Iden worked with Republicans, Democrats and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in establishing Michigan’s successful gaming industry and the state’s upcoming online launch. And according to Iden, the online launch is still scheduled to take place sometime this month.
“As far as I’ve heard, it’s still on track for hopefully the middle or end of this month, as far as I know,” said Iden, who could not run for re-election in 2020 because of term limits. “I haven’t heard otherwise. The (Michigan) Gaming Control Board has been shooting for this month. I know they have a meeting coming up next week, and from everything I’ve heard, they’re still on track to try to get it rolled out this month.”
The MGCB said it expects to announce the first group of operators eligible to accept wagers in mid-January. The MGCB forecasts operators will begin taking wagers this month.
It’s been a waiting game for Michiganders anticipating the state’s online launch. Any social media ads from any gaming operators, such as FanDuel or DraftKings, are filled with outraged comments from people complaining about online gaming not being available in the state.
There was hope the launch could take place in November, but the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules did not pass the gaming rules fast enough for the Michigan Gaming Control Board to continue with the license and regulation process for platform providers and operators.
December was briefly rumored as a possible timeframe for an online launch, but it came and went, with the new projection slated for this month.
”People are very excited,” Iden said. “I will tell you that I think that the frustration that’s out there is that we could have had this launch sooner. It’s been over a year now, but I will tell you that we want to make sure that we got it right. The (MGCB) has done a great job with that.
“I envision a big rollout. I know that their intent is to roll out sports at the same time as other internet gamings as well. I think that’s the good news, and I think that this delay means that we’re going to get a bigger rollout.”
Michigan is projected to receive over $650 million in revenue from its first year of online sports betting and mobile casinos and poker. But Iden said he believes online gaming will have a greater impact than those projections.
“I’ve been seeing a lot of revenue numbers from across the country and a lot of forecasted models for 2021, and I think Michigan is going to blow those numbers out of the water,” he said. “I think there’s a tremendous amount of excitement here. I’ve seen a lot of advertisers hitting the markets hard. It’s very exciting, and I think we’re going to have a big rollout here.”