Sport betting shutting down in Michigan
The sports betting industry in Michigan has had an interesting start since March 2020, and things have taken a turn for the worse once again.
The COVID-19 pandemic is once again wreaking havoc in the state, forcing the three commercial casinos and sportsbooks to shut down.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Sunday that all of the commercial casinos would be shutting down for a period of three weeks, beginning on Wednesday. There are several tribal casinos in the state, and those locations don’t have to follow the same guidelines.
Michigan took these same measures this spring when the initial spike was taking place throughout the country. Now, the spike has returned to the state, forcing Governor Whitmer to take these drastic measures.
These shutdowns not only affect the casino industry in the state, but the sports betting industry will be affected as well. Michigan has not yet launched online or mobile sports betting, and the retail sportsbooks are the only place to bet.
Professional and college sporting events are still allowed to continue throughout the state, but fans have not been able to attend since March. That will remain the case, but now sports bettors won’t be able to bet on their favorite in-state teams.
Michigan has approved online and mobile sports betting, but that industry has not yet launched. IGaming with online MI casinos has also been approved by the lawmakers in the state, but that industry is not yet up and running either.
There was hope that both industries would launch at some point before the end of 2020, but an official launch date has not yet been set. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge throughout the state, look for operators to attempt to speed up a launch to save the industry.
Several different operators have already been approved for an online sports betting or iGaming license, and several already offer this service in other states. FanDuel and DraftKings are currently offering customers a bonus to pre-register for an account at each site, and this offer will end when the first bet is placed.
Layoffs Could Be Coming
Michigan appears to be the first state in the country that announced the official closure of casinos and gaming properties. Unlike in the spring, most other states have simply limited operating hours and reduced capacity, but Michigan has gone the other route.
The three commercial casinos in Detroit were among the first in the US to open back up on Aug. 5, but they could only operate at 15 percent capacity. The current shutdown order lasts through Dec. 8, but it could always be extended by Whitmer.
Casinos have not yet announced plans to lay off workers because of this shutdown, but it would have to be a possibility. Most casino workers were furloughed at some point during the first wave of the pandemic, and that could be an option again.
The 24 tribal casinos have not yet announced their plans regarding this executive order, but they will not be forced to close.
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