Michigan’s online gambling market could launch within a week say gaming regulators from the state.
According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board Richard Kalm said Tuesday that the announcement of online betting could come within days.
“I’m cautiously optimistic we’re going to have something this week or the very first part of next week to relay to the public,” said Kalm. “I know it seems slow to the public, but from our perspective, the regulatory perspective, we just cannot launch new types of gaming until we have rules in place to protect the integrity of that gaming.”
The board will be approving the first operation licenses very soon. After that, licensed operators will need a few days before going live with their platforms.
Michigan residents have been waiting patiently for the rollout after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill that legalized both online gambling and brick-and-mortar sports betting in December 2019. The retail sports betting portion of that legislation launched in March but was quickly shutdown when Whitmer shuttered the casino market in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
There were rumors that online gambling could come as quickly as last November, but regulators were unable to finalize the rules and it was pushed back to early 2021.
Whitmer also signed a bill that will allow Michigan’s online poker player pool to join compacts with other states. However, Kalm said that poker players will have to wait before competing with players outside of Michigan.
“I don’t expect that to be launched anytime soon,” said Kalm. “In fact, maybe the end of 2021.”
Other reports indicate that Kalm has already had discussions with regulators in New Jersey about sharing players pools. Since PokerStars is one of the only operators with both a provisional license in Michigan and an existing player pool elsewhere, there could be a new compact coming at the end of the year.
Currently, the only online poker compact is with Caesars’ WSOP.com in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.