Michigan’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules can waive the remaining time it has to review proposed licensing rules on Tuesday, which could enable the state to launch online sports betting and online gaming by the end of the year.
According to an Associated Press report, the committee, which has 10 legislators on it, will consider the new regulations at a meeting Tuesday, said chairman and Republican Sen. Pete Lucido. JCAR is expected to waive the remaining time, the report said.
The move will come nearly a year after the legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer legalized internet gambling and wagering on sports in Michigan. On Dec. 20, Whitmer signed a package of gambling bills and Michigan became the first state with commercial and Native American casinos as well as online sports and online casino gaming.
There could be 20 potential online sports betting licenses for a state with a large population and a strong love of their sports teams. It could be one of the larger sports betting markets in the country.
Sports bettors began placing wagers in person at casinos beginning last spring for a few days before having to shut down in March because of the coronavirus. Mobile sports betting and iGaming, including poker, has to wait until the commercial and tribal casinos, and operators and suppliers/vendors receive licenses.
“Everybody wants to get this thing going,” Lucido, of Macomb County’s Shelby Township, told the Associated Press. “This is something that’s long overdue at this point. It’s being done in other states.”
Mobile Would Help Casinos
Lucido said that Detroit’s three commercial casinos would benefit from being able to offer mobile betting and casino options, according to AP.
The Detroit casinos shut down again on Nov. 18 under a new public health order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Tribal casinos in Michigan are not required to follow the state-ordered shutdown, but seven have decided to close temporarily.
Gaming Board Ready to Move Forward
The Michigan Gaming Control Board has been ready to move forward on launching the state’s market.
“If we hear the waiver request was approved by JCAR, we are hopeful that online gaming and sports betting can start this year,” Mary Kay Bean, spokeswoman for the MGCB, told AP.
On Nov. 10, the MGCB said it was looking more likely that a launch would have to wait until 2021 as the rules were stalled in JCAR.
“The expected launch date for this is completely determined by when the JCAR finalizes the rules,” MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm said during the group’s public virtual meeting. “We would be ready to go. We have to wait for the suppliers, but everyone is getting ready very closely.
“We initially thought it would be the end of November, but if the rules aren’t waived by the end of November, to at least allow the platform providers to go live, then we’re going to have to wait.”
Last week, the MGCB added 11 new sports betting options to its catalog for a total of 23 sports available for Michigan citizens to wager on.
The new sports include Australian Rules Football, bowling, cycling, lacrosse, NCAA baseball, NCAA hockey, NCAA lacrosse, NCAA softball, Rugby League and Rugby Union. In addition to the new sports being added, the MGCB also detailed new leagues and bet types available for various sports.