Michigan Could Launch Mobile Sports Betting Earlier Than Planned

michigan governor whitmer
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer is listening to arguments from lawmakers that the state should legalize mobile sports betting sooner than planned.

Michigan is in crisis mode due to the coronavirus and all of the hardships the virus brings with it. Michigan, along with most other states, is in dire need of money raised to fund much-needed programs, which are all facing fierce cutbacks or being eliminated.

Michigan has received some money from the government CARE program that is helping small businesses, states, and individuals during this health crisis. Michigan lawmakers said this week that whatever money they have received is not making a dent in the needs of the state.

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Michigan officially launched in-person sports betting on March 11, the same day the NBA suspended all games until further notice. That abrupt action was caused after news broke that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.

The initial plan was for online sports betting to be launched in the Great Lakes State in 2021. Michigan casinos brought in $105,548 in revenues for March. All casinos in the state closed down only a week after they launched sports betting.

Whitmer Has Stepped Up Security In Response To Threats

The Democratic Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, has imposed some of the most restrictive orders in the country, including citizens not being allowed to buy seeds for gardening or paint for painting projects. Armed protesters have been showing up every day at the state capital building in Lansing.

Whitmer appeared on ‘The View’ on ABC this week to talk about the state’s restrictions and the number of threats she has personally received from angry citizens. A Detroit man, Robert Sinclair Tesh, 32, was arrested on Friday for threatening to kill Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Whitmer said in addition to the state Secret Service that protects her and her family, she has had to hire private security too. Some Michigan business professionals claim that Whitmer’s “outrageous restrictions” are what is causing the economic disaster, which is far worse than most other states.

michigan capitol protests
Because of protests and death threats, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer has had to have extra security for her and her family.

According to the gaming rules in the state, sports betting online would have to wait a year after in-person sports betting launched, which would have put the online sports betting launch date as early 2021.

Gaming Officials Say Online Sports Betting Must Launch Early

Many Michigan lawmakers and gaming officials have been meeting with Governor Whitmer in May to discuss a way to launch online sports betting earlier than 2021. Certain emergency measures are in place in Michigan that can be utilized to push up the launch date for online sports betting.

As recently as April 15, Whitmer said she did not want to employ emergency avenues to launch sports betting early. However, lawmakers who have been having meetings with her this month said she is hearing arguments about it.

One of the most vocal supporters of sports betting is State Representative Brandt Iden, a Republican from Lansing, who said Whitmer will have no options. Iden said whether the Governor wants to use emergency measures or not, she will have no choice.

“Due to the pandemic and the economic losses, the gaming money is way below what it needs to be to fund certain programs. She will have to speed up the launch date of online sports betting or programs will close,” Iden said.

Iden, who has been taking part in the meetings with the Governor this week, said she is now open to mobile sports betting launching in early fall as early as Labor Day.

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