Michigan Legal Sportsbooks Launches Online Casinos
The official launch of Michigan sports betting has taken place. Betting on sports in Michigan has officially become here! Launching on January 22nd, bettors can now be placed at any of the numerous retail sportsbooks across the state or even at one of the several online sportsbooks available in the state. These sports betting sites are operated by and have been dedicated to professional sports bettors who demand the best in service and features when placing their bets.
In 2021, the Michigan Department of Revenue created the “American Sports Betting Commission”. This governing body oversees and regulates sports betting in the state. Among its many duties, the commission establishes the odds for games, determines which sports books are licensed in Michigan and enacts various regulations and guidelines. The commission also licenses gaming operators. The commission is composed of five members, the secretary of state, six members of the Michigan Lottery Commission, five members each of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and three members each of commissions of state universities and colleges. Three of the members are ex-lawmakers.
Betting on sports in Michigan has been legalized since July 2021. Despite that, several challenges to the legality of sports betting remain. One of these challenges is from the Michigan Supreme Court. On March 13th, the court heard oral arguments from Associate Justice Michael Pfister, who was assigned by the Michigan Supreme Court to handle the case brought by Michigan residents against a sports betting website. Mr. Pfister’s decision is expected sometime in the future.
Two of the cases before the Michigan Supreme Court involved members of the Michigan State Basketball League. In both cases, the plaintiffs were barred from conducting sports betting on behalf of members of the leagues. The two plaintiffs were allowed to bet through three commercial casinos instead. While the court did not issue an order to ban sports betting from the three commercial casinos altogether, the court did bar them from participating in three games through those gambling institutions. The three commercial casinos that are the subject of this case are the Bellagio, the Regal and the MGM Grand.
According to the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision in both the Bellagio case and the Regal/ MGM case, free bids are not permitted when placing bets on live NBA games through an online sports betting site. This decision was reached due to the contention that free bids are provided when placing bets on basketball games through an online gaming site that does not have a free bet option. Individuals interested in free bets must complete an application with the site. If the individual satisfies the eligibility requirements, he or she may be able to place a bet. However, if the individual chooses not to participate in the free bet option or chooses to place his or her bet through another method, he or she will still be subject to all of the applicable local laws and regulations.
An argument that many legal online sportsbooks have begun taking issue with relates to the notion that free bids are a form of gambling. According to the three Michigan courts that issued this decision, this is indeed not so. While it is true that bettors can choose whether or not to participate in the free bet option, this option is still within the sportsbooks’ overall ability and right to decide how they will administer these online sports betting games. As is the case with all gambling, bettors must follow the terms and conditions of the game and agree to them before they can begin to place a bet. Failure to do so is a violation of both federal and state laws.
Legal Michigan sportsbooks have also decided that if a player participates in more than one game via an online sportsbook, he or she is considered an individual participant and can place his or her own bet in each game. Players can choose whether or not to participate in the free bet option and how much money they wish to place on each game. This means that bettors may avoid paying taxes on the winnings and/or charges on the free wagers. If a player bets using a promotional service that he or she did not pay for, the legal sportsbooks have the right to turn these earnings over to the corresponding legal entities.
In a related matter, the Michigan Supreme Court has ordered the Michigan State Athletic Department not to launch online casinos in the state. The Michigan State Athletic Department opposed the launch of an online gambling website, claiming that the gaming laws contained a “deal breaker” clause for gambling. The Michigan Supreme Court has yet to rule on this issue. The three Michigan courts that issued its ruling will determine whether or not these laws are legally binding. Should the court uphold these laws, the future of online gambling in the state of Michigan is very bleak.