It was last December that Michigan became the latest state to pass an online gambling bill. Now it looks like the state is in the home stretch of a launch as indications are that players could be enjoying games by the end of November.

After the bill’s passage last year, it was thought that Michigan online gambling might have to wait until 2021. That changed when COVID-19 struck and casinos were subsequently shut down across the United States including Michigan. In the wake of declining revenues for casinos and states, getting online gambling up and running has carried a new sense of urgency.

Michigan has been able to fast-track its online gambling market by emulating other regulated state markets such as Indiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, many of which already have licensed some of the same companies in the Michigan market.

The timeframe

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has been working on rules for the state since February and has been consulting with 12 of the state’s tribes and 3 commercial casinos. Board Director of the MGCB plans on submitting those rules to the Michigan Office of Administration Hearing and Rules sometime this week.

Once approved, the rules will then go on to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, believed to be sometime in Ootober. Soon after, acquiring and approving licenses would be the final step. After the rules are passed and licenses are given the green light, Michigan players could begin playing or betting — estimated at this point to be by the end of November

What’s coming?

As part of Michigan’s new gambling law, retail sports betting, online sports betting, online casinos, online poker and daily fantasy sports were officially authorized. Michigan daily fantasy sports operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel had already been offering DFS and have continued to do so.

Land-based retail sports betting began on March 2020. The November launch will mean that online casions, online sportsbooks and online poker could all be live by the end of the year.

Online casino license holders will be able to offer such games as slots, blackjack, roulette, craps and other games “typically offered at a casino.”

For online sportsbooks, the state is putting in place few restrictions. Sports bettors will be able to place their wagers on most U.S. sports as well as popular international sports. One notable exception will be the betting on youth or high school sports.

Like many states that have regulated online gambling, online sportsbooks, casinos and poker rooms will be operated through a partnership of Michigan commercial and tribal casinos with software and service providers.

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