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Michigan Plans Sports Betting Launch Ahead of Schedule

On Monday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) announced a very optimistic forecast. MGCB officials said they were going to launch online sports betting in October 2020, which would be four months ahead of schedule.

MGCB Deputy Director David Murley said, “I think there is a general feeling that commercial casinos, tribal governments, the executive branch, and many legislative leaders want to move these rules along. Right now, the way we’re moving, the month of October is realistic to get the rules to the legislature and get licensing done, as well.”

According to the timeline released by the MGCB, it will only be necessary to have 250 calendar days to get the rules finalized. The rules and regulations pertaining to sports betting were put together in January 2020. The officials from the MGCB said on Tuesday that there are a few factors beyond their control.

MGCB and Governor Want the Quickest Path Possible For Sports Betting

Murley explained on Tuesday via a virtual meeting that “There is a certain urgency now to get things that can raise money for the state, through the legislature.” Earlier this year, Murley and other officials with the MGCB said the process of getting the rules in order would take 373 calendar days. However, now there are changes and obviously a different set of circumstances, Murley said.

The initial timeline for when online sports betting would be operational in Michigan was February 2021, just in time for the Superbowl. Murley said after the pandemic caused every type of financial loss imaginable, we had to go back to the drawing board.

The MGCB has been carefully watching to see when major sports would be back. The NFL announced the start of their season on September 10th. With an October launch, Murley said players in Michigan would be able to place NFL bets by Week 4 of the season.

A Launch 4 Months Early Is Actually a Big Deal

Murley said that people may not think that launching mobile sports betting four months early is that big of a deal, but it actually is. Another MGCB official said on Tuesday that with the virus, there could still be a lot of changes to starting dates for sports. “We basically have to take everything day by day,” the officials said.

Murley said during the Tuesday meeting, “Even if other sports have delays due to the virus, we are still going to launch in October, because players will have the opportunity to place bets on sports and iGaming.”

Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer backs sports betting for the state and signed the bill in December of 2019. The state’s biggest sports betting supporter is State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. Hertel also took part in the Tuesday meeting, saying “At this point, I feel confident that it will be done in a time frame that is in the best interest of the people of Michigan.” Hertel continued, “We would like to have online sports betting running in time for Week 1 of the NFL season, but we will be very close.”

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