Michigan prepares for legalisation of online gambling and sports betting

Michigan prepares for legalisation of online gambling and sports betting

Following recent news that the US state of Michigan could become the latest state to legalise online gambling and sports betting, it has led to a flurry of activity in the potentially lucrative US iGaming market.

After nearly a year from when the Legislature and Governor for the state, Gretchen Whitmer approved legislation for internet gambling and online sports wagering, this development could finally be set to materialise.

These new regulations which have been approved by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules that includes 10 individual legislators, as well as the Republican chairman of the committee, Senator Pete Lucido, could come into effect as early as mid-December.

As early as Spring 2020, people were able to place sports bets in casinos in Michigan, however, the delay for the implementation of internet gambling was held up because of license receipt and the COVID-19 global pandemic which put a halt to most industries.

What could this mean for the US gambling industry?

Already there are currently a handful of states that allow online gambling across the whole spectrum (this includes sports betting and all other forms of online gambling), which include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Nevada, and Delaware, there are others that only offer certain forms of online gambling activity, such as solely online sports betting.

While these states are looking into the possibility of being able to offer everything online that is associated with gambling, Michigan is one state that has been swift in its progress. It is easy to see why this decision was an easy one.

Michigan boasts the city of Detroit, which is the 11th wealthiest in the USA in terms of individual surplus disposable income, while there is also a strong gambling element in three of its flagship downtown casinos.

The legalisation of online gambling in Michigan represents a great opportunity for the state to benefit from the taxes that are bound to come from what is likely to be an influx of new casino sites made available for residents of Michigan and potentially have other states casting envious looks in their direction.

Whether it could cause a domino effect further west across the USA remains to be seen, though is it a coincidence that online gambling legislation has gradually emerged from the east? When you look at the map, you will see an obvious pattern in an almost straight line from New Jersey to Michigan, with the states of Pennsylvania and West Virginia sandwiched in between.

What other states may follow suit?

While we saw most of the movement for the legalisation of online gambling come during a Republican reign of power, it begs the question of whether there could be a slowdown in the approval of online gambling in other states, due to a move back to a Democratic presidency.

There will always be some states in the USA that will remain anti-gambling and as such we are unlikely to see this happen, such as California, this does not necessarily mean that this will not happen for other states.

With much of the approval of online gambling happening in the east of the country (with the exception of Nevada of course which is home to the iconic Las Vegas resort), it could be that states that retained a Republican constituency may be venturing into the possibility of approving regulation of an industry that can really bring in a considerable amount of revenue.

One interesting state is that of Illinois in the mid-west and only a “stone’s throw” from Michigan. It already has some ‘play at your own risk’ online casinos that are not licensed, which demonstrates a clear demand.

It is also home to Chicago which is the wealthiest city in the mid-west and boasts a median income of $365,000 (based on figures from NerdWallet), while the top one percent earn over $600,000. 

In addition, the city plays home to some of the most prestigious companies in the world such as hedge funds and law firms which do have perhaps a tenuous but clear link to the gambling industry, the former in particular. 

For now though at least, it appears that the state of Michigan is in the driving seat.


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