While the new President might have been inaugurated yesterday, tomorrow is a much bigger day for fans of online gambling.
That’s because Michigan, which legalized both online sports betting and online iGaming in late 2019, is finally ready to launch their first domestic gambling sites.
At noon on Friday, January 22, 10 different gambling apps will go live in the Wolverine State, with eight of them offering both online casino games and online sportsbooks. Meanwhile, two operators will be limited to sports wagering only.
The breakdown is as follows:
Sports Betting + Online Casino
- Golden Nugget
- William Hill
Sports Betting Only
Of course, this is likely just the first wave, as the Michigan’s new gambling laws allow for all 15 of the casinos within its borders to offer sports betting, iGaming, and online poker.
Eventually, we expect to see every one of those venues take full advantage of these allowances.
Online poker is the one Internet-based gambling amusement that’s not included during this initial launch. And while there’s been no explanation for why that’s the case, it’s likely because such platforms are simply more complex than either of their counterparts.
Online sportsbooks are resource intensive to a small degree, as the software is constantly updating itself with live odds that reflect the action coming in on either side of a bet.
This is mostly automated.
Indeed, aside from various technicians, engineers, and book managers, there is very little comparative human input.
Further, for players themselves, these connections are one-way: The bettor logs in, selects the odds they like, and places their wagers. The process is linear and technologically simple.
But online casinos are actually even simpler.
While a few of them have live dealer casino games, these are glorified webcam sessions where users can actually see their dealers and croupiers in real time as they play at virtual tables.
However, for the most part, online casino games are all based on RNG software – or random number generation software – and the server-side requirements are no more complex than serving up a video or electronic casino game experience to individual users.
In this way, these are also linear, one-way connections.
The difference, when compared to sports wagering, is that the RNG games do not change by the minute. For online gambling operators – outside of regularly scheduled maintenance and basic oversight – they can just “set it and forget it.”
Not so with online poker.
The requirements of online poker are far more involved and intricate, primarily because these games pit real players against one another in a multiplayer, multi-connection environment.
This means that there’s much more traffic and maintenance required server-side, and stability is even more important. Nobody wants to be dropped from a game in the middle of a big bluff or an even bigger hand.
That’s the digital equivalent of Aces and Eights!
And though online poker does use RNG software to deal the cards and manage the shuffling in a thoroughly verifiable and realistic way, the multiplayer aspect of the game means that the resources to host online poker are many times those of the resources needed to manage online sports betting or iGaming titles.
This is the only conceivable reason why online poker won’t be launching alongside the sports betting apps and casino apps slated to go live in MI at 12:00 PM on Friday.
Of course, for 18 and up gamblers (or, rather, those aged between 18 and 20 years old) who live in Michigan, this news isn’t particularly meaningful.
The legal age to bet sports domestically and play online casino games within MI’s borders is 21, as is the legal minimum Michigan poker age.
However, there’s a solution, because MI’s gambling laws do not criminalize the use of international casino, sports betting, and poker sites.
Further, these operators take MI residents at just 18+ for all the gaming markets they support.
And these overseas site’s aren’t just a boon for younger adults, either.
In reality, the vast majority of MI’s domestic online offerings can’t measure up to the options and sheer gambling selections at the best online 18+ casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms.
For one thing, these sites have many times the number of casino games available compared to their in-state rivals, and they’re not cut-rate options by any means.
In fact, they’re all developed by the same top-rated RNG designers used by Michigan brick-and-mortar venues, giving you the same gameplay options and chances to win that you’d get with any domestic retail or online experience.
For another, the 18+ online sportsbooks at these international betting venues have much better betting odds, as the action isn’t skewed by local fan bases always dumping money on the local teams.
If you live in MI and bet with a domestic book, your odds on the Lions, Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings, Wolverines, Spartans, and other clubs will always pay out less than they do at overseas operators, regardless of whether those teams are favorites or underdogs.
This is why it’s so important to always shop lines and not just settle for a single convenient betting option.
Finally, 18 and up online poker is up and running at many of the top international operators, and it has been for years.
There are no bugs to work out, no stability issues, no wait times, or anything else that local vendors will have to navigate before (and during) their own online poker launches.
It’s great that Michigan is going to become only the fifth US state with active online casinos and sports betting options, but if you gamble offshore, you probably won’t get anything better locally.
Still, for the US betting industry as a whole, MI is definitely helping pioneer the move to online iGaming, and that – more than anything else – is the best news of the day.
Source: Michigan Gaming Control Board