Michigan officially opened up its sports betting industry on March 11, just one day before the NBA announced the suspension of its regular season. All other professional leagues soon joined the NBA, and the sports betting industry effectively shut down in the state.
Since casinos have remained closed or operating at a much smaller capacity, lawmakers throughout the state are hoping to launch mobile sports betting much earlier than expected. Mobile sports betting was included in the expanded gambling bill, but it wasn’t set to occur until 2021.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer officially signed the expanding gambling bill into law last December, and the state was able to launch the sports betting industry in early March. At that time, it was expected that mobile sports betting would not launch until February 2021, hopefully just days before the Super Bowl.
The coronavirus pandemic has the state searching for new forms of revenue, and now the state is hoping to launch mobile sports betting at some point this October. That would make mobile sports betting available for the majority of the 2020 NFL season.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board regulates the sports betting industry in Michigan, and they were the organization that initially eyed February as a target date for mobile sports betting. Now the group has announced that the process could be expedited, and several lawmakers are helping to make that happen.
Unlike other states, Michigan did not have any set laws as to when mobile sports betting could occur, but they were giving the Michigan Gaming Control Board ample time to get things in place. With the coronavirus pandemic effectively shutting down the retail sports betting industry, Michigan is now looking to make up for some of that lost revenue.
There is a chance that mobile sports betting could launch in Michigan even earlier, and there are plenty of reasons to do so. Three of the major professional sports leagues in the US are set to begin play near the end of July.
Process Could Be Delayed By Several Factors
Even though there is growing optimism that Michigan will be able to launch mobile sports betting much earlier than expected, there are also several factors that could force a delay. There are several organizations besides the Michigan Gaming Control Board in play, and their current operating schedule could delay the process.
The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will have to agree to any new laws and regulations, and that process typically takes up to 15 days. The JCAR could waive that process and approve the regulations in just two days, but it’s unclear if that will happen.
State employees have also been furloughed one day each week, and that could play a role in how fast new rules and regulations are implemented.
October is Good, Summer is Better
Launching mobile sports betting at some point in October would be a huge win for the state of Michigan, but they would also be missing out on plenty of revenue. The state is hoping to offer mobile sports betting for most of the 2020 NFL season, but there will be plenty of other betting opportunities this summer.
The NBA and the NHL announced earlier this month that they would be resuming their 2019-20 seasons at the end of July. Major League Baseball also announced that it will be starting its season on either July 23 or July 24.
Sportsbooks have been struggling to find sporting events to offer bets on, but that won’t be the case soon. Launching mobile sports betting even earlier than October would create a huge boom in the Michigan sports betting industry.