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Michigan daily fantasy sports are operational, even though there is technically no law that permits them to do so. Players are free to access top DFS sites, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, even though those purveyors aren’t formally regulated by the state.
Daily fantasy regulation efforts also faltered in late 2018 when elected officials couldn’t finalize a legalization proposal. This distinction is more important for regulators than fantasy players. Michigan DFS is fully accessible for players who can enjoy the games without worries of legal repercussions.
Michigan sports betting remains illegal despite a groundswell of support. Sports betting seemed to strike a major breakthrough as of Christmas Day 2018. Instead, an unexpected legislative maneuver left Michiganders without legal sports betting options and lawmakers with a tough road for legalized wagering in the near future.
The Michigan legislature reached consensus on a sweeping gaming expansion bill in December 2018 that would permit real-money online casino and poker games, and provide the foundation for a new regulatory board to explore sports betting. Online gaming backers of all varieties seemed like big winners until outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the legislation in one of his last days in office. Snyder attributed the veto to fears the new gaming opportunities would cannibalize revenues with the existing state-run lottery, which is required to reallocate part of its revenue back to the government.
Incoming Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and a host of first-time legislators took office in January 2019, resetting the legislative playing field and causing gaming backers to scramble trying to coble together a new coalition of supporters. The first effort took several years, and it may be several more years until they reach a similar consensus.
As in other states that have slogged through gaming legislation efforts, there are a wide variety of stakeholders with competing interests that complicate efforts. The state lottery, commercial casinos and Native American casinos are all among the groups potentially interested in legal sports betting. Any legislation would likely have to balance their interests or risk alienating a key stakeholder group.
Michigan is one of the few states with a year-round legislative session, so a new proposal could be introduced before the end of 2019. Interested sports bettors should continue to closely monitor Gambling.com for the latest developments.
But sports betting in Michigan hasn’t gained much traction since Snyder’s veto, and it appears legal wagering on sporting events won’t come to the Wolverine State anytime soon.
Real-money online casino gaming is not legal in Michigan, even though it seemed like a sure bet in 2018. Now it’s mired in the same doldrums as the state’s sports betting industry.
The online casino bill would have given Michigan a wide range of iGaming options, including slots and table games. Even with lawmakers’ support, Snyder’s veto derailed that possibility before it could begin.
Michigan still advanced online casino gaming further than nearly every other state. The incoming freshman class of lawmakers are continuing to become more acclimated to the political realities in Lansing, and there remains hope this latest group can reach the same support for gaming as did its predecessor.
Those hopes have not manifested so far. The latest iGaming bills remain stalled in the legislature with little indication when, or if, they’ll take any significant steps toward legalization.
Michigan’s would-be real-money online casino players will have to be content with commercial casinos in Detroit or a host of Native American gaming centers spread across the state.
Real-money online poker sites in Michigan are still not legal, sharing the same fate as sports betting and online casino gaming. Michigan online poker appeared on the cusp of legalization but now exists in the same haze as other internet-gaming options.
Interest in online poker remains even if the political environment has so far prevented that from coming into reality. Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have all legalized real-money poker, and Michigan is among a handful of states that could join this group. Sports betting and iGaming legalization talks continue, making poker a logical rider on any gaming expansion effort.
Gambling.com will continue to provide insight and analysis on the most important developments for online poker in Michigan.
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Michigan’s troubles permitting online gambling are surprising given its history as one of the earlier adopters of most new gaming forms.
Gambling in Michigan largely mirrors the nation as a whole, with the state typically among the first jurisdictions to approve the most prominent forms of gaming in each era.
This begins back in the 1930s, when Michigan established regulated pari-mutuel horse racing, which at the time was a leading source of not just gaming revenue, but state revenue overall.
When horse racing’s popularity began to fade in ensuing decades, Michigan turned to a state-sanctioned lottery. Following the lead of Northeastern States, Michigan became the sixth state to create a modern lottery and the first in the Midwest. It now generates billions of dollars in sales each year.
That continued with casino gaming. Michigan’s Native American tribes were among the first to open casinos. A decade later, lawmakers approved three commercial casinos in Detroit, the state’s largest urban center.
The next frontier for Michigan gaming is a robust online market. Though this hasn’t come to fruition now, Michigan’s long history of progressive gambling action points to hopes for legal internet gaming – hopefully before too long.
In one of his final acts as governor, Rick Snyder vetoes a series of massive gaming expansion bills that would have legalized real-money online casino gaming and paved the way for future expansion.
The first significant push for legal sports betting begins in the legislature, even though a federal ban in place at the time handicaps any hope for the bill coming into law.
Laws to explicitly ban online gambling are ratified and subsequently repealed.
The first casino in the state, MGM Grand, opens its doors.
Lawmakers create the Michigan Gaming Control Board to govern the trio of new commercial casinos in Detroit.
Three commercial casinos are legalized by an act of the legislature. Greektown Casino Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino Hotel all open in the following years.
The first Native American casinos open on federally recognized sovereign land after the U.S. government permits expanded gaming options on tribal lands.
Michigan becomes one of the earlier adopters of the modern state-sanctioned lottery.
Pari-mutuel horse racing is legalized, largely as a means to bolster state revenues in the midst of the Great Depression.
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