Michigan Launching Mobile Sports Betting, Casinos on Friday

GreatLakesStakes.com

By Bryce Derouin

Finally, online gaming has a firm launch date in Michigan.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) announced operators and platform providers who meet the licensing and regulatory requirements will be eligible to go live with mobile sports betting and online casino games at noon on Friday.

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board and the state’s commercial and tribal casinos will begin a new era Jan. 22 with the launch of regulated online gaming and sports betting,” said Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director. “Michigan residents love sports and, judging by inquiries we’ve received, eagerly anticipate using mobile devices to place bets through the commercial and tribal casinos. Online gaming and sports betting will provide the casinos with new ways to engage with customers while the state and local communities will benefit from taxes and payments on wagering revenue.”

Nine operators have been authorized to launch at noon. Here is the list and who they are partnered with in the state:

  • DraftKings (Bay Mills Indian Community)
  • William Hill (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians)
  • Barstool Sportsbook (Greektown Casino)
  • TwinSpires (Hannahville Indian Community)
  • Golden Nugget (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community)
  • Rush Street (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians)
  • BetMGM (MGM Grand Detroit)
  • FanDuel (MotorCity Casino)
  • Wynn (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

Each of the operators will launch with sports betting. All but Barstool will also offer internet casino games.

According to Kalm, the three days from the MGCB’s authorization and the official launch on Friday will give operators and platform providers added time for testing and adjustments before the gaming goes live.

The MGCB also notes it expects to authorize additional operators and providers in the coming days and weeks. The agency staff is currently reviewing other submissions to ensure they each meet the state’s regulatory requirements. Safety and fairness to bettors have been two of the major concerns for the MGCB.

“We want the public to have confidence when they place wagers, and our agency has required the providers to prove they meet Michigan’s standards, which are designed to protect the participants,” Kalm said.

Taxes and Payment Rates

The tax and payment rate for online sports betting in Michigan is 8.4%, while the tax and payment rate for internet gaming ranges from 20% to 28%. Detroit casinos may also be required to pay a municipal services fee and a development agreement payment to the city of Detroit.

For each of the Detroit casinos, here is how the online sports betting and internet gaming taxes are allocated.

  • 30% to the city of Detroit
  • 5% to the Michigan Agriculture Equine Industry Development Fund, with up to $3 million per year from each tax source.
  • 65% to the state Internet Sports Betting Fund or the state Internet Gaming Fund.

Internet gaming will also feature a hold-harmless provision, which seeks to help the city recoup lost gaming tax revenue if the city of Detroit receives less than $183 million in a fiscal year.

For tribal casinos, online sports betting payments by tribes are allocated to the Internet Sports Betting Fund (90%) and the Michigan Strategic Fund (10%). Internet gaming payments by tribes are allocated 20% to local jurisdiction governing bodies for services, 70% to the state Internet Gaming Fund and 10% to the Michigan Strategic Fund.

Internet Sports Betting Fund/Internet Gaming Fund

Additional money collected under these acts will be distributed for:

  • Funding for the MGCB
  • The Compulsive Gaming Preventing Fund ($500,000 annually after board expenditures)
  • The First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund ($2 million after board expenditures and compulsive gambling fund)
  • The State School Aid Fund (all money remaining after the above expenditures)

Launch a Long Time Coming

The Jan. 22 launch marks just over a year since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of gaming bills in December of 2019, which included the legalization of online casinos and mobile sports betting.

There have been numerous holdups leading up to Michigan’s much-anticipated online launch. The coronavirus delayed the MGCB’s work proceedings by forcing the group to work from home.

Next, Kalm announced the MGCB was awaiting a response from the FBI on a fingerprinting issue. The MGCB needed clearance from the FBI to use federal records to conduct background checks.

The next obstacle was waiting for the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules to pass the latest draft of the mobile sports betting and internet gaming rules. Despite receiving the rules on Oct. 8, the committee did not move them until Dec. 1. Once the rules were passed, the MGCB could officially begin the licensing and approval process for the operators and platform providers.

But with a clear launch date and operators having met the licensing requirements from the MGCB, online gaming is finally coming to Michigan on Friday.

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WRITTEN BY
GreatLakesStakes.com
Bryce Derouin
Bryce joined GreatLakesStakes.com after spending the last nine years covering high school and college sports throughout Michigan. He’s served as the primary Division II beat writer for Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech. Along with his newspaper background, he's worked in marketing and has experience covering casinos and gambling.
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Bryce joined GreatLakesStakes.com after spending the last nine years covering high school and college sports throughout Michigan. He’s served as the primary Division II beat writer for Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech. Along with his newspaper background, he's worked in marketing and has experience covering casinos and gambling.
... Read More