Michigan Online Poker and Casinos Could Launch in 2020
This has been a rough year for person and business sector in America. The same goes for many other countries around the world. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been devastating.
In the United States, casinos and all live gambling venues are in the troubled sector. After closing within the first weeks of March, most have had little to no revenue from customers. The exceptions, however, are casinos with online gambling partners. That online gaming revenue won’t save a casino’s bottom line, but it is a form of revenue and a continuous link to customers.
Impressive numbers indeed and truly underscores the need for the casino industry to have an online channel to reach consumers. Here are the iCasino and iPoker numbers from NJDGE: https://t.co/2RPPhPVF7B pic.twitter.com/lgKiPUxVvd
— John A Pappas (@yanni_dc) April 15, 2020
Michigan is a state that did legalize online poker and casino games in December 2019, but the process of launching such an industry is detailed and lengthy. However, times are changing, and drastic times call for drastic measures. Casinos are in desperate need of financial boosts, and this need will likely continue for the foreseeable future. This may speed up the online gaming timeline.
Early Predictions of 2021
Initial predictions indicated a likely launch of online gambling in Michigan in 2021. This estimate was based on the average time it took for other states to prepare and launch their gaming sites. Most recently, Pennsylvania took nearly two years from the time its bill passed to the launch of its online casinos, and online poker was the last to launch.
Since Michigan only passed its law in late December of 2019, it would make sense that online poker would be at least one year into the future, if not more.
Word from the Michigan Gaming Control Board seemed to solidify the 2021 start date. Per US Poker, MGCB representative Mary Kay Bean said the rules are in development. And until the administrative rules are published, the MGCB cannot issue licenses or even divulge the names of applicants. She also added, “We expect online sports and casino-style betting to become available next year.”
The Michigan Gaming Control Board has not yet offered a timeline for the release of igaming regulations but even under an aggressive schedule, the opening of the state’s first online poker room will likely be late Q4 2020, with 2021 more realistic.https://t.co/CKvA7mLXPW
— Poker Industry PRO (@pokerindpro) January 6, 2020
Attempts for Emergency iGaming
As the pandemic began to hurt casinos and gambling establishments in Michigan and the long-term harm became clearer, Republican lawmakers began to ask Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to use emergency rules that would allow for expedited launches of gambling websites. One of those lawmakers was the champion of the online gambling bill, Representative Brandt Iden.
However, Whitmer’s office said the pandemic doesn’t meet the requirements necessary to instigate emergency rule-making under the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969.
Whitmer’s Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs, Jasmine Tompkins, responded to lawmakers with that message. “We will proceed with the ordinary rulemaking with the draft rules you have received, but with an effort to complete the process without delay and as swiftly as possible, while complying with all applicable steps and time periods mandated for the process.”
— Chris Sieroty (@sierotyfeatures) April 29, 2020
Quicker Pace Could Mean 2020 Launches
The statement from Tompkins assured no delays and completing the process as swiftly as possible. That may not mean rules finalized next week and licenses issued next month, but it seems to move the timetable forward a bit.
“We’re trying to start the licensing process a little bit ahead of the rules,” Kalm said. While Kalm agreed that Whitmer’s office did the right thing in not allowing for emergency rules, there are things that the MGCB can do.
And the MGCB is doing just that. They sent a draft of the rules to stakeholders last month to begin to formalize online sports betting, poker, and casino games regulations. “They’ve been weighing in and commenting on the rules, so we’ll have a set of rules soon,” Kalm said.
The period for comments ends this week, so the rules could be finalized soon. However, state committees must approve those rules. In addition, he did admit that the licensing process could take a bit longer than the drafting of the rules, as it involves in-depth vetting of online gambling and betting operators.
Even so, it appears that many now anticipate some form of online gaming available in Michigan before the end of 2020.
Michigan is working to fast track internet gaming and sports betting regulations with the help of industry, @iDEA_Growth and @GovWhitmer the state could bring in new tax $ by early Fall (well ahead of schedule). @LSPReport looks at how it can happen: https://t.co/2Zm2gqC7hw
— John A Pappas (@yanni_dc) May 6, 2020
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