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Analysts Predict $650 Million In Annual Revenue For Michigan Online Gambling

Michigan Regulators Are Expecting To Launch Online Platforms In Late 2020 Or Early 2021


Online poker, sports betting and casinos could generate $650 million in annual revenue, according to analysts at MichiganSharp.

Those numbers would put Michigan as one of the most prosperous states for online gambling, on par with Pennsylvania’s numbers and at about 60 percent of what New Jersey, the clear leader in the online gaming space, has done during the coronavirus-induced brick-and-mortar casino shutdown.

Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey experienced record online revenues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, the most recent month with data available, online operators in the Keystone State won $55.8 million in June, while Garden State operators netted $84.9 million.

The annual projections for Michigan break down to about $54 million per month. It remains to be seen if the online numbers for New Jersey and Pennsylvania will continue to sustain record levels after brick-and-mortar casinos return at full capacity.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law last December that legalized sports betting, both online and retail, and online casinos, including poker.

Regulators began accepting applications for online gambling licenses in May and have told media outlets that if everything went smoothly, a late 2020 launch isn’t out of the question. An early 2021 launch is more likely.

Brick-and-mortar sports betting launched in mid-March, just a few days before Whitmer ordered casinos to close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill mandates that any online operator must have a Michigan-based brick-and-mortar partner. New Jersey’s leading online casino, Golden Nugget, partnered with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community last month. The move indicates that the most successful online casino in the country believes that Michigan is a budding market for online gaming.

With regards to online poker, it appears that regulators don’t have the appetite to join the shared player pool with New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. There is a decent chance that could change if the New Hampshire Lottery wins its lawsuit against the Department of Justice over its most recent interpretation of the Wire Act.

The DOJ released a memo at the start of 2019 which stated that all forms of interstate online gambling would be illegal. Not only would that rule out the possibility of any shared online poker player pools, but it would also make many state lotteries, like Powerball, illegal.

A U.S. District Court Judge struck down the latest interpretation, but the DOJ filed an appeal last August. The legal battle is likely to be a lengthy process, which will mean that Michigan is almost certain to follow Pennsylvania’s lead and launch as an intrastate player pool until there is further clarification from the feds.