Michigan Gaming Control Board Funding Increases as Responsibilities Expand

Posted on: July 8, 2022, 12:12h. 

Last updated on: July 20, 2022, 02:50h.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is tasked with ensuring that Detroit’s three brick-and-mortar casinos, as well as online gaming and sports betting operations, are conducted in a fair and transparent manner. With internet gaming and mobile wagering continuing to flourish and expand, state lawmakers are setting aside additional funds for the gaming regulator.

Michigan Gaming Control Board MGCB iGaming sports betting
The Michigan Gaming Control Board will see its funding increase for its 2023 fiscal year, assuming Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs the legislature’s approved budget bill. The scope of the gaming regulator’s responsibilities have increased because of online sports gambling and internet casinos. (Image: Casino.org)

The Michigan Legislature last week passed its budget bill for the state’s 2023 fiscal year. While the omnibus still requires Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) signature, the governor is expected to sign the legislative package that garnered heavy support in each legislature chamber.

The allocation blueprint will increase funding for the MGCB by $7 million during the fiscal year, which runs October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2023. That will take the state gaming agency’s budget from approximately $38.5 million in the fiscal year 2022 to about $45.5 million in FY22.

I would like to thank Governor Whitmer and the legislature for their leadership and a budget deal that recognizes the crucial role the MGCB plays in ensuring fair and honest gaming in the State of Michigan,” said MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams. “Our 2023 budget emphasizes investments to help strengthen our mission and integrity, support local charities, and educate Michigan citizens on ways to enjoy gaming responsibly.”

Michigan is home to commercial and tribal casinos. The state’s three commercial land-based casinos are confined to the City of Detroit. Michigan’s native tribes additionally own tribal casinos on their sovereign lands.

Gaming Expansion

Michigan legalized online casino gambling and sports betting in December 2019. In-person sportsbooks began operations in March 2020, just before COVID-19 hit. Online sports betting and casino games didn’t begin until late January 2021, as the pandemic greatly interrupted the regulatory path to launch.

Detroit casinos have recovered nicely from the coronavirus, though the $1.26 billion that MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity, and Greektown won in 2021 fell shy of the $1.45 billion they reported in 2019 gross gaming revenue (GGR).

But when paired with iGaming and sports betting, the Detroit casinos are raking in more monthly GGR than ever before. Twelve tribes are also participating in legal iGaming and/or online sports wagering, which is also regulated by the MGCB.

Online gaming and mobile sports betting are helping grow the Michigan gaming industry. But the expanded gaming formats are also increasing the regulatory responsibilities of the MGCB.

Along with iGaming and online sports betting, Michigan recently joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association. Participating in the association allows regulated online poker rooms in Michigan to share player pools with internet poker rooms operating lawfully in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey.

The $7 million increase, MGCB officials say, will help pay for IT support/infrastructure upgrades and bring on more employees. The agency adds that the money will increase network storage capacity and network speeds in MGCB offices to support more streamlined technological operations.

Responsible Gaming Campaign

With more play comes the potential for higher rates of problem gambling, the MGCB contends. In its appeal to the state for more funding, the Gaming Control Board said it plans to spend around $3 million during the 2023 fiscal year to get out a responsible gaming message.

The funding will support a comprehensive responsible gaming messaging campaign, direct citizens to services available for problem gambling, and extend our outreach to community organizations,” the MGCB explained of the initiative.

Much of the MGCB budget is paid for by the casinos themselves. Detroit’s casino law, as well as the tribal gaming compacts, require that a portion of their gaming taxes be allocated to the state gaming agency.