Mobile sports betting and online casino gaming in Michigan have been a success since the state launched both platforms on Jan. 22. In March alone, Michigan’s online casino revenue was the third highest in the country at $95.1 million, while the online sports betting handle was the highest of any month for the state at $359.5 million.
Revenue and handle numbers aren’t the only thing on the rise in Michigan. According to a report in the Lansing State Journal, calls to the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline increased in February to 563, which was five times the number of calls to the helpline in February 2020.
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Michelle Malkin, a Ph.D. candidate who is studying problem gambling at Michigan State University’s School of Justice, told the news organization that she believes online gambling is the primary reason for the rise in calls to the state’s gambling helpline. Detroit’s three commercial casinos were operating at 15% capacity since August 2020 following nearly a five-month shutdown due to the pandemic. It wasn’t until early March that capacity limits were able to be raised to 30%.
"Casinos are at limited capacity right now because of the pandemic," Malkin told the Lansing State Journal. "The only thing that could really [explain] this is the growth of online gambling. Because that's really the only big change that's happened in Michigan."
The Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 and can be reached at 1-800-270-7117. Those who call will be connected with counselors and people who can treat problem gambling. Therapy is one option available to callers, who can elect to be set up with one-on-one therapy or take part in group sessions. The state will provide callers with a number of free therapy sessions that address problem gambling.
Those looking to get a handle on problem gambling have a few options available to them. They can join the disassociated persons list, which allows users to register for a five-year or a lifetime ban from Detroit’s three commercial casinos.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) also has a self-exclusion option for placement in the responsible gaming database. In the application, the MGCB states, “an individual may voluntarily prohibit himself or herself from establishing an internet wagering account or an internet sports betting account, or both, with internet gaming operators and internet gaming platform providers and/or sports betting operators and internet sports betting platform providers.”
Betting within your means is important for all players to follow. One way sports bettors can practice safe gambling is by utilizing bankroll management.
To set up your own bankroll, you must choose a standard wagering unit. These units can vary from player to player, but typically, a higher bankroll will have larger units. There is no set rule as to what percentage size a unit should be, but it should be low enough to withstand any losing streak. For example, if a player’s bankroll is $1,000 and they decide to wager 2% for each bet, that would mean the standard unit is $20. For a bankroll of $10,000, a unit would be $200.
Maintaining a discipline bankroll will prevent players from chasing losses and making reckless decisions with their money.