PlayUSA Rewind: Impending Michigan Sports Betting Tops US Gambling News

Written By Grant Lucas on December 17, 2019 - Last Updated on February 23, 2021

The holidays: A time for merriment, for joy, for celebration.

A time to give and to give thanks. A time known for miracles and Kodak moments.

Make no mistake about it, the same elements that you find in every Christmas movie ever made also apply to US gambling news these days.

There is no day off, it seems. The machine is always in motion. And this holiday season, uplifting news abounds.

Legal Michigan sports betting is a small step away

Merry Christmas, Wolverines. It appears online sports betting in Michigan is a mere signature away from legalization.

The bill to do such, allowing Michigan to regulate retail and online wagering, breezed through the Senate by a 35-3 vote. With the House of Representatives expected to agree with any changes made, only the mighty pen of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer separates the state from legalized sports betting.

As reported by Legal Sports Report, the governor is expected to sign the legislation in short order.

As the bill is written, Michigan’s three commercial and 23 tribal casinos would have the opportunity to offer betting. Each operator, though, will be afforded just one online skin.

Licensing fees include $50,000 for the initial application, $100,000 for the actual license, and then a $50,000 annual renewal fee.

Much of the state’s taxed revenue (a rate of 8.4% that increases by 1.25% for commercial casinos) will benefit Michigan’s School Aid Fund. To boot, some $2 million will go toward the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund each year.

The state will require official league data for in-play wagers. Overshadowed by all of this: Daily fantasy sports also becomes legal.

WSOP hints at future relationship with Pennsylvania

I mean, the World Series of Poker didn’t not confirm that it has no future in Pennsylvania.

Each winter, the WSOP announces dates and plans for the following year. Among them, as announced by WSOP parent company Caesars, is the summer poker series, slated for May 26 through July 15. The headlining tournament, aka the $10,000 buy-in Main Event, goes from July 1 to July 14 in Las Vegas.

The interesting takeaway, though, was not about what was announced, rather what wasn’t announced.

Just after Halloween, PokerStars debuted the first legal online poker platform in Pennsylvania. With such a large state and market, it was assumed the PA would enter the WSOP future planning. Alas, the poker group did not mention Pennsylvania in 2020. That said, as tracked down by PlayPennsylvania, not all is lost.

A WSOP spokesperson noted that the company does not comment on markets in which WSOP is not licensed and operational. Harrah’s Philadelphia has its licensing but has yet to launch online poker. Time still remains for PA inclusion.

Remember, this past year’s online bracelet schedule emerged as late as February 2019.

New Jersey sports betting kills to tune of half a billion

Somehow, New Jersey sports betting continues to find ways to grow.

With still a month left of 2019 to account for, the Garden State has eclipsed more than $4 billion in accepted wagers this year. But no month in the young history of the industry matched up to November.

With still-rising powers FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook again leading the charge, New Jersey operators accepted a whopping $562.6 million in bets last month. Of that record-breaking total, some 86% of wagers came online.

For perspective, the previous state record for a single month stood at $488 million (set the previous month); and Nevada took in more than $581 million in November 2018.

It has been no secret that New Jersey has been the standard-setter in this new world of state-sanctioned sports betting. Yet somehow, the state continues to find ways to impress.

Aside from the jaw-dropping revenue numbers, consider these past 12 months, during which time New Jersey went from eight online sportsbooks to 17 mobile platforms.

On top of it all, there is little chance New Jersey doesn’t set another record in the near future. After all, Super Bowl LIV is less than two months away.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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