Michigan Issues 15 Licenses to Support Commercial and Tribal Casinos

As tribal and commercial casinos in the state of Michigan get ready for the expected market launch early next year, the regulator hastily pushes forward the approval of provisional licenses for 15 operators to support successful applicants within the iGaming and sports betting vertical.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has launched a rapid licensing process in May to establish the market in due time and some of the featured applicants include the American Wagering division of William Hill, Golden Nugget, Scientific Digital, Parx Interactive and FanDuel.

Other Requirements Still Pending

Among the applicants in the Great Lake State is also Penn National Gaming, who secured a license for its subsidiary Penn Sports Interactive. Likewise, PointsBet, Rush Street Interactive, Sports Information Services, GAN and DraftKings’ Crown Gaming brand have also received the approval.

As reported, applicants such as Churchill Downs (TwinSpires division), The Stars Group’s Fox Bet brand, Wynn Sports and BetMGM, the brand operated by the Roar Digital joint venture between Entain – formerly GVC – and MGM Resorts International are also among the operators that will likely launch in the newly regulated market in 2021.

Executive director at the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Richard Kalm, commented:

“The MGCB now can approve provisional licenses following the filing of the administrative rules for online gaming and sports betting December 2 with the Office of the Great Seal.”

Kalm added:

“The platform providers still must meet other regulatory requirements before online gaming and sports betting can launch in Michigan. The launch date will depend on how quickly they can fulfil the requirements.”

However, before the official launch next year, all sports betting platforms in the state of Michigan must fulfill additional regulatory requirements, such as independent testing of services and games. Also, each operator must secure a specific MGCB approval for internal controls. Lastly, providers are obliged to secure occupational licenses for certain employees.

“The platform providers’ ability to meet the requirements of the laws and rules will determine which entities can be licensed for launch first,” noted Kalm.

A Revenue Drop in November

The sudden confirmation of 15 provisional licenses comes right after the latest report from the state’s gaming control board this week, which revealed a significant revenue drop from three commercial casinos in Detroit. According to the MGCB, the numbers are more than halved in November, as the total revenue for the month from table games, slots and sports wagering barely amounted to $50.4 million. The drop is down for about 50.3% from $101.4 million, generated by the properties in October.

At the beginning of 2020, the state decided to close 14 illegal gambling facilities, charged with organizing redemption games in an unlawfull manner. The investigators uncovered 14 illegal establishments that offered casino-designated video slot machines. However, despite the enormous effort of Dana Nessel’s department (attorney general) to shut down these so-called gambling parlors, two of them have been relaunched.

It is expected that the regulated market in 2021 will encourage underground operators and residents to engage in legal sports betting activities.


“Michigan issues 15 provisional online sports betting and igaming licenses”, Rob Fletcher, igbnorthamerica.com, December 11th, 2020.

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