PlayUSA Rewind: Trouble In Michigan As Online Sports Betting Likely Pushed To 2021

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on November 17, 2020 - Last Updated on December 30, 2020

It’s never a good idea to cling to hope, especially when it comes to politics. Save that raw emotion for something that can’t be impacted by political swine.

Those who held out hope that Michigan online sports betting and iGaming would arrive by Thanksgiving will be devastated to know the odds aren’t looking good.

On top of online wagering in Michigan, this week’s rewind also includes college betting in New Jersey and operator applications flooding Virginia. 

On the rewind:

Michigan online sports betting arriving in 2021?

Experts wondered if enough time was left this year to get online sports betting and iGaming up and running. Well, it appears there isn’t.

As our friends over at PlayMichigan have pointed out, things might become a matter of priority in the Joint Committee of Administrative Rules (JCAR), where the sports betting rules currently reside. The JCAR has a maximum of 15 session days to study the rules and discuss, alter, or object to them, or send the law back to the state gaming board.

However, a legislative session day is only counted when both chambers meet, and attendance is counted.

The committee has had the rules since Oct. 8, but so far, none of the 10 members of the JCAR have publicly said anything about them. If the 15-day window clocks out, then the process begins again when both chambers meet next year.

The takeaway: There aren’t enough legislative days on the calendar to get rules and regulations passed — period. If lawmakers have had the rules since Oct. 8 and nothing has happened since, that means sports betting and iGaming are at the bottom of the list.

New Jersey might be one step closer to college sports betting

As we previously mentioned, discussions were underway in Trenton to figure out how to allow betting on collegiate sports. We knew a constitutional amendment was needed and that locals would have to eventually vote on the change.

The issue became time-sensitive when the NCAA announced that the 2025 men’s basketball East Regional would be held in Newark. The wheels of government are slow turning, so lawmakers decided no better time than the present.

But there is good news. The proposed constitutional amendment, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Paul Sarlo, passed through committee and is now on its way to the full legislature.

The takeaway: This is a big play in a relatively long game. The proposed change now has to run the gauntlet of the New Jersey legislature. If it’s successful, then it can be placed on a ballot in the fall of 2021. Should it pass that final test, there is a possibility that residents can begin placing bets on in-state colleges by 2022.

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Sport betting applications flood Virginia

Our last story comes by way of the commonwealth, which has been making headlines lately. First, the state legalized sports betting, then residents approved the construction of new casinos — Virginia is a full-blown gambling state now.

Under the rules approved by the General Assembly, the VA Lottery can award up to 12 sports betting permits to operators. But after the initial application period, which ended Oct. 31, 13 companies are going to be left on the outside looking in.

Why? Because 25 companies applied for a sports betting permit.

Although the lottery said it would not reveal which companies applied, it’s safe to assume some pretty heavy hitters like DraftKings and FanDuel are on the list.

The takeaway: It doesn’t mean much now, but the fact that 25 operators want to participate in VA sports betting says a lot about the market value. However, the question is, will the state be welcoming to smaller, independently owned operators, or will it only pursue big-name operators? Nearby Washington, D.C., is home to the only independent sportsbook in the US; could Virginia be as generous?

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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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