NEW BUFFALO, Michigan – January 22nd2021 Michigan debuted online gaming and sports betting, with both going live.
Both were enacted in 2019 – then came the pandemic – but those behind its rollout say it has actually accelerated this new industry becoming a reality.
“People were hungry for entertainment,” said Michael Bickel, director of sports betting and internet gaming at Four Winds Casino.
The deployment also sparked the interest of a whole new group of people.
“It brings in people who didn’t have an interest before, but now know they can do it from their couch,” Bickel said.
The group behind it all was the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
They only check tribal casinos, but oversee all online gaming, and said the pandemic has allowed them to focus on launching the game.
“Once we were confident that we could regulate it and that it could be done safely, it was just a matter of letting them know when they could go live,” said Richard Kalm, executive director of Michigan Gaming. Control Board.
The economic impact, says Kalm, has exceeded expectations.
“Platforms that allow people not only to bet on sports, but also to play online slots, online blackjack and online gambling, this is where the real money is for the world. ‘State,’ Kalm said.
In April, the Michigan Gaming Control Board said internet gaming operators reported $ 94 million in gross revenue, while internet sports betting operators had $ 20 million in gross revenue.
Taxes – which are based on adjusted gross receipts – were $ 88 million for online gaming and $ 10 million for online sports betting, or $ 18 million in payments to the state in April alone. .
While this money supports the state’s economy, it is also impacting some of the cities that need it most.
One of the commercial casinos regulated by the Gaming Control Board is the MGM Grand in Detroit.
They are right in the heart of the Motor City and have been a constant source of income.
Online gambling, they say, will only increase this.
“Each year, casinos make up about 17% of the city of Detroit budget, with online gaming a portion of our profit goes to the Detroit local government and in the first four months alone we have donated over $ 18. , $ 5 million to the state, ”said Louie Theros, vice president, legal counsel to MGM Grand Detroit.
Here at home, the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi continues to contribute to Michiana’s schools, healthcare facilities and further development through Four Winds retail and online revenue.
Tribes and commercial casinos also recognize a responsibility they have in this new industry.
“We want it to be part of someone’s entertainment budget, no different than a dinner party or a show, but we want people to play responsibly,” Theros said.
“On the app you can set limits for your game, only deposit or bet a certain amount every day, week or month, you can set a time limit even for the number of minutes you play, we have also rest periods, “said Bickel
While continuing to invest in the atmosphere that is unique to being on the floor.
“There will be cross-marketing that will happen where, if you play online, you will get a promotion that takes you back into the retail casino,” Kalm said. “That’s what the New Jersey models showed, it’s actually traffic to the casinos, and I think Michigan will be able to replicate that.”
In addition to casinos, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has run campaigns in recent years to tackle gambling issues.
Some of the resources they offer are a helpline, anonymous players, and even the ability to get you kicked out of Detroit casinos for good.