Analysis

Michigan’s incoming regulations would provide Wedge Index boost

Approval of online gaming regulations in October could see licenses handed out the following month, with Michigan residents online options broadened to sports betting, casino and poker.

Michigan’s new regulations could come into effect as early as this Fall and could see the state climb up the Wedge Index ratings if it sets out to license online sports betting, casino and poker.

Michigan currently stands tied in 13th position with 13 points on the Wedge Index. If the final version of the online regulations allows for mobile betting, online casino and remote registration the state would benefit from a 30-point boost on the index, bringing its points total to 43 and propelling it up to number 8 in the standings, a point above the US gambling Mecca of Nevada.

Proposed regulations

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) published draft rules in late July setting out how those verticals could be regulated. The proposed regulations followed an informal review by industry stakeholders earlier in the year and the MGCB held online public hearings last week to assess the project and is due to be publish its proposed regulations in the next few days.

Once the proposed rules are issued the State Legislature will review them and decide on them in October, with the license request and approval process set to happen throughout November.

Should the timeline be respected it would be the culmination of the draft law introduced in the State legislature to allow Detroit’s three commercial casinos plus the dozen recognized Indian tribes across Michigan to apply for licenses and deploy one skin (sub-license) for online sportsbook, casino and poker.

Online regulations were expected to be brought in early next year, but with its casinos shut down because of the pandemic, and now still only partially open, the legislation has been brought forward to ensure Michigan residents can bet safely and operators can generate extra revenues through regulated gaming. 

A tribal state

Michigan has 26 casinos, with 23 of them run by Tribal Nations. The three commercial casinos based in Detroit; MGM Grand, Greektown and MotorCity all opened their physical sportsbooks in mid-March but had to shut down nearly immediately as pandemic closures swept across the nation.

According to local reports some tribal casinos also opened their own physical sportsbooks during that time, but this was done across only a small number of tribal-run establishments and like their commercial counterparts, they had to shut down the venues due to COVID19.

Michigan casinos have since reopened, but the capacity is limited at 15% to ensure social distancing between players.

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Jake Pollard

Jake Pollard is an experienced journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and betting industry for many years. He has written for the leading media outlets as well as operators and suppliers in the igaming space. His current areas of focus are wide-ranging and include regulatory developments in the US, emerging markets in South America and how European countries are adapting to a decade of igaming regulation.

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