Michigan Regulators Hope To Push Online Gambling Rules Over Legislative Hurdle

Posted on October 26, 2020

The Michigan Gaming Control Board will request the state Legislature make another step toward an online gambling launch.

Executive Director Richard Kalm said at Monday’s special board meeting the MGCB will officially request action to move the ball forward.

“We did approve language for a waiver request to waive the 15 session days for (the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules) in order to speed up the acceptance of those rules. That request should be going out sometime this week.”

The internet gaming and internet sports betting rules are with the JCAR in Lansing, though no action is expected before next week’s elections.

The MGCB is expected to take further action at its next meeting on Nov. 10, though it’s not yet known if licensing and legislation will be free and clear by then.

Online gambling rules in front of a bipartisan committee

The rules were submitted Oct. 8 to JCAR, a committee of 10 senators and representatives from both parties.

According to the state’s rulemaking process, JCAR members have up to 15 session days to object to the rules for whatever reason. If they do, they must introduce legislation within another 15 session days to stop or delay the rules.

However, some of the 15 session days can be waived to hasten the process. That’s what the MGCB is urging members to do, as suppliers are being licensed for launch.

No movement expected until after the election

The Michigan Legislature is not meeting until after next week’s elections. Therefore, don’t expect any movement until after then at the earliest.

Rep. Brandt Iden, who spearheaded the legislative effort for the past few years, told PlayMichigan launch may come soon after that. But he added he will know more after the legislature reconvenes.

Iden, a Republican, is term-limited and will be a lame duck after the election.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed expanded gambling laws in December. Sports betting launched in March, and the MGCB has been working toward the launch of mobile sports betting, online gaming, and online poker ever since.

First Election Day, then Michigan online gambling

After the election, the next landmark day related to Michigan online gambling launch comes the following week. The MGCB will host its next regular meeting on Nov. 10.

It should be clear then what still needs to be done before launch.

It could be very minimal or there could be pieces that still need to be in place, delaying online gambling until December or even longer.

Kalm also told board members on Monday that two companies plan to demonstrate live gaming to the board at next month’s meeting. Kalm did not specify which companies would make the presentation.

Photo by Dreamstime stock
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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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