By Connor Lannen
The future is here and the days of having to go to Las Vegas to place a bet on a ball game are gone. A bill was passed in December 2019, to legalize sports gambling as well as online gambling and after a little over a year, sports betting and online gambling has been rolled out through various platforms in Michigan.
Casinos were approved to open sportsbooks before online gambling was approved, however, due to the pandemic there was not much traffic at in-person sportsbooks. Now you can place a bet, mere minutes before tip-off from the comfort of your own couch, without having to worry about contracting COVID-19.
“It’s awesome,” said Tyler Fuchs, a 22 year old, Grand Valley State University student. “I’m a huge sports fan but find it difficult to get into games that aren’t (featuring) the teams I root for. With sports betting I can find entertainment in a random college basketball game on a tuesday night, by throwing a small bet on the game.”
The legalization of sports betting has several positive aspects, other than the average fan garnering entertainment. The casino industry has been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that have been imposed. Even with casinos being allowed to be open, it is hard to say how many people feel comfortable going to a casino.
The new additions of online gambling and sports gambling create a new stream of revenue for the local casinos and the national sportsbook providers, who partnered with the tribal casinos to open sportsbooks.
The taxes generated from sports betting and iGaming will also be allocated to different beneficial sectors for the state of Michigan. 30% of non tribal taxes will be put towards the city of Detroit. 20% of iGaming, tribal taxes will be put towards the tribal local governing body.
“It is fun but the ease to bet and play in the icasino makes it a little bit dangerous,” Fuchs said. “I have to make sure I’m only betting what I can afford to lose.
There is a strong point to be made around the potential for a strong increase in addiction as it is so much easier to gamble now.
Mary Kay Bean, media spokesperson for the Michigan Gaming Control Board, said in an interview with The Collegiate that there are requirements for gaming sites that are designed to provide some safeguards.
“The providers’ sites must include responsible gaming settings, including the ability to sign up for betting limits, ability to self-exclude temporarily, reminders of time you have been on the website and displaying the problem gaming hotline,” Bean said.
The sites are doing what they can to provide as much gambling addiction help within the infrastructure of the platforms. Still, the sites are trying to generate as much revenue as possible, meaning responsibility will be on the patrons using the platforms.
Bean provided The Collegiate with the best gambling addiction resources for people in Michigan struggling with addiction.
“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services operates the state’s problem gambling assistance program, which is funded by the various forms of gaming,” Bean said. “It operates the 24-hour problem gambling hotline, 1-800-270-7117, mentioned above. The MGCB offers information on problem gambling on our website.”
There are currently 12 sportsbook providers in Michigan, all providers must be linked through a tribal or state casino. There will be a maximum of 15 sportsbook providers once all operators and providers are approved.