Michigan Takes Steps To Legalize Online Sports Betting In 2020

michigan sports betting
Michigan had a successful open to its legal sports betting, but it was short-lived due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month the Michigan Gaming and Control Board stated due to the pandemic and other issues, they didn’t see online sports betting possible in 2020. Now comes word that the Gaming and Control Board, the agency that regulates all gambling in the state, is accepting online sports betting applications.

A source with the Gaming and Control Board stated on Monday that the reason they are now accepting these applications is pretty simple. They know sporting events will be back in full swing sooner before later.

They want to start the application process now so that when sports do come back, online sports betting will be up and running in The Great Lakes State. Michigan, like many other states, is seeking out ways to generate revenue, as most states are experiencing or will experience severe budget shortfalls.

Many states are now revisiting sports betting and looking to get it going, even states that initially had aversions to sports betting in their states. The Executive Director with the Michigan Gaming & Control board, Richard S. Kalm, discussed the state’s strategy on Monday.

Gaming Control Board Said A Vetting Process Must Be Done First

Kalm sent out an official notice to all probable licensees to let them know that the board is now accepting sports betting online applications. Kalm said there is a vetting process that all applicants must go through that involves a strict investigation.

However, the board gives out a provisional license while the applications are being processed. If an applicant is given a provisional license, they can’t operate their business until the permanent license is granted.

The laws in Michigan allow gaming operators to operate with a provisional license. Kalm said that way, “the sports betting providers will immediately start generating revenue for the state, and its nickel is needed.”

The Michigan Gaming and Control Board is allowed under current rules and laws to give provisional licenses to all gambling providers. Applicants have been advised to check with the Gaming Control Board’s website for all of the applications.

michigan governor whitmer
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer (right) has yet to give any guidelines as to when casinos can open, which is leading some to push harder for online sports betting.

The process will be handled completely online, including payments. Kalm added a caveat to the process they are now undertaking.

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He said, “We continue to make progress on rule promulgation for internet gaming and online sports betting.”

Kalm, Gaming Control Board Are Hopeful For A Early Launch

Kalm also said, “We expect to launch these forms for betting by 2021; since we are now accepting applications, we are hopeful for a 2020 launch.”

In a difficult twist of fate, Michigan launched its sports betting industry a week before the March national shutdown due to the coronavirus. Kalm said the state “has to make up for lost time and money due to the shutdown.”

He said Detroit alone has three large casinos. Kalm relayed that the lost revenue will be astronomical. The casinos only brought in $110,00 in the few first days they had sports betting before the forced shutdowns.

The gaming industry and many citizens of Michigan have been at odds with Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The governor has allowed some businesses to reopen.

There has been no information from the Whitmer’s office regarding when the casinos would be allowed to open. The state’s most vocal supporter of sports betting, Rep. Brandt Iden, says that the entire process for online sports betting shouldn’t take that long to launch.

He believes it will launch towards the end of 2020. Iden said the entire process would take no longer than two weeks to launch.

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