Michigan was poised to become the fifth state to legalize online gambling in 2018 before outgoing Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill overwhelmingly passed by the state legislature that would have brought the state’s casinos online. A new governor from a different party has replaced Snyder, however, so the state is still likely to advance a measure to legalize online gambling in the near future given the extensive bipartisan support for the bill. New Governor Gretchen Whitmer has not said she would support the effort, but the candidate that she defeated was an avowed opponent of online gambling.
The state does have some forms of online gambling already. Michigan online gambling is currently limited to the iLottery. The iLottery was initially launched with Instant Keno and electronic scratch-off equivalents but, now in its fifth year, the ILottery has more than 30 instant-win games that function similar to slot games offered at online casinos.
There are no other legal MI gambling sites at the moment but the state does offer three commercial casinos and 17 tribal reservation casinos, as well as multiple horse tracks where betting is permitted. Despite a setback in 2018, it is highly likely that Michigan will advance towards legalizing online gambling by 2020.
Sports Betting in MI
The Michigan online gambling push would have also legalized online sports betting on MI gambling sites, but this too will have to wait until the legislature takes the issue up again in 2019. Sports betting in Michigan is currently limited to physical permitted gambling locations though the Supreme Court in 2018 cleared the way to legalize MI gambling sites offering sports betting when it lifted a federal law that effectively barred online sports betting outside of Nevada. New Jersey, West Virginia, and Delaware became the first states to legalize online sports betting after the decision.
Online Casino in MI
Michigan online gambling is restricted to the state’s iLottery, but over the five years that it has been legal it has transformed into something of a pseudo-online casino, offering more than 30 instant win games that function similarly to slots. If the state does pass a bill to legalize online gambling, MI gambling sites would likely be limited to those offered by the 20 commercial and tribal casinos that already operate in the state, offering slots, table games, poker, and live dealer games.
Online Poker in MI
Technically Michigan does not have any laws prohibiting online poker but the state does not sanction it either. Online poker was included in the vetoed online gambling bill. Poker in Michigan is currently limited to the three commercial casinos and 17 tribal casinos in the state. Lawmakers appeared optimistic at the prospect of passing the bill again but other issues may take precedent before the legislature can take up the gambling issue once more.
Online Gambling in the US Status
Online gambling has been legalized in numerous states in various forms over the last decade and more states are now eager to legalize online sports betting now that the federal ban has been lifted. New Jersey offers the most online gambling options in the country, offering well over a dozen online casinos and at least nine online sportsbooks, but all of these are limited to players in the state.
Delaware has also legalized and launched online casino, poker, and sports betting sites. Pennsylvania has legalized online sports betting and online casinos but they will launch later in 2019. West Virginia legalized online sports betting after the court decision and some apps have already launched. Nevada has legalized online poker and allows players inside the state to bet on sports on mobile apps but other forms of gambling are limited to physical casinos.
Along with Michigan online gambling, states moving toward legalization of online gambling include California, New York, and Massachusetts.