Michigan is one of the few states in the US that has legalized online sports betting and online casino gambling, or iGaming.
Including MI, six US states have domestic iGaming laws on the books, though only four of them – Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – currently have their offerings up and running.
If all goes according to plan, Michigan would be the fifth state to host domestic Internet-based casino gaming options to residents and visitors.
If all goes even more according to plan, that could happen by January or February 2021. There’s even an outside chance that domestic online Michigan gambling could be operational before the end of the year.
Still, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is eyeing September 2021 as the ultimate deadline for launch, given the uncertainty around the upcoming legislative session and any possible complications with the state’s standing re the controversies of the 2020 Presidential election.
To be clear, Michigan iGaming should have already been available.
The market was legalized in December 2019 via the same omnibus package that greenlit sports betting in the state, and retail sportsbooks were in fact able to go live by March 2020.
Granted these were in-person books at existing casino venues, but the complexities thereof are arguably more limiting. And given the fact that the coronavirus “pandemic” was already well established in early 2020, it seems backwards that the state prioritized the retail betting experience over the online model.
Indeed, online sports betting still hasn’t launched in Michigan.
This is especially baffling given that MI gamblers have been able to place bets and play casino games at legal international 18+ sportsbooks and gambling sites, which both cater to the clientele that regulators hope to bring back into the domestic fold.
While building an online betting and casino gambling network from scratch would indeed require plenty of time and testing to get right, all of the licensed providers in MI are the heaviest hitters in the industry with operations in several states already chugging along full steam ahead.
Per MLive’s reporting on the matter:
“Other than getting the final sign-off on the rules allowing the board to license platform providers, the rule-making process has gone smoothly, and most casinos are currently poised to go online quickly, MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm said in an October interview with MLive. He added that most of the platform providers looking to enter the Michigan market are established operators in other states, such as DraftKings and FanDuel.”
Kalm goes on to explain that proceedings have been in the final stage for some time, and that the final launches of both online MI sports betting and online MI casino gambling would be akin to flipping a switch:
“(Casino operators) have all been getting their paperwork in and the licensing processes going. Once we get these rules done, we’re gonna start taking applications from the platform providers, and that’s really kind of the last cog in this wheel to get it going.”
In other words, the holdup here is bureaucratic mumbo jumbo and typical red tape nonsense, not technological or developmental hurdles in getting the systems to work smoothly.
Just as with the best online sportsbooks and 18+ mobile casinos legally available offshore, each state doesn’t need its own customized experience: The same platform will work in any state.
In fact, the only real difference in play has to do with the geofencing parameters required to ensure that gambling is limited to the new state in question.
This geofencing limitation – along with the fact that MI law requires gamblers and bettors to be at least 21 years of age in order to participate locally – significantly differentiates the legal domestic gaming market from the legal international gaming market that MI residents have been using for so long.
Of course, for our money – and yours, if you live in the Wolverine State – the international gambling options available to you (and which have been legally available for years) are far superior.
When it comes to sports betting, domestic MI books will always have a hometown skew for regional teams like the Lions, Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings, and all the popular NCAA college football clubs in the area.
Fans bet with their hearts, and given the Federal Wire Act’s mandate that all domestic sports betting be limited to those patrons physically inside each individual state, local sportsbooks have to build in a lot of extra juice on those lines.
As a bettor, you want vigorish without the vigor.
For casino gambling, this is less of a problem, but there’s the tax situation in the state to consider.
Michigan online casinos are slated to be taxed at between 20% and 28%, depending on their handles. But even at the minimum 20%, that’s not an insignificant amount of money for casino operators to give up.
Since this kind of taxation isn’t a problem that international online casinos have to contend with, they’re able to offer better win rates, better bonuses, and require smaller house takes to meet their needs.
And of course, you can gamble with these operators at just 18 and up, which gives new MI players a massive three-year head start to experience real-money games and perfect their gaming strategies.
Finally, the best overseas gambling sites also allow players to enjoy full cash table and 18+ online tournament poker events around the clock.
Though online poker is allowed for by MI law, but there is no timeline for when that market will launch. And as with other betting markets in the state, domestic players will have to be 21 or older to participate. That’s hardly a full house.
Ultimately, if you’re eagerly awaiting online gambling in MI, you won’t have to wait too much longer.
However, you also don’t have to wait at all to enjoy real-money casino games, bet on sports, play poker, and experience other gaming markets safely and legally online.
All you need is an Internet connection and a free membership at any top international gambling operator.