Michigan Gambling Industry Receives Big Boost with Board Member Allowances

Jessica Aletor
By:
Jessica Aletor
28/07/2023/
News
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Highlights

  • In June, the Michigan legislature approved over $50 million as the budgetary allocation for the MGCB.
  • Inclusive in this package was the introduction of a compensation amount for members of the MGCB board who serve as volunteers.
  • The four members of the MGCB will share $63,000 throughout their respective terms in office.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has been one of the state’s most vibrant agencies. In the past half-year, the regulatory body has been considerably effective in its duties, ranging from the grant of licenses to the clampdown on illegal gambling facilities. However, since its establishment, its board members have typically worked on a volunteer basis without remuneration.

Last month, the Michigan legislature allocated $50.7 million to the MGCB, with about 0.1% of this amount earmarked for compensating board members. It is believed that this development will offer volunteers an incentive to be more efficient in their roles as the Michigan gambling industry’s regulator.

MGCB’s Boards Members Receive $63,000 Allocation in Budget

Currently, the Michigan Gaming Control Board has four members appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The board is chaired by Linda Forte, while Joni Thrower Davis, Andrew Palms and Deidre Lambert-Bounds are the other members. Linda Forte took the position in July 2021 and holds a term that will expire in December 2024. The same applies to Deidre Lambert-Bounds. Thrower Davis and Palms, on the other hand, will hold their offices till December 2023.

As part of the $50 million budgetary allocation to the MGCB, these volunteer members will now share a lump sum of $63,000 as compensation for their services. The members of the MGCB board have public meetings every other month and play a huge role in approving gaming licenses. In addition, the board deliberates upon anti-illegal gambling policies and also ensures proper disciplinary measures for violations by licensed operators in Michigan.

As it stands, there has been no official statement on how the sum would be shared, especially considering that the members have different tenures. However, the allocations do not take effect until October 1 this year. And since the activities of the board are mostly public, it’s possible that we get some insights into the sharing formula in due course.

The potential benefits of compensation for volunteer members cannot be overemphasized. But most importantly, the roles played by the board in the grant of licenses is quite immense and compensation would make sure they remain motivated for the arduous tasks ahead. Moreover, offering compensation increases the chances of having highly competent hands express readiness to take the position in the future.

Combined Casino and Sports Betting Licensees in Michigan Crossed 1,500 in January 2024

Projections for Michigan online casinos and sports betting in 2024 are quite positive, and the MGCB takes most of the credit for this development. In recent times, Michigan has experienced a massive influx of foreign gaming suppliers and other software companies. Much of this growth in the number of brands operating within the gambling industry can be attributed to the ease of receiving licenses.

Interestingly, the Michigan Gaming Control Board has quite stringent requirements for license applicants, but the process of applying is quite seamless compared to other gaming jurisdictions. As at the start of 2023, licensed gaming suppliers, vendors, casino construction suppliers and persons exempt from licensing operating in the state have crossed 1,500.

Reports suggest that there are 901 licensed and permitted exempt brands operating in the Michigan retail casino sector while another 884 licensees are in the iGaming and online sports betting industry. In the first five months of 2023, online casino revenue in Michigan is at $783.6 million, 23.3% higher than the same period in 2022 and a massive 99% growth from 2021.

At this rate, it is expected that licensed entities in Michigan will cross 2,000, especially with the likes of 4ThePlayer and Aristocrat Gaming being some of the most recent entrants. By the start of 2024, Michigan is expected to have over 2,500 independent entities operating in its gambling industry and offering a bigger boost to its gambling revenue.

Michigan Responsible Gambling Measures Yields Positive Results as 2024 Outlook Improves

Another often overlooked role of the Michigan Gaming Control Board is the introduction of responsible gaming measures. To a great extent, these measures have yielded positive results. In 2011, the MGCB established the Problem Gambling Diversion Program designed to help educate and treat people with a gambling addiction.

Since its establishment, the Diversion Program has catered to over 850 people. With lifetime gambling tax revenue now crossing $900 million, the state has a large pool from which to fund its responsible gaming policies. More recently, the Don’t Regret the Bet Campaign has been met with much acclaim. By 2024, the MGCB is looking to strengthen its fight against problem gambling and reduce the number of people affected by the menace.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments