Michigan Fast-Tracks Mobile Sports Betting in Effort to Generate RevenuePublished June 9, 2020 by Elana K
The Michigan Gaming and Control Board has announced that it is accepting online gaming supplier licensing forms for mobile sports betting.
As one of the states that legalized sports betting in late 2019, Michigan originally expected to launch mobile sports betting in 2021. Now, due to the economic havoc wrought by COVID-19, the Wolverine State is seeking to fast-track mobile sports betting and have it up and running by the end of 2020.
The Michigan Gaming and Control Board (MGCB) announced that it has started accepting online gaming supplier licensing forms for mobile sports betting. The announcement comes as an expected shortfall of $3.2 billion for this year’s budget is being realized, a direct result of the pandemic. According to the Michigan Budget Office, the state only has $1.2 billion in its Rainy Day Fund. Better than nothing, but that still leaves $2 billion unaccounted for.
The MGCB hopes that by fast-tracking mobile sports betting, the state can recoup some of its losses. Michigan casinos have been closed since March 16 and have only started reopening gradually over the past few days. In-person sports betting launched in the state only a few days before the casinos were shut down. The launch date was designed to meet the high demand for March Madness betting, which in the end, proved futile.
MGCB executive director Richard S. Kalm commented in a press release, “We’ve taken another step toward the launch of online gaming by beginning the licensing process. The MGCB encourages suppliers to file applications soon so we can conduct investigations and issue provisional licenses, which are allowed under state law.”
According to Rep. Brandt Iden, one of the main drivers of Michigan sports betting, the MGCB will draft the rules for mobile operators within the next few weeks. Once the rules are drafted, they need to be approved by the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate. In theory, and indeed, in practice, if the rules are approved, mobile sports betting can be operational by the end of 2020.