Sports betting could start in the US state of Michigan early in 2020 following the approval of the Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer.
On Friday, Whitmer put her name to legislative arrangements that would permit online casino gaming and sports betting in the state. Her signature means that the state is now the second biggest in the Midwest region of the country to authorise sports betting, after Illinois.
And proponents of the new sports betting laws have voiced the hope that the sports betting industry in Michigan might be up and running in time for the annual college basketball tournament next March.
The new laws mean that the state can give operating licenses to provide sports betting services to any operator that already has a casino licence, and to Native American casino facilities. But there remains a regulatory hurdle to clear, as regulators have yet to finalise the details of the framework for the licensing and operation of the new Michigan sports betting sector.
According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, the introduction of sports betting to the state could generate as much as $19 million in revenue. And the tax funds raised could provide significant boosts to the School Aid Fund and to the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund, which offers benefits to those first responders who have been diagnosed with certain forms of cancer.
Speaking about the bill, Whitmer said that her first priority was to protect the School Aid Fund. She added that sports betting would enable her to put more money into Michigan schools, while also raising funds to support firefighters. She said that it was a bipartisan victory for the state.