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Michigan nears launch of online sports betting, other games

By The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan casinos could launch online sports betting and gambling games in December once state lawmakers waive the remaining time they have to review proposed licensing rules.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which has 10 legislators, will effectively bless the new regulations at a meeting Tuesday, said the chairman, Republican Sen. Pete Lucido. The expected move will come nearly a year after the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer legalized internet gambling and wagering on sports.

Sports bettors were able to place wagers in person at some casinos beginning this past spring. But mobile sports betting, internet poker and other online games must wait until the three commercial casinos in Detroit, 24 tribal casinos and suppliers such as FanDuel and Barstool receive state licenses.

“Everybody wants to get this thing going,” Lucido, of Macomb County’s Shelby Township, told The Associated Press. “This is something that’s long overdue at this point. It’s being done in other states. We’re losing opportunity costs.”

He noted that Detroit’s casinos, closed due to state coronavirus restrictions, would benefit from being able to offer mobile options.

“If we hear the waiver request was approved by JCAR, we are hopeful that online gaming and sports betting can start this year,” said Mary Kay Bean, spokeswoman for the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Licensing will begin as soon as the rules are filed with the secretary of state, at which point they will take effect immediately.

Some gambling and technology executives have estimated that 90% of sports betting in the U.S. will be done over mobile phones or the internet in the next four to nine years.

BetMGM spokeswoman Elisa Richardson said the operator was “eagerly awaiting” the approval of the regulations and would work with regulators to launch the app through the MGM Grand Detroit casino “shortly thereafter.”

DraftKings and the Detroit Pistons announced a deal Monday making the betting operator the NBA team’s official partner before DraftKings’ launch in Michigan.

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