The Michigan Gaming News Letter

Ohio Legislators Passes Sports Betting Legalization

Legal sports betting will be in place January 1, 2023 next year under a bill that passed the Ohio legislature Wednesday.

The Senate voted 31-1 and the House voted 72-12 to approve H.B. 29 after both chambers struck a deal in a conference committee Wednesday. Governor Mike DeWine is expected to sign the bill into law.

The bill puts the Ohio Casino Control Commission in charge of regulating and licensing sports betting, which would be allowed on any professional, collegiate, Olympic, motor race or horse race event. The state would implement a 10% tax.

The bill issues at least 25 licenses for online mobile betting and 40 licenses for brick-and-mortar locations like casinos, racinos and pro sports venues. Casinos, racetracks, and professional sports franchises could operate two online skins each, at $3 million for the first license and $10 million for the second. Retail sports book licenses are separate and will be available for casinos, sports venues and other bricks-and-mortar businesses, while bars and restaurants can apply for sports betting kiosks.

Licenses will also be available for kiosks at bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys with liquor licenses. One of the key points in the debate surrounding the legislation revolved around whether the Casino Control Commission or Lottery would be the regulating entity.  The final bill compromised and identified a role for Lottery to play in identifying sites for kiosks and operating lottery sports betting.

The Casino Control Commission can begin taking applications January 1, with licensing set to begin in April. A universal launch date will be no later than January 1, 2023.


Michigan House Hears Testimony on Horse Race Expansion

The Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee took testimony on SB396 – SB399 on December 7th.  The package of bills is aimed at supporting the horse racing industry.   A major point of discussion centered on the constitutionality of allowing wagering on historic horse racing via legislation in light of the 2004 amendment creating Article 4 section 41.  Proponents argue that this is a form of gambling in effect at the time of the amendment and therefore grandfathered in, while opponents distinguish this from gambling at the time of the 2004 amendment and argue it requires a vote of the people to move forward.

The package can be summarized as follows:

  • SB396 aims to add historic horse racing, with provisions include amendments to the definition of pari-mutuel wagering, the establishment of a new license for suppliers of equipment associated with wagering on historical horse races, the establishment of a new tax on historical horse race wagering, and provisions governing the distribution of revenue generated from the new tax.
  • SB397 would add a new Article 2 to the Lottery Act to allow for and regulate the operation of video lottery games at licensed racetracks. The bill would add video lottery to the definition of “lottery” in the Lottery Act and include a legislative determination that video lottery is authorized by section 41 of Article IV of the state constitution and not subject to the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act. Video lottery games would be owned and controlled by the Bureau of State Lottery, but terminals could be operated by licensees as agents of the bureau. A licensee would retain 81% of the gross proceeds, with the rest distributed as provided in the bill. The bill proposes certain fees, prohibitions and penalties, and criteria for when a license must be issued. The bill also would provide for occupational, manufacturer, and supplier licenses. The Bureau of State Lottery would have to issue rules concerning video lottery licensing and regulation.
  • SB398 would amend the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act to allow casinos to televise simulcast horse races on casino premises, or allow them to be televised, if the casino license holder also holds a third-party facilitator license issued under the Horse Racing Law.
  • SB399 would amend the sentencing guidelines chapter of the Code of Criminal Procedure to add felony violations proposed by SB 397.

The House is set to adjourn on December 17th and return in January of 2022.   The Michigan Legislature will continue in the current session in 2022 and the existing bills could be considered next year as discussions continue on the topic.


GGB Magazine Announces the 20th Edition of 25 People to Watch

Global Gaming Business Magazine (GGB) has released its annual list of the movers and shakers in the gaming industry’s highest honor.  According to a news release, GGB announced its annual 25 People to Watch (PTW) list for 2022.

This will be the 20th anniversary for this popular feature published every year in the January issue.  The honorees are recognized for their past accomplishments and their upcoming potential actions that will have an important impact on gaming in 2022 and beyond.

The selections for PTW are made by the GGB Editorial Advisory Board, a collection of some of the most knowledgeable and connected people in the gaming industry.  Nominees come from all aspects of the gaming business, land based and online operators and suppliers, regulators, attorneys, tribal government officials, public officials, academics and much more.

GGB’S People to Watch 2022 

  • Jason Ader, Managing Partner, SpringOwl Asset Management LLC
  • Johnny Aitken, Chief Executive Officer, PointsBet U.S.
  • Julie Brinkerhoff, President, Lifescapes International
  • Mary Cheeks, President & General Manager, Jamul Casino
  • Rob Cinelli, General Manager, Sycuan Casino Resort
  • Alex Dixon, Chief Executive Officer, Q Casino
  • Brianne Doura-Schawohl, Vice President of U.S. Policy & Strategic Development, Epic Risk Management
  • Susan Hensel, Partner, Hensel Grad
  • Jenny Holaday, President, Encore Boston
  • Jan Jones Blackhurst, Board Member, Caesars Entertainment
  • Marie Jones, Partner, Fox Rothschild
  • Brenda Lavell, Chairwoman, Table Mountain Rancheria
  • Laura Lee, Chief Human Resources Officer, MGM Resorts
  • Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer – General Counsel, Everi Holdings Inc.
  • Cheryl Moss, Retired Judge State of Nevada District Court and Gambling Treatment Diversion Court
  • Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Chief Executive Officer, Entain
  • Arthur Piatkowski, President, ICRG
  • Ray Pineault, Chief Executive Officer, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment
  • Keith Sheldon, President of Entertainment, Hard Rock International
  • Marek Suchar, Esports Betting Services; MD Partnerships,
  • Dan Real, Regional President, Caesars Entertainment
  • Brian Reynolds, Senior Vice President of Operations, Resorts World New York
  • Gil Rotem, iGaming President, IGT
  • Dermot Smurfit, Chief Executive Officer, GAN
  • Jennifer Togliatti, Chairwoman, Nevada Gaming Commission

“We’re proud that for the first-time women and minorities dominate our People to Watch list,” says Gros. “And our board wants to stress that every honoree this year deserves the accolades for what they’ve accomplished, not because of their gender or race. This bodes well for the future of gaming around the world.”

The cover of the January issue will feature Jette Nygaard-Anderson, the CEO of Entain, one of the world’s leading companies involved in digital gaming.

Once an individual is named a member of the prestigious People to Watch class, he or she cannot be considered again.  For a full list of the 500 honorees over the last 20 years, visit


MGCB Public Meeting Scheduled for Tuesday, December 14

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”) will hold a virtual regular public meeting on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. The meeting will begin at 9:30 AM and will be accessible via Zoom.

The MGCB will consider approval of occupational licenses, supplier licenses, supplier license renewals, and the approval of some acknowledgements of violations among other issues. The full agenda for the December meeting may be found here.

The meeting is open to the public virtually, and comments from the public are welcomed and encouraged during the public comment portion of the meeting.

The meeting will be accessible to the public via Zoom at this link.


Michiganders May Risk Identity Theft and Loss of Deposits when Gambling on Unregulated Gaming Sites

The MGCB issued a press release, this week, warning Michigan residents who place wagers on unregulated gaming sites that they risk becoming identity theft or deposit theft victims. Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) Executive Director Henry Williams, said.

“If you share personal information with an unregulated gambling site, there are no guarantees your information won’t be sold to or used by criminals, Identity theft is the most common complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission. In 2020, 1.3 million identity theft reports were made in the U.S., including more than 24,000 cases of identity theft reported in Michigan.”

The federal Internal Revenue Service says thieves use personal information to apply for credit, file taxes or obtain medical services.  This unauthorized activity can damage  credit and cost  time and money to resolve. MGBC has received complaints that patrons are not being paid or they are unable to obtain a deposited refund from unregulated gambling sites.  Unfortunately, patrons using unregulated sites don’t have recourse to recover their money through regulatory agencies or the courts.

“Unlike regulated gambling, there is no mechanism for the MGCB to handle a patron dispute with an unregulated, offshore gambling site,” Williams said. “Our agency does not have the authority to pursue a dispute with an unregulated site.”

MGCB offers a list of authorized/approved internet casino gaming and online sports betting sites that are licensed by the MGCB on its website.