Internet casino gambling on similar course as sports betting in Michigan

Eager Online Poker Players In For A Long Wait In Michigan

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If your New Year’s resolution included playing online poker on a regulated platform in Michigan, you’re probably going to be making the same pledge next year.

Isn’t that how it always goes with resolutions?

This time, it’s not your fault. According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), it likely won’t be ready for online poker, casino games or sports betting until 2021.

“We’re estimating it will take about a year to complete the rulemaking process for mobile sports wagering and internet casino gambling,” MGCB Communications Specialist Mary Kay Bean told Online Poker Report. “This estimate is based on a review of the timelines for other rule sets and for rules we’ve developed in the past.”

Timeline to online poker in Michigan

Since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act into law in December, commercial and tribal casinos in the state have been securing online partnerships at a breakneck pace. But the MGCB is throwing out the caution flag.

Fast isn’t exactly how the regulatory process works, and Michigan online poker will be no exception. There are numerous steps and agencies involved in rulemaking. There are ways for the legislature, state agencies and departments that are involved to expedite or delay the timeline.

“For the new laws, we have to establish several sets of rules and those rules need to pass through many levels of review,” Bean said.

She indicated that the MGCB expects the rules for internet gaming and sports betting to move at roughly the same rate, meaning the online gambling activities should launch around the same time. The governor directed the agency not to use an expedited emergency rulemaking process, as several states have done.

MI online gambling law at a glance

It was a long road to get internet gambling approved in Michigan. The first attempt, which would have set much more favorable terms for the industry, was vetoed by the previous governor in 2018.

To get Whitmer’s approval, casinos made significant concessions to appease her concerns that internet gambling could negatively impact revenues for the Michigan online lottery, consequently hurting educational funding.

Key provisions in the law include:

  • Online casino and poker licenses for the three commercial casinos and 12 Indian tribes.
  • One online casino brand and one online poker brand per casino, up to two total brands apiece.
  • A $50,000 application fee, $100,000 initial licensing fee, and $50,000 annual renewal fee.
  • A tiered tax structure, ranging from 20% to 28%.
  • A tribal or commercial casino cannot begin offering internet gambling until one from the other category is licensed.
- Matthew began writing about legislative efforts to regulate online poker in 2007 after UIGEA interfered with his hobby of playing small-stakes online poker while working as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News. Covering the topic for Bluff Magazine, PokerNews and now Online Poker Report, he has interviewed four U.S. Congressmen and 40+ state legislators. His poker writing has been cited by The Atlantic, and Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Playboy Magazine, Men's Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and
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