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by Danny Maiorca

Not long between approval and launch

This week’s expected introduction of sports betting to Michigan comes three months after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 916 to regulate the vertical. This was one of three separate bills that Whitmer approved to expand gambling legislation in the state, back in December 2019.

MGM Grand Detroit, operated by MGM Resorts, has already met the preliminary launch requirements. The same goes for both the privately-owned MotorCity Casino, and Penn National Gaming’s Greektown Casino.

Expressing his delight that some form of sports betting had gone live before the NBA’s March Madness bonanza, MGCB Executive Director Richard S. Kalm feels that both players and other residents will approve of new regulations.

“This new gaming opportunity has been highly anticipated, and we hope citizens will enjoy it and see benefits from additional revenue to both the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit.”

Sports betting in Michigan will be taxed at 8.4% of gross gaming revenue, with Detroit’s casinos paying an additional 1.25% in city tax – which legislators say is actually 3.25% in effect.

Online gambling delayed till 2021

In addition to online sports betting, rules for online casino and fantasy sports still need to be verified. After next year’s expected completion date for this, the MGCB said that:

“Online and mobile sports betting and gaming can begin next year after proper licenses are issued to the Michigan tribes and the Detroit commercial casinos and the firms that assist with these activities.”

Emergency rules could have been used to speed up proceedings, but Whitmer told the commission not to do this.

Fantasy sports are permitted through the signing of HB4308, while online casino is enabled via the passing of HB4311.

Supplier licenses awarded

According to the MGCB, provisional supplier licenses have already begun to be awarded. These would allow for the providing of services for land-based sports wagering, such as kiosks and data solutions.

MGM Grand’s offering will be powered by BetMGM. This is a joint venture between MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings, under the name of Royal Digital. BetMGM also has a mobile app, which is also live in New Jersey and West Virginia.

Elsewhere, Greektown Casino is expected to launch a Penn National-operated offering – powered by sports betting supplier Kambi.

For MotorCity, rumours are circling that the casino has agreed a market access deal with FanDuel. However, when asked about this by other iGaming media publications, no comment was made.

The MGCB will focus on issuing full licenses to these suppliers in due course, once it has done so with the operators.

Sports betting also permitted at tribal casinos

Along with commercial operators being able to introduce sports betting, all 23 tribal casinos in Michigan shall also be allowed to offer this vertical. This is as per the regulations stated in HB916.

FoxBet, PointsBet and William Hill have all secured deals with tribal casinos in the state. William Hill expects to have launched sports betting at Turtle Creek Casino, plus a satellite location at the Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge, in time for the beginning of the NFL season in September.

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