Online Gambling Set to Launch in Michigan as Casino Revenues Fall
Casino revenue in Detroit was down a massive 56.1% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic; however, there is hope for the industry with the iGaming market due to launch very soon.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) have released figures showing that Detroit’s three casinos, the MGM Resorts’ MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Penn National Gaming’s Greektown, brought in combined revenue of $639 million last year, down from $1.45 billion in 2019.
MGM saw the biggest decline, with table games and slots revenues down 58.8% to $257.1 million. MotorCity did not do much better, with a decline of 54.9% while Greektown saw a fall of 58.3%.
The casinos’ retail sports betting brought in $18.3 million to 2020’s total. While this is not a huge figure, it is hardly surprising considering that the casinos were forced to shut for close to five months in the middle of the year and there was a second closure in November and December.
Earlier this week, the MGCB held a public meeting at which they discussed the date of the launch of legal online gambling in the state. However, the MCBG chief exec director Richard Kalm said that it isn’t possible to give an exact date as it is changing on a daily basis.
He explained that the board is gathering information each day to help make a decision and suggested that there would be an announcement regarding the launch date and the approved online gambling licensees by January 18. It is widely thought that the launch will happen this month, giving residents of the state the chance to place online bets for the 2021 Super Bowl.
However, even after the MGCB has announced the launch date, it will still be four or five more days before operators can start accepting bets. During that time, mobile operators will be required to pass final testing and certification. The state’s sports betting law also stipulates that at least one commercial casino and one Native American casino must receive their online betting licenses before wagering can start.
As the tenth-largest state by population, it is expected that Michigan will be one of the country’s largest sports betting markets. Furthermore, it will be the second most populated state to offer both online sports betting and iGaming, behind Pennsylvania.