Mobile sportsbooks in Michigan are now expected to launch in November.

  • Mobile and online Michigan sportsbooks should be available statewide by November.
  • The final steps for rules and regulations for the mobile and internet sports betting market in the state are currently underway.

DETROIT – The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) held a public hearing on Wednesday which inched the state that much closer to launching their mobile sports betting and iGaming markets.

Rules and regulations for online gaming platforms have not yet been settled for a launch but after public opinions were heard during the hearing, the MGCB is given 80 days to finalize the details.

Using that timeline, the Wolverine State could see mobile sportsbooks open by Thanksgiving, a day typically filled with thanks, turkey, football, and now state-sanctioned wagers on football if all goes according to plan.

The Path To Mobile Sports Betting In Michigan

Michigan legalized sports betting in December 2019 and has been trying to nail down the specifics of the industry ever since.

They had high hopes to launch before the start of NFL season but the Coronavirus Pandemic threw that plan to the wayside with delays. Land-based sportsbooks have opened in the state but a rollout for the mobile part of the industry was left in the lurch as rules needed to be ironed out by the MGCB.

This was an unfortunate turn of events for the sports wagering market as COVID-19 caused retail facilities to close or operate at limited capacities which led to little or no profits.

Meanwhile, sports matchups came back on the scene and activity with mobile sportsbooks throughout the nation surged.

Indiana, a neighboring state to Michigan, had 85% of all their sports bets in August placed with their mobile or internet applications. Indiana saw an August handle of $169 million with the bulk of it coming from a part of the industry that Michigan had yet to launch, leaving the Wolverine State at a major loss in profits.

The public hearing on Wednesday went on for three hours where only two residents spoke on the subject. Their opinions were centered on frustrations that the market had yet to launch as its been legal for almost a year.

A set of rules drafted by the MGCB has a data mandate for all operators to follow requiring them to offer accurate information and official league data on wagers in a timely fashion. Along with that stipulation, there are also rules on account funding with transfers and withdrawals and a self-exclusion program for problem gamblers.

These rules and regulations are still in draft form and can be changed. Once the MGCB gets its final set of rules together, the process doesn’t end there.

They then need to submit them to the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (MOAHR) and the Michigan Legislative Bureau for review before they are completely certified to go live.

This phase is expected to occur within the next few weeks to stay on course for a November launch.

What’s Next?

After the MOAHR receives the final draft of rules for mobile sports betting and iGaming, all that’s left is their approval.

Thanksgiving is very much a viable date to rollout mobile sportsbooks and iGaming platforms as the MGCB has been able to receive applications for licenses since June.

They have been limited in what they’ve been able to do as far as handing out the actual licenses because the rules have not yet been set in stone, however with the applications already having been reviewed, licenses can go out as soon as the rules are in place.

“Following certification, our agency expects MOAHR to submit the rules to the Michigan Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) in October. The rules must be before JCAR for 15 session days unless this requirement is waived,” said Richard S. Kalm, Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director.

With that being said, it’s a safe bet to say that locals will see mobile sportsbooks available in November, a month shy of the one-year anniversary of the legalization of sports betting in Michigan.

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