Ready For Liftoff? Online Michigan Sports Betting Inching Closer To Launch

Written By Derek Helling on January 13, 2021
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With the NFL playoffs now down to its “Elite Eight” round, Michigan online sportsbooks are missing out on millions of dollars in handle with each passing weekend they are waiting to launch. Details on when that will be are still scant as the Michigan Gaming Control Board and potential licensees work to get live.

The MGCB is still tight-lipped on the subject of a launch date for online sports betting in Michigan. Accordingly, hopeful operators in the market are doing the same. That doesn’t mean there’s isn’t a flurry of activity ongoing behind the scenes, however.

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What we know about Michigan online sportsbooks right now

The MGCB is currently going through the final steps to finalize licensure for 15 potential operators currently in possession of provisional licenses. That list includes some of the most popular online sports betting brands in the country, like:

  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • FOX Bet
  • William Hill

In anticipation of receiving permanent licenses, some of those companies have actually already started accepting account registrations for use in MI. Michiganders and visitors to the state can take advantage of bonus offers, like $50 in site credit for BetRivers, right now.

At this point, the MGCB’s final certification is the only thing that matters. Because details on that are scant and unconfirmed, how much longer that will take is anyone’s guess.

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When will Michigan online sports betting start?

While Michiganders are no doubt getting antsy as Super Bowl LV hurls ever closer, the MGCB is right to take its time. The board has the responsibility of making sure all operators are compliant with regulations. Those contain crucial consumer protection like financial protocols and responsible gambling rules.

Rumors have targeted Wednesday, Jan. 20, as a launch date for at least one book. None of the provisional licensees have confirmed that, however. The MGCB also declined to give that official credence. It’s entirely possible that may simply be an internal goal for the board or a date that a sportsbook is working toward.

Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard Kalm said that the launch will likely occur in “a few days” and that an announcement about the launch date could come “any day up until the 19th,” according to PlayMichigan.

“We’re very close,” Kalm said in a board meeting on Tuesday. “I wish I could give an exact date and time but each day that changes, so we’re gathering information daily. We’re very, very close.”

It’s possible that all 15 licensees could go live in concert or in segmented groups. If one day sees the launch of all 15 operators, bettors in the state should have their pick of many lucrative deposit offers that day.

The board is likely well aware of the value of getting at least some of the operators live before Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 7. It’s the single-largest sports betting day of the year in the United States. Missing out on that would mean the state losing out on potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue.

Yet, getting the launch of online sportsbooks right is more important in many ways, as it’s a one-time shot. When they do go live in the Great Lakes State, the state of the gambling industry in MI will change forever.

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Derek Helling Avatar
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

View all posts by Derek Helling