As Michigan inches toward the launch of online casinos later this year, there will be a slow drip of licenses handed out by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
Licenses for operators are in the works, but other entities related to the business of an online gambling site are making headway. Among the first recipients is Ainsworth Game Technology Limited, one of the industry’s leading online casino slot suppliers.
The Australian company was listed on Oct. 20 as being provisionally licensed by the board as a sports betting and online casino supplier.
The name Ainsworth may not mean as much to future MI online casino players. But the fact that interim licenses are being delivered is a good sign.
MGCB starting to issue supplier licenses
Ainsworth is one of six companies listed as provisionally licensed in the Great Lakes State, where a late 2020 launch of online gambling is expected.
The others include Konami Gaming Inc., another online game supplier, and Sportradar Solutions LLC, a big name in sports data and sports betting.
In all, 47 companies have applied for supplier licenses, according to the MGCB website as of Oct. 20.
What is Ainsworth and why do they matter?
Let’s step away from Michigan for a bit, and take a look at New Jersey, a state that has had legal online gambling for going on seven years. Ainsworth is one of many game suppliers in New Jersey.
Several of those NJ game suppliers will make their way to Michigan’s servers, but Ainsworth has been in the news lately.
Last week, the company and Rush Street Interactive announced a partnership in New Jersey. There, Ainsworth will bring high-performing slot machine titles to Rush Street’s PlaySugarHouse brand.
At NJ online casinos, Ainsworth features exclusive slot titles such as Big Prize Bubblegum, Money Heat, and Winning Wolf.
The partnership is one of a handful for Ainsworth in the Garden State, including deals with Golden Nugget and BetMGM.
Those are some of the biggest brands in NJ, which pocketed more than $85 million in online casino revenue in September.
Michigan on the horizon for Ainsworth online games
In an interview with Fantini Research last week, Ainsworth CEO Lawrence Levy said the company has Michigan in its sights.
Levy said some of the same companies Ainsworth partnered with in NJ will be the same as Michigan.
That means RSI brand BetRivers, BetMGM, and Golden Nugget very likely will have Ainsworth titles.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to not just be part of that market but to grow in it and take good revenues from it,” Levy said.
Though Michigan was the only state Levy mentioned specifically, he said several states will follow.
Those companies mentioned may not be the only ones though. Levy said more partnerships will follow in November.
MI online casinos launch coming soon
The forms for online gaming supplier licenses became available in May, and MGCB executive director Richard Kalm expressed a need for companies to move quickly.
Indeed, it appears the licensing process will be the final piece needed for online gambling to launch in Michigan.
Legislatively, the Internet Gaming and Internet Sports Betting rules are in front of the Joint Committee for Administrative Rules. The MGCB submitted the rules on Oct. 8.
The committee has 15 session days to act on them, though a waiver could hasten that process.
Even so, launch could occur in November but could also drag into early 2021.
Ainsworth and other vendors and suppliers are in the same boat as operators. They all want to have a license in hand before launch.