PlayUSA Rewind: Michigan Hits Fast Forward On Online Sports Betting

Written By Grant Lucas on July 1, 2020 - Last Updated on December 6, 2023
State of Michigan

Another week down, another week of headlines filled with COVID-19. More spikes in cases across the nation.

It’s obviously a frightening time, and we hope you are maintaining sufficient caution to help curb the trend.

Somehow, too, another week filled with gambling-related news, including another state that is ready to speed up its timeline for online sports betting.

On to the Rewind:

Michigan online sports betting fast-tracked

The coronavirus pandemic has been brutal. Like many industries, gaming has taken massive hits, what with casino closures and whatnot.

Arguably some silver lining has emerged as some states have fast-tracked consideration/launch of legalized online gambling. On the heels of Illinois betting, Michigan sports betting is reportedly on the verge of integrating mobile platforms.

Like every other state, Michigan was forced to close casinos due to health concerns. Unfortunately, the state had just debuted retail sports betting.

Now, it seems as if regulators are ready to put a more aggressive timeline in place to get online gambling up and running.

During a recent meeting of the Michigan Gaming Control BoardDavid Murley, deputy director of the board, said “there’s a general feeling” that stakeholders are ready to “move these rules along.” As such, “the way we’re moving,” October stands out as a realistic target date to put rules in place and get licensing done.

If the timeline is met, legal online sports betting could arrive in Michigan four months ahead of its original target of February 2021.

Wire Act appeal begins in First Circuit

Remember the Wire Act? Thought it was all behind us? Nope.

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit began hearing arguments (via teleconference) regarding the scope and enforcement of the federal Wire Act.

If you recall, the US Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel crafted an opinion in late 2018 that would criminalize online gaming such as lottery sales and multi-state poker. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission, along with other parties, filed an initial lawsuit soon after challenging that opinion. After a judge ruled against the DOJ, the department filed an appeal.

And here we are.

Counsel for the government emphasized that there is “no threat of enforcement against” the parties that filed the lawsuit. In answering a judge’s question, counsel noted that the government’s stance is that the Wire Act is not limited to sports betting but also that it is not willing to take a position on the legality of state lotteries under the Wire Act.

Other than examining the punctuation used by Congress when writing the Wire Act 60 years ago, this was the focus of the first hearing. And it remains the DOJ’s position: The act applies to non-sports gambling.

As for the plaintiffs, and as illustrated by Online Poker Report, they already convinced a judge once that the implied threat of enforcement by the federal government was “sufficient to seek relief.”

As it was last year, this will not be the last we hear about the Wire Act.

FanDuel joins SportsGrid’s 24-hour sports betting network

FanDuel Group just keeps making deals.

Not long after FanDuel Sportsbook became the first legal sports betting operator to partner with a team in the NFL, its parent company announced “a strategic content and distribution partnership” with video streaming network SportsGrid.

The result is FanDuel — as the exclusive sportsbook, casino, racing and fantasy sports partner — getting in on a 24-hour network dedicated to analysis and coverage of sports betting.

The multi-year agreement between the two parties grants FanDuel access digital distribution, broadcast, syndication and radio assets across SportsGrid’s network, which includes XUMOPlutoTVThe Roku Channel and STIRR.

FanDuel and SportsGrid will team up to develop over 50 hours of original video and audio content each month regarding daily fantasy and sports betting. To boot, SportsGrid will actively promote FanDuel odds, data and promotions.

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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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