betting, Stars Casino and PokerStars online poker platform, which all launched Friday.

Jan. 29 Updates

3:30 p.m. — Online poker launching as PokerStars, Fox Bet approved; Barstool Casino approved for launch

Michigan PokerStars has launched, as online poker has made its debut in Michigan.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board approved the launch on Friday, and after some testing, games have gone live. Under 50 seats were filled at PokerStars in Michigan at 3:30 p.m., though more should stream in. Find more details about the launch here. We’ve also got a handy guide about the basics.

If you’re having trouble with PokerStars, try clearing your browser’s cache.

The Fox Bet brand also launched for sports betting as part of the partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, operators of two Odawa Casinos in northwest Michigan. PokerStars Casino is also live.

Barstool Casino also has been approved for launch at 11 a.m. on Monday, according to the MGCB.

Jan. 28 Updates

11:45 a.m. — Inspired Gaming added to MGCB provisional licenses

Supplier Inspired Gaming (USA), Inc., was recently approved for a provisional sports betting license by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

The company announced a contract this week with Entain to provide virtual sports products to the company, which works with Michigan operator BetMGM. PlayMichigan has not confirmed the nature of the work Inspired Gaming will be doing in Michigan, but we have reached out to them.

Jan. 27 Updates

2:30 p.m. — What about those other online gambling operators?

Ten online gambling operators launched on Friday, but five did not.

Any word on them? Here’s the latest:

  • FireKeepers Casino: Jim Wise, who oversees the sportsbook and online operations for the Battle Creek casino, tells PlayMichigan that they’re still a few weeks away. The online sports betting and casino products will be self-branded with Scientific Games working on the backend.
  • Four Winds Casino: The New Buffalo operation is pretty tight-lipped about their plans, so we don’t know much about their timeline. Four Winds also plans to self-brand products with Kambi on the backend.
  • Fox Bet: We’re waiting to hear back from Fox Bet about their launch timeline, but they just might be the odds-on favorite to be next.
  • Parx Casino: The Pennsylvania operation is partnered with Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, but didn’t offer details when asked this week. “Guests are encouraged to follow Gun Lake Casino’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels for the latest announcements on start dates,” according to a statement from Jose Flores, Gun Lake vice president and general manager.
  • Soaring Eagle Casino: The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe has not yet been licensed as an operator for online gambling, so Soaring Eagle seems like the furthest away from launching. However, Chief Operating Officer David Charles told mid-Michigan’s NBC25 that products would launch in March.

Jan. 26 Updates

10:30 a.m. — Here’s what still needs to launch in Michigan online gambling

Though online gambling launched statewide on Friday, there’s still much to come that we’re keeping an eye on here at PlayMichigan. Here are some of the main topics that we’re following up on and the latest updates.

More to come:

  • Live dealer games: Live dealer games have not yet been approved for online casinos, according to Mary Kay Bean of the Michigan Gaming Control Board on Monday. Several operators, including BetMGM, FanDuel, PointsBet, William Hill and WynnBET, contracted with Evolution Gaming for the gaming option. Evolution has applied for a supplier license but has not yet been approved by the MGCB.
  • More operators: While 10 operators launched on Friday, only eight went live with online casinos. Neither Barstool nor PointsBet has offered a timeline for the launch of their online casinos. Five other operators (FireKeepers Casino, Four Winds Casino, Fox Bet Casino, Parx Casino and Soaring Eagle Casino) are still waiting on launch approval. According to the MGCB, all but the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (operators of Soaring Eagle) have been approved for their provisional sports betting and internet gaming operating licenses.
  • Online poker: Bean confirmed the launch of online poker is all clear from the regulator side, and launching it is up to the operators. One of the main brands expected here, BetMGM Poker Michigan, has been licensed and has mobile sports betting and online casinos launched but has not announced its poker plans. Another, PokerStars through Fox Bet, has not yet been approved for online gambling. Interstate poker is still months away and will need the MGCB to enter into a compact for Michigan players to play with players around the country.

Jan. 25 Updates

1:30 p.m. — GeoComply: Michigan set sports-betting records for opening weekend

Michigan was the busiest state during the busiest sports betting weekend in the legalized US market’s history, according to a geolocation compliance firm that services all of the United States legal markets.

GeoComply did not release specific numbers for Michigan, but the company said that between Michigan and Virginia, which launched sports betting on Thursday, 7.5 million transactions between 400,000 accounts were made over the weekend. The states combined for 25% of the overall national market during which was a record-setting weekend of 30 million transactions, which was up 260% from last year’s NFL conference championships.

Many more details and insights on how Michigan’s first weekend went can be found here.

Jan. 22 Updates

6 p.m. — Michigan online casinos jam-packed with games

The advent of online casinos is usually a slow burn with operators slowly rolling out games as they get approved. However, the eight operators have several game choices and slot titles rolling on day one.

Take BetMGM Casino, for instance: There are three roulette games, six video poker games, and 18 different table games. In all, there are a ridiculous 165 slot titles to choose from.

No wonder online casinos are expected to take in lots of revenue for the operators and state.

5:30 p.m. — All 10 operators live now as WynnBet launches

WynnBet was the last of the 10 operators who launched today to go live, but they are all now up.

The brand launched both sports betting and online casinos through a partnership with Kewadin Casinos, a chain of five casinos in the Upper Peninsula.

There will be more launches in the coming weeks, as PointsBet and Barstool are expected to launch online casinos, while platforms for both are expected from Fox Bet, Parx Casino, Soaring Eagle Casino, FireKeepers Casino and Four Winds Casino.

Plus, we’re anticipating a launch of online poker soon.

4 p.m. — FanDuel first bettor big on Jerami Grant tonight

The first bet this afternoon at 12:02 p.m. was pro-Pistons. The bettor wagered $10 on Jerami Grant to be the top scorer in Friday’s game against Houston at +135 for a total payout of $23.50.

The night’s NBA super boost is for the Pistons to score 10 or more points in the first quarter. The maximum bet is $50 and is +100.

3:15 p.m. — High traffic caused BetMGM app to falter early, fixed now

According to BetMGM, the app issues from earlier this afternoon were caused by high traffic after launch. It has now been resolved, according to spokesperson Elisa Richardson.

If you are still having issues and need to get in touch with a representative from BetMGM, contact .

2:15 p.m. — Small, big bets from William Hill; Riger tries PointsBet parlay

According to William Hill, the first official online bet in Michigan is on Rory McIlroy to win this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Championship. The $5 had odds of +300 and would pay out $20.

The bets did get bigger: A $1,000 wager was placed on the Red Wings for tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. A +115 makes it a $2,150 payout.

Over at PointsBet, 971 The Ticket radio personality Jeff Riger made the first bet.

Riger put together a Detroit three-teamer with the Pistons at -2.5, Michigan at -4 and the Red Wings at +1.5. The $100 wager at +446 would payout $546.70.

1:30 p.m. — Pistons PA announcer Mason bets on Tampa Bay for ceremonial BetRivers bet

It’s not DEEEEE-TROOOOITTTT BAAAASSSSKKKETBAAAAAAALLL, but it’ll do.

Detroit Pistons public address announcer John Mason bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Sunday in a ceremonial first bet on the BetRivers app.

Mason put $100 on the Bucs at +3.5 at Green Bay.

According to a release, Mason placed this bet because Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady went to Michigan.

1 p.m. — Users reporting issues with BetMGM app

While BetMGM has officially launched in Michigan, mobile users are reporting issues with the app. The websites are working on the platform’s desktop version.

We’ve reached out to BetMGM for details.

12:30 p.m. — Hertel bets $10 on Michigan State to win NCAAs

Sen. Curtis Hertel made the first ceremonial bet at the noon hour, placing $10 on Michigan State to win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, he told PlayMichigan.

Hertel made his bet with DraftKings.

Noon — Online gambling is live in Michigan!

The wait is over.

Online sports betting and online casino is live in the great state of Michigan. According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. made a ceremonial first wager at noon. Hertel was one of the instrumental legislators to push legislation. Brandt Iden was the main driver, though he was term-limited and is no longer serving.

Hertel’s bet was reportedly for Michigan State to win the NCAA basketball championship at 50/1.

We’ll keep a running list of operators who we have confirmed launch for here:

  • Barstool
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • Golden Nugget
  • PointsBet
  • TwinSpires
  • William Hill
  • WynnBet

As of 2:30 p.m., only WynnBet was not operational out of the 10 operators who were approved for launch on Friday.

11:30 a.m. — Penn National Gaming reports $620K in first-time deposits

Penn National Gaming is matching first-time Michigan Barstool Sportsbook deposits (as long as that money is bet this weekend) to The Barstool Fund, which will help Michigan small businesses.

They reported on Friday morning that $620,000 has already been deposited.

9:45 a.m. — Just how big will Michigan online gambling market be?

PlayMichigan is bullish on the Michigan online gambling market.

Here are some of the projections we are making for the mature Michigan market:

  • Top 5 market: We believe Michigan will be a top-five sports betting market in the United States soon after launch
  • $8 billion: Projected annual sports betting wagers in a mature Michigan market. New Jersey had more than $6 billion in wagers in 2020, its third year.
  • $50 million: Projected taxes collected annually on an estimated $500 million in gross gaming revenue.
  • $1 billion: We project that the state’s online casino operators could generate more than $1 billion in gross revenue based on current US trends.
  • Four to watch: There’s a robust market even on day one, with 10 online sports betting brands launching and eight online casinos. More will follow, in addition to poker. For online sports betting, the four leaders we expect to compete for the top spots include industry leaders DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as Barstool and BetMGM, two operators with vast potential here.

9 a.m. — LSR Podcast a perfect launch primer, addition to pod lineup

Happy launch day!

We finally made it.

To prepare for today’s noon launch, and to add to your podcast diet going forward, we present the LSR Podcast.

On this week’s episode, hosts Matt Brown, Dustin Gouker, and Adam Candee talk quite a bit about Michigan’s launch starting at about the 13-minute mark.

Here’s a sample of what the boys (“some of the brightest minds in the industry”) had to say:

Candee: “This is going to be as full-featured of a market as they have anywhere in the US.”

Brown: “This has got to be the most exciting launch for these operators in quite some time. I would say outside of the very first launch in New Jersey, this might be the most exciting launch for these guys.”

Gouker: “This is what you should do. We talk about Virginia and doing what you should not do. Michigan is doing exactly what you should do. Put people on a level playing field, and you launch everything at the same time. You have casino and sports all ready to go. Poker, unfortunately for our poker friends, it’s going to trail a little bit, but we understand it should happen pretty soon. But when I look at how you should launch online gambling in the United States, without kissing their butts too much, they’re doing it right, this is how you should do it.”

You can subscribe to the LSR podcast on Apple Podcasts and many other platforms.

Jan. 21 Updates

12:30 p.m. — Michigan AG Nessel: Read fine print before signing up

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a warning Wednesday to residents considering a foray into online gambling: Be careful.

Nessel is right, and leading up to the noon launch Friday of online sports betting and online casino products, it’s important to keep these things in mind:

  1. Read the fine print. Every bonus offer comes with terms and conditions and rules to follow. And each sportsbook has house rules.
  2. Don’t forget geolocation. You can sign up and deposit from outside the state, but in order to bet or play a casino game, you must be inside Michigan state lines. Geolocation software verifies where you are.
  3. Always gamble responsibly. Don’t bet what you can’t lose. There are many resources out there if you or someone you know is engaging in problem gambling. In Michigan, the hotline is 1-800-270-7117.

Jan. 20 Updates

5:15 p.m. — All 10 gambling apps have confirmed plans to launch Friday

It’s one thing to be told you can do something; it’s another thing to go ahead and do it.

All 10 online gambling operators who have been cleared by the Michigan Gaming Control Board for launch on Friday all plan to do so, confirming their intentions to PlayMichigan or through other ways. Launch will occur at noon on Friday.

Here is a list of the operators and the type(s) of gaming they’ve been cleared to do:

  • Barstool Sportsbook (sports only)
  • BetMGM (casino & sports)
  • BetRivers (casino & sports)
  • DraftKings (casino & sports)
  • FanDuel (casino & sports)
  • Golden Nugget (casino & sports)
  • PointsBet (sports only)
  • TwinSpires (casino & sports)
  • William Hill (casino & sports)
  • Wynn Bet (casino & sports)

11:15 a.m. — PointsBet approved for sports betting on Friday; 10 online gambling apps now

Don’t forget about PointsBet.

The Australian company was added to Friday’s fray of approved online operators for sports betting only on Wednesday, making it an even 10 for Michigan’s initial launch.

PointsBet is partnered with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians tribe in the Upper Peninsula, operators of Northern Waters Casino in Watersmeet, near the Wisconsin border.

PointsBet has big plans for Michigan, including its first online casino product, though the company has not yet been approved by the Michigan Gaming Control Board for that.

The partnership is the company’s first with a tribe, and PointsBet struck the industry’s first sports betting partnership with a Major League Baseball team last summer when it inked the Detroit Tigers. The company has since added deals with the Pistons, where it signed the state’s first sports betting brand ambassador in Richard Hamilton, and the Red Wings, adding naming rights to a bar in Little Caesars Arena.

Jan. 19 Updates

4:30 p.m. — Online poker approved, but when will it launch?

As part of Tuesday’s launch approval, online poker was also authorized in Michigan. But when you can play, and when you can play across state lines, are still open questions.

“Operators and platform providers will decide which games they will present at launch,” MGCB spokesperson Mary Kay Bean wrote to PlayMichigan in an email.

No operator has yet announced plans to launch online poker this Friday or otherwise.

Of the two main expected poker operators, BetMGM has been approved for its application. PokerStars Michigan, which is tied with Fox Bet and The Stars Group, has not yet been approved.

By law, Michigan can now enter into compacts with other states for poker play across state lines, thanks to the governor’s approval of a bill from last year. However, executive director Richard Kalm said he expects it to be later this year that the MGCB approves any compacts that would allow for interstate play.

2:30 p.m. — DraftKings, FanDuel, and others confirm Friday launch plans

With the news that nine online gambling apps got the OK to launch on Jan. 22, the heavy-hitters were quick to announce their plans. DraftKings and FanDuel announced via Twitter their intent to launch on Friday.

Barstool Sportsbook’s parent company Penn National Gaming sent out a press release. Barstool plans to start taking sports bets on Friday, with an online casino launch “shortly thereafter.”

William Hill and BetRivers confirmed to PlayMichigan that they also intend to launch on Friday.

12:45 p.m. — 9 0nline gambling apps get the OK to launch; online bets begin Jan. 22

Michigan online gambling is a go! The MGCB announced via a press release on Tuesday that the following apps are approved for launch on Jan. 22 at noon:

The days between authorization and launch will give the operators and platform providers additional time for testing and adjustments before the gaming goes live, Kalm said in the press release.

Online gambling sites such as PointsBet, Parx and Fox Bet are not on the list, though that could change quickly. The MGCB expects to authorize more operators and platforms in the next few days and weeks. The apps that are expected to be self-branded by FireKeepers, Four Winds and Soaring Eagle casinos were also not yet approved.

“We want the public to have confidence when they place wagers, and our agency has required the providers to prove they meet Michigan’s standards, which are designed to protect the participants,” said MGCB director Richard Kalm.

Read more about the announcement here.

Jan. 18 Updates

12:30 p.m. — Word expected Tuesday about online gambling launch

Signs are pointing toward Tuesday for word about the upcoming launch of online sports betting and casinos in Michigan.

Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, indicated last week he expected news about launch to come by Jan. 19, which is Tuesday. Media outlets such as The Detroit News (paywall) have reported that word is expected on Tuesday as well.

After the announcement, there is a lag expected of a few days to about a week before bets can be placed. The burning question for sports fans will be if bets will be allowed by Sunday’s NFL conference championship games.

That’s an answer that could be coming on Tuesday.

Jan. 15 Updates

10:30 a.m. — Three more provisional licenses granted by MGCB

As we await the big news, there is a bit of Michigan Gaming Control Board business to pass along.

The board approved SB Tech, Neogames Solutions LLC and Swish Analytics Michigan Inc. for provisional licenses for sports betting and online gaming, adding to a list of licensees that also includes (in addition to the 15 online gaming platforms):

  • AGS LLC
  • Ainsworth Game Technology Limited
  • AlchemyBet Limited
  • Amelco UK Limited
  • Banach Technology Limited
  • BetMichigan LLC
  • Boom Shakalaka, Inc.
  • Continent 8 LLC
  • Don Best Sports Corporation
  • Everi Interactive LLC
  • GeoComply Solutions, Inc.
  • High 5 Games
  • IGT
  • Incredible Technologies, Inc.
  • Konami Gaming Inc.
  • NetEnt Americas LLC
  • NYX Digital Gaming (USA), LLC
  • Pala Interactive, LLC
  • PT Services (Delaware) LLC
  • Spin Games LLC
  • Sportradar Solutions LLC
  • SportsContentCo, LLC
  • White Hat Gaming Inc.

Jan. 13 Updates

1 p.m. — MGCB: No announcement yet; ‘about a week’ from announcement to launch

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has not yet made the announcement of approved operators for the initial online gambling launch. Further, an update provided Wednesday to PlayMichigan indicates a launch the week of Jan. 25 is also still a possibility.

In an email Wednesday afternoon, board spokesperson Mary Kay Bean wrote:

“By Jan. 19, the Michigan Gaming Control Board expects to authorize the launch of internet gaming and internet sports betting in Michigan. The agency will authorize some applicants within the next several days while we continue to work with others until we can authorize them for launch.

“The MGCB will authorize a first wave of applicants whose complete submissions have been reviewed and confirmed. Other applicants may have completed their submissions recently, but time has been insufficient to review and ensure completeness. The agency will review the more recently completed submissions and let applicants know if anything is incomplete or missing. Once that is finished, the MGCB will authorize them after the first authorization.”

Bean further noted that some apps will be authorized for both forms of gaming (online casinos and sports) while others will be authorized for one form only. However, she said that the lag between authorization and launch will “give the platform providers additional time for testing and adjustments before the gaming goes live.”

For sports betting context, Super Bowl is Feb. 7 in Tampa, Fla. The first set of apps will likely be available before the big game.

Jan. 12 Updates

10 a.m. — MGCB executive director: Online gambling launch in ‘a few days’

Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said during Tuesday’s regular meeting that the launch of online betting in Michigan is coming “in a few days.”

Kalm said an announcement could come this afternoon or “any day up until the 19th” about approved operators. After the announcement, because of testing, there should be about a four- or five-day period between the announcement and platforms accepting wagers.

“Our authorization will give them the OK to go,” Kalm said. “But it’ll be up to the individual operator and platform provider when they are actually able to accept wagers.”

The executive director said several operators will launch online gaming and online sports betting simultaneously. As soon as an online platform partnered with one of the state’s tribes and also one of Detroit’s commercial casinos are ready, the board will approve the launch.

“I’m cautiously optimistic we’re going to have something this week or the very first part of next week to relay to the public and to you guys,” Kalm said.

“I wish I could give an exact date and time. But each day that changes. And so we’re gathering information daily. So we’re very, very close. That’s the best answer I can give right now regarding that.”

Kalm said online poker platforms will be able to launch soon, too, though compacts for interstate poker play will still be a while, perhaps the end of 2021.

“I don’t expect that to be launched any time soon,” Kalm said.

“Though that has become law, we have a lot of work to do on that,” he added. “We have to enter into interstate compacts with other states that want to be involved with us. We’ve already had some discussions with the state of New Jersey.”

The board also passed two resolutions on Tuesday, giving the MGCB and executive director authority to oversee the Lawful Internet Gaming Act and Lawful Sports Betting Act.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the laws to allow for online gambling in December 2019 and residents have been waiting for the launch since then.

“I know it seems slow to the public: ‘What’s going on with this? It’s been a year,'” Kalm said. “But from our perspective, from a regulatory perspective, we just cannot launch any new types of gaming until we have rules in place to ensure the integrity of that gaming and that we’re comfortable with geolocation; with knowing who the customer is and identifying the customer; with ensuring that all of these platforms follow their internal controls, and that we do that via rules; and that all those platforms are tested by independent test labs; and those labs report to us; and we vet that information to make sure.

“If this gaming does not have integrity, and people can’t depend on it, and there isn’t certain safeguards in place, the public will lose confidence and it will fail. From the public’s perspective, it seems like a long time. From a gaming perspective, we have not stopped to take a breath.”

Jan. 11 Updates

9:30 a.m. — MGCB meeting Tuesday morning, will discuss online gambling

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is hosting a regular meeting on Tuesday morning, but its proximity to the expected online gambling launch could be significant.

There are two resolutions for the board to consider on its agenda, both delegating authority to Executive Director Richard Kalm and the board.

Resolution No. 2021-01 is for “Delegating Authority to the Executive Director and Board Staff Pursuant to the Lawful Internet Gaming Act” and resolution No. 2021-02 is for “Delegating Authority to the Executive Director and Board Staff Pursuant to the Lawful Sports Betting Act.” Bean said the resolutions will be available after the meeting.

Board spokesperson Mary Kay Bean also said online gambling could be discussed in Kalm’s executive director report and in public comments at the end of the meeting.

The virtual public meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. You can access it here via Microsoft Teams.

Jan. 8 Updates

10:30 a.m. — MGCB: Update coming ‘soon’; authorization announcement will be prior to launch

The licensing process continues prior to the launch of Michigan online gambling, a regulator spokesperson said on Friday morning, though no launch date has been announced.

Mary Kay Bean of the Michigan Gaming Control Board said an announcement of companies authorized for launch will come prior to the launch date and an online gaming update will be shared soon.

She said the board staff is giving “special focus on ensuring those most ready for launch submit everything needed to authorize it.” Bean said she does not expect any launch developments before the board’s regular meeting on Tuesday.

At Tuesday’s virtual public meeting, the board will consider two resolutions related to online gambling, according to the meeting’s agenda.

Resolution No. 2021-01 is for “Delegating Authority to the Executive Director and Board Staff Pursuant to the Lawful Internet Gaming Act” and resolution No. 2021-02 is for “Delegating Authority to the Executive Director and Board Staff Pursuant to the Lawful Sports Betting Act.” Bean said the resolutions will be available after the meeting.

9:30 a.m. — Detroit’s Jerome Bettis will be brand ambassador for BetRivers

Another legendary athlete with Michigan ties is in the sports betting game.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, who played his final NFL game in winning Super Bowl XL in his hometown of Detroit, will serve as a sports betting brand ambassador for BetRivers.

Bettis, who was on hand at MGM Grand Detroit in March for the opening of Michigan sports betting last year, BetRivers is one of the sports betting and online platforms coming to Michigan through a deal with Little River Casino in Manistee.

BetRivers has a $50 pre-launch signup live in Michigan.

Jerome Bettis has reach in PA, MI and IN, where he played at Notre Dame, all three states are live sports betting markets. The BetRivers deal makes Bettis exclusive with the brand for promotions and appearances with the announcement covering social media, traditional media and digital presences.

PlayPennsylvania.com has the full story on “The Bus.”

Earlier this week, Detroit Pistons legend Richard Hamilton was the first Michigan athlete to become a sports betting ambassador, signing with PointsBet.

Jan. 5 Updates

4 p.m. — Interstate online poker bill gets governor’s stamp of approval

On Dec. 29, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the multistate online poker bill (S 991) into law. The law gives the MGCB the option to join a compact with other states to pool players for online poker. The law, however, does not take effect for 90 days and any such deal will take months to hammer out.

The Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement includes New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada. The addition of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, which also has online poker, would be a huge boost to the US online poker market.

While interstate online poker may not happen in 2021, Michigan online poker’s arrival is still imminent. The MGCB noted before the new year that an online poker launch is dependent on several factors. Most estimates put internet poker’s arrival behind online casinos and sportsbook apps, though.

You can read more about the interstate poker law here.

Noon — MGCB provides PlayMichigan with launch updates

Initial operators should be known soon, and online sports betting launch is still on track for this month. However, there could be a delay for online casino, the Michigan Gaming Control Board briefed PlayMichigan today.

Mary Kay Bean, a spokesperson for the MGCB, provided this post-holidays update as the ball continues to move forward toward Michigan’s online gambling launch.

“In mid-January, the Michigan Gaming Control Board expects to announce the first group of operators eligible to accept wagers. We expect they will start accepting wagers later in the month. By law, that first group must include one tribal operator and one commercial operator.

“The timing and way the MGCB authorizes launch depends on how quickly the applicants meet regulatory requirements and submit all required information.

“We should know soon whether we can authorize the launch of online gaming at the same time as sports wagering, or whether there may be a delay for online gaming.”

Jan. 4 Updates

6:15 p.m. — Hertel tweets online gambling will launch by ‘end of the month’

Sen. Curtis Hertel has been one of the state’s leading champions of expanded gambling in Michigan, a drive culminating this month with the launch of online gambling.

However, a tweet from the East Lansing senator late Sunday night indicated a possible delay from the current “mid-January” timeline for launch.

On Monday, however, Hertel tweeted another response in a separate thread on the social media platform that he does “believe online sports bets will go live before the end of the month.”

Hertel was being pressed on the platform about the delays but said the present problems are not with the legislators in Lansing.

 

10 a.m. — Three more companies provisionally licensed by MGCB

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has provisionally licensed three more companies in preparation for this month’s online gambling launch.

Amelco UK Limited, Don Best Sports Corporation and Sportradar Solutions LLC were granted licenses as of Monday morning.

Amelco of London and Don Best of Las Vegas were granted sports betting licenses, while Sportradar was licensed in sports betting and internet gaming.

Amelco has a partnership with The Stars Group and helps operate the Fox Bet sports betting platform in Pennsylvania.

Dec. 28 Updates

1 p.m. — Tennessee sets high bar with new launch handle record

Sports bettors in Tennessee wagered more than $131 million on sports bets after its November launch, setting a new first-month record.

That’s a high bar to clear for Michigan, which should launch in mid-January. Tennessee launched on Nov. 1, so the state had the entire month (and a full NFL slate) to wager on.

The previous record for a new state’s launch was Indiana, which had $35.2 million of sports betting handle when it debuted in Sept. 2019.

In other news, the Michigan Gaming Control Board provisionally licensed AlchemyBet Limited, a London-based supplier, for internet gaming.

Dec. 22 Updates

12:30 p.m. — Linked with Four Winds, Pala Interactive licensed by MGCB

The Michigan Gaming Control Board issued licenses to Pala Interactive this week, likely helping Four Winds Casinos launch its online gambling products.

Headquartered in Toronto, Pala is a business-to-business platform that was licensed for sports betting and internet gaming. The company lists Four Winds Casinos among the partners on its website.

Previously, Four Winds announced a partnership with Kambi to power its retail and online sportsbooks. Kambi was provisionally licensed for sports betting through the MGCB.

PlayMichigan has reached out to Four Winds and Pala for more information about the licenses and upcoming launch about Four Winds products.

Dec. 18 Updates

2 p.m. — Interstate online poker bill moves closer to reality

The Michigan Legislature moved the interstate online poker bill (SB991) forward on Dec. 17 with an 85-16 vote in the House. The passage means the bill returns to the Senate to send to the governor. Since the House did not amend the bill, no concurrence is needed.

The governor’s signature would make the concept of a multistate online poker pact more a reality, pooling players with other states that have legal online poker including New Jersey and Nevada.

Online poker in Michigan does not have a set launch date, but it will be likely after online casinos and sports betting get their day in the sun.

Dec. 16 Updates

10:15 a.m. —  Licenses still being granted by MGCB

With 15 online gambling platform providers provisionally licensed, the Michigan Gaming Control Board continues to dole out licenses.

The latest recipient is Banach Technology Limited, which received a provisional license for sports betting this week.

Banach has worked with The Stars Group in the past and has also provided products such as build-a-bet and player props for platforms. The Stars Group is coming to Michigan through a partnership with Odawa Casinos.

Dec. 10 Updates

4:15 p.m. —  Operators begin receiving provisional licenses

Here come the operators.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board licensed 15 online gambling operators provisionally for both internet gaming and sports betting.

Several more procedures need to take place before the state is ready for online gambling launch. Nothing has changed about the official projection for launch, which the MGCB now lists as “Coming in Early 2021” on its website.

MGCB spokesperson Mary Kay Bean told PlayMichigan that mid-January is the new estimate for launch.

The operators who have been approved so far include:

  • American Wagering Inc. (William Hill)
  • Betfair Interactive US LLC (FanDuel)\
  • BetMGM, LLC
  • Churchill Downs Interactive Gaming, LLC (TwinSpires)
  • Crown MI Gaming LLC (DraftKings)
  • GAN Nevada Inc.
  • Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Inc.
  • NYX Digital Gaming (USA), LLC (owned by Scientific Games)
  • Parx Interactive Inc.
  • Penn Sports Interactive, LLC
  • PointsBet Michigan LLC
  • Rush Street Interactive MI, LLC
  • Sports Information Services Limited (Kambi; licensed only for sports betting)
  • TSG Interactive US Services Limited (Fox Bet)
  • WSI US, LLC (Wynn)

Check out the full report here.

Dec. 9 Updates

6 p.m. —  New FireKeepers Casino app not tied into online gambling

FireKeepers Casino has a new app. But not that one.

The Battle Creek tribal casino rolled out a new app this week in partnership with JOINGO that allows contactless hotel integration.

Jim Wise, vice president of marketing and online, told PlayMichigan that this app will not be integrated with the upcoming online sports betting and online casino products. Those products are being developed in partnership with Scientific Games.

Like everyone else, Wise said he’s waiting for a launch date for Michigan online gambling. He said he’s not sure if FireKeepers products will be ready right at statewide launch or not.

Dec. 8 Updates

1 p.m. — Online casino customers could benefit from delay

We’re trying to find a silver lining as you wait for the debut of online gambling in Michigan. We may have found one.

It turns out, from a long-term perspective, Michigan residents could benefit with more free play incentives because of the delay until 2021 for the online casino launch in Michigan.

Here are all the details.

Dec. 4 Updates

5:15 p.m. — MGCB: 4-6 weeks until online gambling launch

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is expecting a launch of online gambling about four to six weeks from this week, likely meaning the window for a 2020 launch is very nearly closed.

That timeframe, from the time online gambling rules were filed this week, would very likely put the target date in January 2021. The internet gaming and internet sports betting rules were moved by the Michigan Legislature on Tuesday and filed by the MGCB on Wednesday.

In addition, the board’s regular meeting has been postponed from this Tuesday to Jan. 12, according to the MGCB.

“The launch date will depend on many things, including how quickly and completely applicants supply the MGCB with outstanding information,” MGCB spokesperson Mary Kay Bean said in an email to PlayMichigan. “Operators and platform providers couldn’t fulfill some MGCB requirements until the rules were filed, which happened Wednesday (Dec. 2). We estimate four to six weeks for launch (counting forward from Dec. 2) but will know more as we receive and review the required information.”

Dec. 3 Updates

4 p.m. — SportsContentCo, LLC latest Michigan gambling licensee

SportsContentCo, LLC has been granted a provisional license by the Michigan Gaming Control Board as a sports betting supplier. On its website, the Northfield, NJ, company says this:

“SportsContentCo is a specialist supplier to the licensed American sports betting industry. We are proud to be the exclusive reseller of premium sports betting content to sportsbooks in regulated US states.”

Other Michigan licensees include:

  • AGS LLC
  • Ainsworth Game Technology Limited
  • Continent 8 LLC
  • Don Best Sports Corporation
  • Everi Interactive LLC
  • GeoComply Solutions, Inc.
  • High 5 Games
  • IGT
  • Incredible Technologies, Inc.
  • Konami Gaming Inc.
  • NetEnt Americas LLC
  • Spin Games LLC
  • Sportradar Solutions LLC
  • White Hat Gaming Inc.

1 p.m. — Online poker among seven gambling bills out of House committee

The Ways and Means Committee of the state’s House of Representatives moved a few gambling bills out of committee on Wednesday for a second reading to the full House.

Senate bills 0661 and 0991, along with House bills 5862, 6456, 6462, 6463 and 6464 were moved along by the committee, which is chaired by Rep. Brandt Iden, who has pushed gaming efforts forward in Michigan during his legislative career.

The bills are:

  • SB 0661: The bill to allow historical horse racing machines at racetracks, which was sponsored by Jim Ananich, Dan Lauwers and Kevin Daley. Changes to the bill included a cap of HHR machines at racetracks to 500; a higher tax rate of 19% on adjusted gross revenues; annual license fee of $50,000; and others.
  • SB 0991: The online poker bill, sponsored by Sen. Curtis Hertel and others, allows for multistate pooling of players.
  • HB 5862 and 6456: Introduced by Reps. Eric Leutheuser and Triston Cole, the bills would allow charities to conduct a raffle through the internet. It would also move administrative oversight of charitable raffle games from the Bureau of State Lottery to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
  • HB 6462: Introduced by Iden, the bill amends the Lawful Sports Betting Act to redirect the 5% of tax revenue currently going to the Agriculture Equine Industry Development Fund to the Economic Development Corporation. The bill in is tie-bar with 0661.
  • HB 6463: Introduced by Iden, the bill would change the Lawful Internet Gaming Act to indicate that it does not apply to “internet sports betting under the Lawful Sports Betting Act” rather than “any lawful internet sports betting.”. The bill in is tie-bar with 0661.
  • HB 6464: Introduced by Iden, the bill would strike from the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act that allowing video lottery at racetracks would allow casinos to apply for authorization simulcast horse races. The bill in is tie-bar with 0661.

Dec. 2 Updates

4:15 p.m. — Derek Stevens: Circa would ‘love to get into Michigan’

Michigander Derek Stevens continues to expand his footprint in Las Vegas. The Metro Detroit native, along with his brother Greg, opened the Circa Resort & Casino Las Vegas in downtown in October.

He’d like to someday bring his gambling empire back home.

Speaking for an industry keynote that aired Wednesday at the Betting on Sports America Digital conference, Stevens said Circa is interested in getting into the Michigan sports betting market someday.

“We’d love to get into Michigan at some point,” Stevens said from the Circa sportsbook, the world’s biggest. “We haven’t been able to figure out the right deal yet, but we’d love to get into Michigan someday.”

Circa Sports is live for online sports betting in Colorado. Most of the Michigan sports betting skins are spoken for, though there are still a couple possibilities still out there, as well as licenses that could become available over the years.

11:30 a.m. — FBI now doing fingerprint background checks for MGCB

As Michigan Gaming Control Board staff worked to get online gambling launched this year in Michigan, setting up federal background checks was among the logistical challenges.

Over the summer, the FBI was not accepting fingerprints from the MGCB to conduct federal background checks, Richard Kalm told the MGCB board in August. That is now no longer the case, according to MGCB spokesperson Mary Kay Bean on Tuesday.

The Lawful Internet Gaming Act requires background checks for several parties involved that include FBI fingerprinting.

The staff has been working throughout the pandemic, encountering challenges both large and small to get the rules drafted, revised and submitted.

Their work could culminate in an online gambling launch soon, perhaps this month.

Dec. 1 Updates

12:30 p.m. — Hertel testifies as multistate poker bill passes House committee

Online poker is also being discussed Tuesday in Lansing.

Sen. Curtis Hertel testified in front of the House’s Regulatory Reform Committee in support of SB 991, which would allow Michigan online poker operators to compact with other states.

The committee voted on the bill, moving it to the Ways and Means Committee, which would then send it to the full House of Representatives. The bill previously was voted out of similar committees in the Senate and also the full body. Ways and Means was set to have a hearing on the bill on Wednesday.

Hertel said an error occurred in the wee hours during the drafting of expanded gambling bills last year. In order to prevent online slot machines competing with interstate lottery jackpots, online poker across state lines was inadvertently scrubbed.

“Online poker only really works when you have a robust system of people wanting to play,” Hertel said. “So you want to find people that are across different state lines.”

9:30 a.m. — JCAR moves online gambling rules forward

The online gambling rules moved along on Tuesday morning after the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules waived the maximum 15 session days of deliberation.

We’ve got more on what that means for Michigan’s online gambling launch here.

Nov. 30 Updates

9:30 a.m. — Lucido: Online sports betting rules will move Tuesday

The online gambling rules will move along in Lansing on Tuesday morning and there’s still has a chance for a 2020 launch, according to a report from The Associated Press.

Sen. Pete Lucido, the chairman of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, told the AP he expects the rules will sail through JCAR in Tuesday’s session.

“Everybody wants to get this thing going,” said Lucido, a Republican elected this month as Macomb County prosecutor. “This is something that’s long overdue at this point. It’s being done in other states. We’re losing opportunity costs.”

Mary Kay Bean, spokesperson for the Michigan Gaming Control Board, told AP the board is hopeful online gaming and sports betting can launch this year if the waiver request is approved.

The rules have been in front of the committee since Oct. 8. JCAR has a maximum of 15 session days to act on them, and the MGCB has requested a waiver of those days.

JCAR is made up of 10 state senators and representatives from both parties.

Once the rules move along, the MGCB will submit them to the Office of the Great Seal. The board also can continue the licensing process, stating no operators would be licensed until the rules are completed.

Before launch, at least one operator linked to a tribal casino and at least one with a commercial casino must be licensed.

Best bets for operators ready for launch include BetMGM, partnered with MGM Grand Detroit; FanDuel, partnered with MotorCity Casino; and DraftKings, partnered with the Bay Mills Indian Community. Barstool Sportsbook, partnered with Greektown Casino, has also indicated a desire to be at the starting line.

DraftKings and FanDuel already have pre-launch bonuses set, with DraftKings offering $200 in sportsbook and online casino credit for new players and FanDuel offering $100.

Nov. 26 Updates

2:30 p.m. — A good sign: JCAR scheduled to meet Tuesday

The online gambling 2020 launch still has a shot.

When the Michigan Legislature convenes on Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will meet.

The bipartisan committee, made up of five state senators and five members of the House of Representatives, is scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The internet gaming and internet sports betting rules are before JCAR. The committee can elect to waive the maximum 15 session days the rules must be before it, and move them toward implementation.

After they are sent to the Office of the Great Seal, the Michigan Gaming Control Board can continue the licensing process.

That process could take another couple weeks.

But if the rules move along on Tuesday, there’s a chance Michigan could be making sports bets by Christmas time.

Nov. 24 Updates

5 p.m. — Bowling among new sports available for betting in Michigan

The Michigan Gaming Control Board added new sports to the sports wagering catalog on Tuesday. These sports will be available to wager on when online sports betting launches. In addition, they are now approved for wagers at Detroit’s casinos, which are closed through Dec. 8.

The new sports are as follows:

  • Australian Rules Football
  • Bowling
  • Cycling
  • Lacrosse
  • NCAA baseball
  • NCAA hockey
  • NCAA lacrosse
  • NCAA softball
  • Rugby league
  • Rugby union

Several new leagues and events were also added to existing sports categories.

Those include:

  • Baseball: World Baseball Classic and Chinese Professional League
  • Basketball: WNBA, FIBA World Cup, EuroCup, EuroLeague, NBA Draft, several foreign leagues
  • CFL football
  • Several golf governing bodies, including the Champions Tour
  • Several hockey leagues including the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia
  • Professional Fighters League
  • New motor sports including Formula 1 and NTT IndyCar Series (NASCAR has already been approved)

The board had previously updated the catalog with tennis, Asian baseball and several soccer leagues and leagues in September.

Nov. 23 Updates

3 p.m. — 3 more companies licensed for online gambling

The Michigan Gaming Control Board licensed three more companies for the launch of online gambling.

AGS LLC was licensed for internet gaming, while GeoComply Solutions, Inc., and Incredible Technologies, Inc., were licensed for internet gaming and internet sports betting.

AGS and Incredible Technologies have not announced operators they will serve as suppliers for in Michigan. Incredible Technologies is the maker of Golden Tee Golf.

GeoComply will set up geolocation compliance in the state, ensuring that Michigan’s online gambling happens inside state lines.

10 a.m. — Next Michigan congressional sessions on Dec. 1

The wait continues this week for online gambling rules to move along through the Michigan Legislature.

It’s a holiday week, so don’t expect too many new developments.

The next scheduled Senate session is at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The full House of Representatives is scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. that day.

There are currently no scheduled meetings for the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which need to move along the rules with a waiver to bypass the maximum of 15 session days the rules can be before the committee. However, it’s worth noting that JCAR can technically meet without the chambers being in full session, though that’s not expected this week.

After that, the Michigan Gaming Control Board needs to complete the licensing process before launch. Launch will not happen until at least one operator linked to a tribal casino and another linked to a commercial casino are licensed.

Nov. 18 Updates

11:30 a.m. — High 5 Games newest provisional licensee

This week, High 5 Games became the 11th company to receive a provisional license from the Michigan Gaming Control Board for online gambling.

High 5 Games, an online casino content provider, recently announced a content licensing agreement with GAN. The agreement would allow Michigan players to gain access to more than 150 High 5 Games titles, including:

  • Double Da Vinci Diamonds
  • Triple Double Da Vinci Diamonds
  • Secrets of the Forest

GAN is partnered with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Wynn Interactive for Michigan access. GAN also has an agreement with BetAmerica, which is partnered with the Hannahville Indian Community.

Other Michigan licensees include:

  • Ainsworth Game Technology Limited
  • Continent 8 LLC
  • Don Best Sports Corporation
  • Everi Interactive LLC
  • IGT
  • Konami Gaming Inc.
  • NetEnt Americas LLC
  • Spin Games LLC
  • Sportradar Solutions LLC
  • White Hat Gaming Inc.

Nov. 16 Updates

10:30 a.m. — MGCB focusing on December launch for online gambling

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is focusing on December for a launch of online gambling, its spokesperson confirmed to PlayMichigan.

Mary Kay Bean said in an email that a December launch hinges on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules acting on the rules, along with timely submission of required information from operators, platform providers, suppliers and vendors.

“At this stage, launch depends primarily on the actions of others: operators, platform providers, suppliers, vendors and JCAR,” Bean wrote.

This week, the MGCB plans to send a pre-launch checklist to operators and platform providers. The checklist will cover:

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

The rules were submitted to JCAR on Oct. 6. The committee has a maximum of 15 session days to act. There is a legislative session scheduled for Wednesday, though that could be canceled.

Rep. Kyra Bolden, a Democrat on the JCAR, indicated on Twitter on Sunday that plans to move the rules forward hinge on actions from committee chair Sen. Pete Lucido, a Republican.

PlayMichigan reached out last week to Lucido, who was elected this month as Macomb County prosecutor for next year, and has not yet heard back.

Nov. 13 Updates

1:45 p.m. — Michigan House, Senate schedule Wednesday sessions

Maybe don’t quite give up completely on that late November launch for Michigan online gambling?

Sure, it’s still a pipe dream, but there is a little hope.

After cancelling its session on Thursday, the Michigan House of Representatives has scheduled a 10 a.m. full session for Wednesday in Lansing. The Michigan Senate had previously also scheduled a session for that day.

This is the last scheduled session for the Michigan Legislature in November, though more dates could be added.

This is significant because that allows the chance for the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to convene for a session to advance Michigan’s online gambling rules. The internet gaming and internet sports betting rules are with JCAR, which has a maximum of 15 session days to hold hearings, send them back to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, or otherwise act on them.

Richard Kalm, the MGCB executive director, said at Tuesday’s meeting that he expects the JCAR to waive the days.

After the rules move through, the MGCB can begin licensing online gambling operators.

No committee scheduled has yet been posted for the House. The House Regulatory Reform committee could act on an interstate poker bill that has passed the Senate. The bill would allow Michigan to enter into compacts to allow for interstate online poker play.

Nov. 12 Updates

Noon — Canceled congressional sessions likely means no November launch

The Michigan House of Representatives canceled many of Thursday’s scheduled sessions, likely ending any hopes of a November launch of online gambling.

There are no more scheduled House sessions until Dec. 1, though others can be added. The Senate is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and the House could follow suit.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules can technically still convene outside of full congressional sessions too, but that appears unlikely. JCAR moving online gambling rules forward or sending them back to the Michigan Gaming Control Board is the next domino that needs to fall for launch.

Several reporters covering Michigan politics, including Chad Livengood of Crain’s Detroit Business and Zach Gorchow of Gongwer Michigan, have reported speculation the cancellation is because of Michigan representatives quarantining after possible COVID-19 exposure.

Thursday’s cancellations included a scheduled Regulatory Reform committee meeting that was going to consider an interstate poker bill. The bill, introduced by Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., would allow Michigan to enter compacts with other states for online poker across state lines.

The bill, which passed through the Senate, is now with the House. With no imminent launch of online gambling, there is less urgency to get the bill passed as soon as possible.

Nov. 10 Updates

11 a.m. — MGCB executive director says online gambling waiting on JCAR, 2021 possible

While the Detroit Lions are at midseason, the online gambling launch in Michigan is somewhere closer to the end zone.

But when will officials get to the launch’s goal line? And will it come in time to bet on some (or any) of the home team’s NFL season?

Tuesday morning’s Michigan Gaming Control Board regular virtual meeting came and went without much clarity.

Richard Kalm, the executive director of the MGCB, said Tuesday the board is waiting on the Michigan Legislature for the next step toward online gambling launch. The rules are in front of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, awaiting approval.

“We have not heard back on whether that’s going occur or not,” Kalm said, adding most of the platform provider license cannot be issued until the rules go into effect.

Two meeting attendees asked questions for the board during the public comment period about a possible launch date.

Let’s let Kalm’s full response to these crucial questions speak for itself:

“The expected launch date for this really is completely determined by when JCAR finalizes the rules. We would be ready to go, and obviously we have to wait for the suppliers and the platform providers to be ready to go, but I think everybody is getting ready, very closely.

“We initially thought it would be the end of November, but if the rules aren’t waived to get us going by the end of November, at least allow the platform providers to go live, then we’re going to have to wait.

“Now I was just informed while this was going on … we were counting session days, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get 15 session days in if we just let this run out to the end of the year. So conceivably, it would have to roll over until the next session in January and we would start another 15-day clock.

“So hopefully there’s an appetite for a waiver and we can get this thing up and going. So that’s a very long answer because there is no definitive date until the rules are approved by the legislature.

“I think we’re making some in-roads. Some of the legislatures that were involved in passing this bill are very excited to see it get going. They’re having discussions about it. So as horse trading goes on in the legislature, we’re just optimistic that there will be a waiver and we can get going.”

The board submitted internet gaming and internet sports betting rules to the JCAR on Oct. 6. The committee needs to act on the rules within 15 session days or send them back to the MGCB.

On Oct. 26, the board officially requested JCAR waive the 15 session days and move the process along.

Though the Michigan Legislature has been in session since then, JCAR has not yet acted. Fifteen session days after Oct. 6 takes the calendar to the week of Dec. 7. However, MGCB spokesperson Mary Kay Bean told PlayMichigan that the session calendar could change.

She repeated Kalm’s belief the Legislature will ultimately waive the required 15 session days.

The legislature is in session on Tuesday and Thursday of this week. Following this week, the bodies will be off for the next two weeks.

Gaming Laboratories Inc. and a representative on behalf of GeoComply gave presentations to the MGCB on Tuesday about the independent testing lab and geofencing processes, respectively.

Nov. 9 Updates

9:30 a.m. — MGCB meeting Tuesday could provide more launch clarity

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is holding its regular meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday and there could be more clarity about the launch of online gambling then.

Nothing about online gambling is on the board’s agenda. However, executive director Richard Kalm has briefed the MGCB with updates about mobile sports betting, online casino and online poker launch during past meetings, usually in his executive director’s report.

Board spokesperson Mary Kay Bean also said last week that the board expects demonstrations on geofencing and from an independent testing lab at the meeting.

Nov. 4 Updates

5 p.m. — MGCB: ‘Late fall’ estimate still accurate until JCAR’s next move

The Michigan Gaming Control Board is waiting for the legislature for its next move before the online gambling launch becomes any more clear.

A spokesperson told PlayMichigan on Wednesday that the board’s “late fall” estimate is still the most accurate for the launch of online sports betting and online casinos — for now.

The MGCB requested the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules waive the 15 permitted session days to have the online gambling rules in front of it.

The board made the request on Oct. 26. For reference, fall officially ends when winter starts on Dec. 21.

“The rules must be final before the agency can license operators and platform providers,” Mary Kay Bean wrote in an email.

Rep. Brandt Iden, who spearheaded the legislative process, told PlayMichigan last week that no movement was expected until after Election Day.

The state legislature was back in session on Wednesday and has another session day coming Thursday. According to the JCAR website, the next session was TBA.

The MGCB has a regular meeting coming on Tuesday morning. Nothing official about online gambling is on the agenda, though Bean said companies will demonstrate geofencing and independent testing during Tuesday’s meeting.

12:45 p.m. — Evolution also signs with FanDuel, Wynn for live casino in Michigan

Evolution Gaming has added two more Michigan online casino operators to its list of partners.

FanDuel and Wynn are the latest operators to ink with the live casino supplier, joining PointsBet, BetMGM and William Hill.

Evolution’s live dealer games simulate the experience of sitting in a live casino, though you don’t have to physically be at one to play.

Evolution Gaming did submit a supplier license with the Michigan Gaming Control Board but has not yet been approved. The initial launch of online casinos in Michigan should come sometime before Christmas, perhaps around the Nov. 26 Thanksgiving holiday.

Nov. 3 Updates

4 p.m. — MGCB requests state congressional committee waive rules delay

The Michigan Gaming Control Board sent over a request last week that the state’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules speed up the rulemaking process.

The board submitted internet gaming and internet sports betting rules to the committee on Oct. 8. The bipartisan committee has up to 15 session days to act on the rules, though it could waive those days and move the process along.

Mary Kay Bean, spokesperson for the MGCB, said the request was sent in on Oct. 26. Earlier that day, MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm indicated the board would send the request soon.

The JCAR process is one of the final legislative hurdles, though the MGCB also has to license operators before launch.

1:30 p.m. — Public hearing Nov. 25 for horse racing rules

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has set a public hearing to discuss new general horse racing rules for Nov. 25.

There are several changes in the 143 pages of proposed rules, including an all new section on account wagering to deal with new advanced deposit wagering. ADW for horse racing was added to Michigan’s gambling menu in December 2019 when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed expanded gambling laws.

TVG and TwinSpires have already signed conditional temporary licenses for online wagering with Northville Downs, the state’s lone horse racing operator.

Oct. 29 Updates

11 a.m. — Two more provisional licenses issued for suppliers

Two more companies were granted provisional licenses this week by the Michigan Gaming Control Board for online gambling operations.

NetEnt Americas LLC of Hoboken, N.J., and Continent 8 LLC in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were approved.

NetEnt is a gaming provider for online casinos, while networking company Continent 8 is licensed for internet gaming and sports betting.

Other licensed companies include:

  • Ainsworth Game Technology Limited
  • Don Best Sports Corporation
  • IGT
  • Konami Gaming Inc.
  • Spin Games LLC
  • Sportradar Solutions LLC
  • White Hat Gaming Inc.

Oct. 28 Updates

4 p.m. — PointsBet expected to launch sports betting, online casino in 2021

If Michigan online gambling does indeed launch in 2020, at least one operator does not plan to be on the starting block.

PointsBet detailed in an earnings presentation this week that it expects to launch online sports betting and iGaming here in the first quarter of 2021.

PointsBet’s online casino launch in Michigan will be the company’s first for that platform.

PointsBet is partnered for access with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, operators of Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet near the Wisconsin border.

The Australian company partnered with the Detroit Tigers this summer, the first partnership with any Major League Baseball team or any team in Michigan.

CEO Sam Swanell said Michigan could launch in January anyways, putting PointsBet right at the starting line.

He said the company will be moving toward prioritizing being on the starting line of states more beginning in spring 2021.

9:45 a.m. — Michigan Gaming Control Board requests JCAR waive session days

The Michigan Gaming Control Board will request a legislative committee move the rulemaking process along this week.

Richard Kalm, executive director of the MGCB, addressed the board at Monday’s special meeting to update the process.

He said the board will request the state’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules waive the required 15 session days before taking action on the internet gaming and internet sports betting rules, which are before the committee.

No action is expected before next week’s elections, according to Brandt Iden, a Republican representative who spearheaded the legislative efforts.

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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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