It looks like online gambling in Michigan is going to be delayed. As the process moved forward this year, it seemed that services would launch before the end of 2020. However, hold ups have taken place and now, officials feel the new industry will be live by early 2021.
Early last week, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules waived the normal 15-day session waiting period to see the online gaming rules approved. This was one step that needed to be completed in order for gaming to launch.
Richard Kalm, the Michigan Gaming Control Board, is now reporting that gaming will not launch online for another six weeks. Kalm recently spoke with MLive, to reveal the latest details on the process. Still to be completed is the licensing approval. Operators and platform providers that want to offer services in the state must be approved for licensing.
Now that the rules have been finalized, licensing can move forward. Companies seeking licensing must provide approval letters after testing by independent labs to show they meet the technical requirements set by the state.
If the waiver had not been signed to remove the 15-day waiting period, the process would have taken much longer. Rules would have been submitted in January which would mean new lawmakers would be reviewing them after they come into office.
Breaking Down the Remainder of the Process
In the phone interview, Kalm said that the whole process is dependent on the paperwork being submitted by operators and platform providers. The board will complete provisional licensing once the paperwork is completed. The background checks will continue, and then full licensing should be provided once operators pass inspection.
Platforms must ensure they submit software to testing labs and all requirements are met. This will take a little bit of time to complete. According to Kalm, the labs will need to go through the software with a fine-toothed comb to ensure they are compliant.
At first, Kalm felt the process would be complete in four weeks. However, it looks like now, it will be around six weeks to completion. There is also a stipulation in place that requires a commercial casino and tribal casino to be approved for licensing before gaming can begin.
This step was put in place to make sure the new industry is fair to both commercial and tribal operators. In the state, there are only three commercial casinos and they are located in Detroit. There are over 20 tribal venues.
Kalm reiterated that there is nothing major standing in the way of the industry coming to fruition. All that remains is the licensing process. The board has reportedly been issues vendor and supplier licensing daily so the substructure is in place for the industry to begin.
Hopefully, the process continues to run smoothly and by early 2021, Michigan will join the growing online gambling industry within the United States. They will be the latest in a string of launches in the nation as more states see the benefit of offering iGaming.