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Online casino gaming and sports betting legal in Michigan

Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 5:57 PM EST
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Mich. (WNDU) - Online casino gaming and sports betting is now legal and well within reach in the State of Michigan.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has authorized 11 operators in the past three and a half weeks.

Today at noon, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians was authorized to join the fold through a partnership with PALA Interactive, LLC.

Michigan is now one of only four states in the U.S. where online casino gaming and online sports betting are both legal.

“You know, anybody in Indiana, or Ohio, or whatever, can download the app, but they aren’t going to be able to place a bet until they’re in, physically in the state to do so,” Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard Kalm told 16 News Now in a telephone interview.

Max Bichsel of Gambling.Com agrees. “The geolocation technology is extremely advanced. It can tell you where you’re at within two to three feet so you have to be within the confines of the state to make it legal.”

Michigan legalized online casino and online sports betting in December of 2019, but only now are the regulations in place to go live.

The move promises to bring substantial returns, according to Max Bichsel. “In a state like New Jersey, sports betting brought in about $400 million in revenue, where internet or online casino games are bringing about $1 billion in revenues. So, it’s pretty substantial.”

Equally substantial are concerns about possible casino cannibalization.

“There’s a different environment. Some people go to a casino for the entertainment value of it. If you’re wagering online, you’re there to gamble so it is a little different. I don’t expect it, at least right now, within the next couple years to ever cannibalize the land-based casino business but at some point, I do expect it to reach parity,” said Bichsel.

“There was a concern of that. That there was going to be some self-cannibalization. Because why would you go to a casino now if you could conduct all that gaming online?” questioned Kalm. “So, I think the reach is for the 25 to 35 demographic who are very well versed in mobile phones, mobile applications to allow them to participate in casino gaming where they’re comfortable.”

Michigan law allows those 21 years and older to take part in online gambling.

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