Michigan legal online gambling and sports betting to start Friday

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Michigan online sports betting begins: What you need to know
Michigan authorities are letting casinos and their partners to allow online sports bets more than a year after gambling was made legal here.

Michigan regulators have given the green light for online gambling and online sports betting to start at noon Friday.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced Tuesday that it approved the first nine casinos and their online platform partners to launch at that time, with additional approvals expected in coming days.

The Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer legalized internet gambling and sports betting in December 2019, and regulators spent all of last year devising rules and ways to monitor and license the new platforms.

The minimum age for online gambling and sports betting is 21. Those taking part in sports betting do not need to be Michigan residents, but must be situated within the state’s borders when placing bets via smartphone app or computer. Those from Ohio, where online sports betting isn’t legal, could therefore use Michigan’s new betting apps if they do so in Michigan.

The nine platforms and their associated operators are:

  • FanDuel, for MotorCity Casino
  • BetMGM/Roar Digital, for MGM Grand Detroit
  • Penn Sports Interactive/ Barstool Sportsbook, for Greektown Casino
  • DraftKings, for the Bay Mills Indian Community
  • William Hill, for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
  • TwinSpires, for the Hannahville Indian Community
  • Golden Nugget Online Gaming, for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
  • Rush Street, for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
  • Wynn, for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
FanDuel is one of several online sports betting platforms that will go live in Michigan
FanDuel is one of several online sports betting platforms that will go live in Michigan

Richard Kalm, executive director of the gaming control board, said the days between Tuesday’s authorization and Friday’s launch give the online platforms time to do testing and make adjustments. Some platforms, such as FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM, have been advertising for weeks and allowing users to sign up, but not place bets.

More:Internet gambling, sports betting launch in Michigan may be just days away

“Online gaming and sports betting will provide the casinos with new ways to engage with customers while the state and local communities will benefit from taxes and payments on wagering revenue,” Kalm said in a statement.

FanDuel’s Chief Marketing Officer Mike Raffensperger said that about 90% of the company’s users in markets where sports betting is already allowed use FanDuel through its mobile app.

Raffensperger said legalized online sports betting is a good because it brings the activity into the light of day and prevents people from getting outright cheated.

“Frankly speaking, (sports betting) is a marketplace that existed prior to us launching legally,” he said. “It just happened in (the) black market and the gray market with offshore accounts where maybe you’ll get your money out, maybe you won’t.”

In-person sports betting began in Michigan last March but quickly went dark when the Detroit casinos closed amid the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sports betting lounges reopened in the summer, closed again Nov. 18 and have remained open at reduced capacity since Dec. 22.

Man using phone to bet on sports
Man using phone to bet on sports Scyther5, Getty Images/iStockphoto

The tax rate and the tribal payment rate for internet sports betting is 8.4%.

The tax and payment rates paid by the casinos for general internet gambling — not including sports — will range from about 20% to 28%, based on adjusted gross receipts.

Raffensperger of FanDuel said he believes that online sports betting will not result in the closure of the still-new sports-betting lounges in Detroit’s casinos.

“There’s nothing like the experience of a sports book — watching a great game on giant TVs and being there with your friends,” he said. “COVID has made that difficult … but it’s a wonderful, fun experience.”

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