Final preparations underway as online sports betting in MI could be launched at any time

Posted at 5:42 AM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 05:42:52-05

(WXYZ) — Michigan is potentially just days away from online sports betting rolling out, meaning you can place bets on your favorite games no matter where you are in the state, all from your phone.

The anticipation is hard to miss with ads all over TV and the internet. More than a dozen online sportsbooks or platform providers have gotten a license from the state.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board says it plans to announce a date for online sports betting to go live at any time really, and once that happens, platforms will have a few days of testing before officially rolling out.

“We could see a live launch next week," Richard Kalm, the executive director of the MGCB, said.

It comes at a time when there's a lot to bet on – from the NFL playoffs to college basketball and the NHL season getting underway.

It's been months of planning and preparation, with Michigan's retail sportsbetting already up and running since March.

But the highly-anticipated online sports betting is now just days away, too, with online casino games.

Michigan has 15 operators licenses to host online sports betting – 12 belonging to tribal casinos and 3 for each of the Detroit casinos.

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“Between the tribal casinos and the Detroit casinos, somewhere between $16, $17 and as much as $20, $21 million of tax revenues," Citizens Research Council of Michigan President Eric Lupher said. "The Detroit share of that we’re looking at somewhere between $2.3 and say $3 million.”

That would be a major boost for the city after months of no tax revenue from casinos when they were closed due to the pandemic.

Online wagering is expected to take up a huge chunk of the sports betting industry, as it has in other states that have legalized it.

Michigan's rules for online betting are modeled closely after those in New Jersey, according to the board. A top priority before rolling out is security, as people need to be 21 to play and set up an account with one of the licensed platforms.

“Since you’re not in person making the bet, we have to be very careful that we know the customer and we also know the location of the customer," Kalm said. “All those testing procedures, the identification, geolocation, all the things that have to be in place before we could launch online takes a considerable amount of time.”

Other online sportsbooks with pre-launch offers like FanDuel and DraftKings can be downloaded from the app store, but you can't actually place a bet until the rollout is official, which could come any time between now and Jan. 19.