After a long wait, Michigan residents will be able to gamble online later this week.
State gaming regulators announced Tuesday that nine brick-and-mortar casinos will be allowed to launch online platforms at noon on Friday. Most of those nine platforms will be offering both online casino games and online sports betting.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law in December 2019 that would allow the three Detroit commercial casinos and the 23 tribal casinos scattered throughout the rest of the state to offer online gambling of all forms. Nine of those properties, including all three Detroit casinos, were approved for licenses so far, but that number will increase as regulators continue to finalize applications.
“Michigan residents love sports and, judging by inquiries we’ve received, eagerly anticipate using mobile devices to place bets through the commercial and tribal casinos,” Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard Kalm told a local ABC affiliate. “Online gaming and sports betting will provide the casinos with new ways to engage with customers while the state and local communities will benefit from taxes and payments on wagering revenue.”
Operators will pay the state government 8.4% on sports betting revenue and between 20% and 28% on online gambling revenue. Detroit casinos will pay an additional fee to the city on top of the already existing tax structure.
The reports surrounding the announcement are unclear, but it appears that online poker will not be a part of the initial rollout on Friday.
A year ago, PokerStars’ parent company, Flutter, secured a partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, which gave the online poker giant an opportunity to offer online poker in Michigan. The tribe was not among the first nine applications to get the green light for Friday.
Of the online poker operators, PokerStars is the only company currently operating in multiple states with platforms in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. MGM Grand Detroit, which has a natural partnership with BetMGM, was approved and operates as part of the partypoker US network in New Jersey, but there was no mention of a poker launch from any of those companies.
There was a similar lag in Pennsylvania. The legislature passed a bill legalizing all forms of online gambling in 2017 with online sportsbooks and casinos launching in the spring of 2019. Online poker, however, wasn’t available until PokerStars rolled out its product in November.