A snowy morning delayed a Michigan legislative committee on Tuesday as bettors anxiously awaited the results. Michigan’s Joint Committee of Administrative Rules (JCAR) met on December 1, 2020, to waive a rule requirement that was delaying the launch of online gambling in the state.
Under Michigan state law, the Michigan legislature needed 15 session days in the legislative calendar in order to finalize the rules around online gambling. Time was ticking and the legislature would not have sufficient days before adjourning for the holidays.
The JCAR met to officially waive this 15-day requirement. This was the primary hurdle to launch online sports betting in Michigan before the end of the year. JCAR’s ruling on Tuesday gave life to online sports betting in 2020 when all hope appeared to be lost. Now, the state legislature can finalize the rules even with fewer than 15 days to go in the session.
Retail sports betting is legal in the state of Michigan. Several sportsbooks are able to operate within the state, but casinos are not able to open due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With retail betting being rendered nearly useless, Michigan is forced to turn its attention to online sports betting.
Prior to today, there has been little progress in jumpstarting online sports betting. The frustration had set in for Republican Senator Pete Lucido who spoke on the issue to the Associated Press.
“Everybody wants to get this thing going. This is something that’s long overdue at this point. It’s being done in other states. We’re losing opportunity costs.”
Sen. Pete Lucido: Michigan Online Sportsbooks & Online Casinos “Long Overdue”
Sen. Pete Lucido must be thrilled that the waiting period has been waived. When the rules are approved, Michigan will have a frenzy on its hands. With all major sportsbooks such as FanDuel, DraftKings, Barstool Sports, William Hill, and BetMGM throwing their proverbial hats in the ring, the race for supremacy in Michigan is going to be an extremely competitive one.
The last major hurdle for Michigan will be the ratifying of the state’s official rules, which should come any day. Once that is complete, sportsbooks will submit their final application to the state and be approved for launch.
Spokeswoman for the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), Mary Kay Bean, said:
“If we hear the waiver request was approved by JCAR, we are hopeful that online gaming and sports betting can start this year.”
Today’s ruling has made it conceivable that bets on the latter half of the 2020-2021 NFL regular season could be available to fans across the Great Lakes State. Furthermore, it all but guarantees the opportunity for Michigan bettors to comfortably bet on the biggest event of the year, the Super Bowl.
DraftKings recently partnered with the Detroit Pistons as they prepare for the imminent online gaming rush. Sportsbooks were quick to line up casino partners in the state as well. DraftKings teamed up with Bay Mills, FanDuel partnered with Motorcity Casino, Barstool Sports partnered with Greektown Casino, and BetMGM will operate with its MGM Grand Detroit license.
Cross-State Online Poker In Michigan Coming Soon?
Online sports betting and casinos weren’t the only thing on the agenda for Michigan Tuesday. Sen. Curtis Hertel testified in front of the House Regulatory Reform Committee (RRC) to support a bill that would allow for interstate online poker.
Currently, online poker is legal but only for players within the state. This new bill would allow Michigan to partner with other states to pool their online poker players, allowing for more liquidity. Sen. Hertel spoke about his excitement earlier today by saying:
“Online poker only really works when you have a robust system of people wanting to play,” Hertel said. “So you want to find people that are across different state lines.”
Following Hertel’s clear approval of the bill, there was a vote by the RRC. Thankfully, the vote was successful and there is only one more hurdle to send the bill to the full Michigan House of Representatives. The results were quite strong today and bode well for online poker’s Michigan prospects.
The wait has been tiresome for many but for fans, it appears to be coming to an end.