Will Shutdown Orders Prompt Michigan Lawmakers to Speed Up Online Gambling Regulation?

Michigan is experiencing an uptick in Covid-19 cases, and while a lot of people were probably hoping to avoid another shutdown, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced a new round of restrictions for the state. Unfortunately for the gambling industry, the new orders include shutting down Michigan’s three biggest casinos to cut down on community spread.

That means poker, blackjack, craps, slots, Roulette, and various other activities won’t be taking place for at least three weeks, and it could end up being longer based on what happens during that time. It becomes imperceivable if poker playing or some of the other table games can resume after that time with limited capacity. If that doesn’t end up happening though, poker players and other gamblers could end up missing out on the activity for the rest of the year.

“Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing,” said Whitmer. “If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”

Governor Whitmer’s new restrictions will last for three weeks, and it is not known what will be done after that it ends. One would assume that officials would reexamine the situation at that point, but who knows what will happen with the predicted dark winter looming over.

Keep in mind that these casinos are being forced to close for the second time this year and have only just reopened back in August. Not only does that mean no revenue was made from the three main facilities during that period, but also that these new restrictions could open the door to another long period of inactivity.

Could online gambling be the answer to Michigan’s economic woes?

What if that doesn’t end up being the case though? What if the gamblers of Michigan can bet from the comfort of their own home and not affect community spread? Believe it or not, the closing of Michigan’s three main casinos could prompt the state to speed up getting online gambling in place for citizens and making up some of their lost revenue.

The only thing that is holding up the process is the fact that the Joint Committee of Administrative rules doesn’t seem to have enough session days left to examine the rules. Now, they could explore the rules and make a judgment if they wanted to move it up the priority list, but it was previously thought to not be a likely outcome.

Whether the committee will move up the issue of online gambling during their sessions remains to be seen, but the shutdown of these major casinos might at least give it a chance. Either that or Michigan officials risk angering constituents by shutting down major casinos and giving them no way to make up their lost revenue.

In the end, the coming days are going to be very interesting for the state of Michigan, and what they decide to do next. Of course, one could argue that the issue of online gambling should be left for 2021 but making it a priority could be a good way to ease tensions over restrictions.