2020 Michigan Online Casinos and Sports Betting Launch Hopes Fade

For months we’ve reported about the Michigan State Legislature’s efforts to accelerate the timeline for the launch of online sports betting and casinos from early 2021 to late 2020, but Tuesday’s public meeting of the Michigan Gaming Control Board threw some cold water on the hopes for a 2020 launch.

For now, a 2020 launch hangs on whether there are enough legislative session days left in the year for the final set of rule revisions submitted by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to be approved by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which it has 15 session days to act on. Reached by email, an MGCB spokesperson speaking on behalf of Executive Director Richard Kalm said the Board has filed a request to the Committee to waive the 15 session-day requirement and believes it will be accepted.

Although the rules have not been returned to the MGCB yet, the Committee does have the option to pass them back to the Board ahead of schedule. What could further snag things is the legislative calendar towards the end of the year. Both houses of the state legislature must be in attendance to count as a session day, and with the holidays fast approaching, there are fewer legislative sessions on the calendar than during much of the year. Although the Board sent its latest set of rules more than a month ago, the Committee has only had them in their possession for a total of three session days so far, the MGCB spokesperson said.

“The MGCB doesn’t know when the legislature will end the term–the current calendar can change–and the session days may not hit 15. If 15 session days don’t happen and the JCAR doesn’t waive the rules, the 15-day calendar starts again next year.”

At a public meeting in October, MGCB Deputy Director David Murley said the Board was still hoping for an end of November launch, but conceded if the rules were not approved in time it could push the timeline into 2021.

Potential Impact Of A Late Launch

One impetus for pushing ahead the state’s online sports betting launch timetable was with the hopes the market would be open in time for the Super Bowl, one of the biggest sports betting events of the year. It would be a major early shot in the arm for a brand new market to open in close proximity to an event of that magnitude, but the administrative hang-up over approving the final rules could put that hopeful timeline in doubt.

Michigan Online Gambling Landscape Taking Shape

Despite the launch date remaining up in the air, online sports betting and casino providers from around the globe have planted their flags in Michigan ahead of launch.

The following Michigan online casino apps are likely contenders for launch-day action, based on current information and previous online gambling state launches.

As for sportsbook apps, the following brands have historically been among the first to launch their online sportsbooks, a trend we believe should carry over to Michigan.

About the Author

Chris Nesi

Chris Nesi is a contributor at Michigan Sharp and the Managing Editor of Colorado Sharp. He’s been an editor and writer for more than a decade, with experience spanning newspapers, magazines, digital news, and commercial writing. His work can be found in publications including TechCrunch, Mental Floss, and Huffington Post. Chris enjoys politics and gambling, and writing about the points at which those worlds intersect.