Michigan Online Sports Betting Passes Committee

In Michigan, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, consisting of five state senators and five state representatives, recently received a final draft of online sports betting rules from the Michigan Gaming Control Board. If the committee takes no action on the rules, they can move to the secretary of state’s office and become law, leading to the reality of online sports betting in late 2020 or early 2021—more than one year after online sports betting was legalized.

Multiple brick-and-mortar sportsbooks already have opened in Michigan and most of them are expected to apply for online betting licenses. The final licensing process can take several weeks.

Michigan lawmakers passed online poker and gaming legislation in December 2018, but it was vetoed by Republican Governor Rick just before his term ended. After Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer took office in January 2019, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Republican-controlled legislature wrote a larger package of bills approving not just online casino gambling and poker but also sports betting and daily fantasy sports. Whitmer signed the package into law in December 2019. The gaming bills did not automatically take effect, due to Michigan’s complex and lengthy rule-making process.

Before an online sports bet can even be placed, at least one of the three commercial Detroit casinos and at least one of the state’s 23 Native American casinos must be licensed by the MGCB. This means at least two sportsbooks will be ready by the initial go-live date, with the rest following soon afterward.

The retail sportsbooks at MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown Casino and MotorCity Casino were not subject to the same rule-making process as online betting. Observers expect BetMGM at MGM Grand, Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown and FanDuel at MotorCity to be among the first sportsbooks to go live online. Tribal casinos have partnered with sportsbooks including William Hill, FOX Bet and PointsBet. DraftKings also is expected to partner with a tribal casino.

Under the 2019 bill, 26 total online sportsbooks are allowed–one to each of the commercial and tribal casinos. Eligible bettors age 21 and over will be able to wager online from anywhere within state lines. In-person registration at a brick-and-mortar location will not be required.

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