The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is on track to approve its first online gaming and sports betting licensees following a public hearing Wednesday on the proposed rules for the new activities.

The MGCB opened the licensing process for the state’s commercial casinos and tribes in July, with the state’s online gaming and sports betting legislation requiring the Board to issue licenses to at least one tribal and one commercial operator ahead of the opening of the online market.

The ability to issue licenses is dependant on the proposed rules for internet gaming and internet sports betting, which will now be submitted to the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules and the Legislative Service Bureau for final review and certification. The rules will then be submitted to the Michigan Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules in October.

“Before online gaming can start, the agency must license applicants. The MGCB has limited ability to license before the rules go into effect. The licensing timetable also depends on the applicants and their delivery of complete and timely applications to us,” said Richard S. Kalm, executive director, MGCB. “Michigan must have at least one tribal and one commercial license approved before launch, which I hope can happen by late fall.”

With the state’s online licenses reserved for tribal operators and Detroit casinos, numerous partnerships have been agreed since the start of the year. PointsBet will be the exclusive sports betting and online gaming operator of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, while the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians have partnered with Flutter Entertainment’s FOX Bet.

Scientific Games has partnered with the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, William Hill with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Kambi with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Golden Nugget with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Churchill Downs Incorporated with Hannahville Indian Community, Rush Street Interactive with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, DraftKings with the Bay Mills Indian Community, and FanDuel with MotorCity Casino.

Michigan’s land-based sports betting market opened in March of this year under legislation adopted in late 2019.

Gaming Intelligence

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