In the midst of the pandemic, we have seen many industries pivot in order to accommodate their customers and keep business going, and the gambling industry is no exception. With casinos temporarily closing across the country, followed by stringent new health and safety policies, the gambling experience has changed notably over the course of the last few months.
While many Michigan casinos have reopened, there are a lot of new guidelines in place—some of which may be discouraging to social gamblers. That’s not to mention the many people who are avoiding public outings for the time being due to health concerns. Due to these changes, among other factors, the landscape of gambling will surely look different post coronavirus pandemic.
Fortunately, online gambling and sports betting was recently legalized in Michigan, so there are new opportunities for those who like to bet on their luck. So, what does the future of Michigan casinos and online gambling look like? Let’s dive into the most likely evolution and changes we’re expecting to see.
Are Casinos Open in Michigan?
With nearly 30 casinos in Michigan—including the MGM Grand in Detroit which has 3500 gaming machines and 143 table games on it’s own— you could say that gambling is a popular hobby. As part of phase 5 of the economic reopening plan, casinos have been able to open their doors—as long as they follow the required conditions.
What Changes Are Expected for In-Casino Gambling?
As part of mandated reopening guidelines set forth by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Michigan casinos are required to ensure that:
- Temperatures are checked upon entering
- Every guest wears a mask inside
- Only filled to 15% capacity
- No smoking on the gaming floor
- No self-serve buffets or beverage stations
- Limited seating at tables to maintain social distancing
Some casinos have chosen to put up plexiglass shields between slot stations and to separate dealers from players. If these changes ruin the casino experience for you, you may be interested in turning to online gambling.
The Future of Online Casino Apps in Michigan
Due to the current nature of gambling, we are seeing a rise in online casino apps, especially in sports betting. This summer was the first time that Michigan began to accept sports betting and gaming apps after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill in December of 2019 allowing mobile sports betting and iGaming in the state of Michigan.
Both PointsBet and BetAmerica are planning to launch gaming and sports betting apps in Michigan as soon as late 2020. The company that owns BetAmerica, Churchill Downs, Inc. is planning to offer BetAmerica’s sportsbook as well as iGaming in Michigan through a partnership with the Hannahville Indian Community. They are trying to ramp up efforts in the upcoming months and into 2021 once Churchill Downs Inc. officially receives regulatory approval in Michigan. PointsBet Sportbook is an Australian-based company that started its business in America back in 2019 in New Jersey. They have since expanded and are hoping to be one of the first major online gaming apps in Michigan.
PointsBet recently became the first sports gambling company to create a partnership with a major leagu
team. In early July, PointsBet partnered with the Detroit Tigers, signing a multi-year partnership with the team, giving them visibility on all the team’s social media and digital platforms, including MLB Ballpark and The District Detroit apps. Once Michigan online sports betting goes live, PointsBet and BetAmerica are sure to become very popular apps in the Great Lake State.
Expected Michigan Casino Apps
- William Hill
What Does the Future of Michigan Online Gambling Look Like?
With the current economy, and assured economic fallout for many casinos (both large and small), more establishments are turning to innovative ways to increase revenue, including online gaming. Fortunately, with more people becoming accustomed to doing more and more from home, including hobbies, there is a greater demand for online entertainment.
According to Grand View Research, as of 2019, the online gambling industry was valued at $53.7 billion and is expected to reach a value of $59.6 billion by the end of this year. Not only that but, a compound annual growth rate of 11.5% is expected year over year through 2027. Michigan’s own 9 & 10 News reports that the state expects the legalization of online gambling to add approximately $19 million to the state’s annual tax revenue.
Based on these predictions, the current circumstances, and the latest technological advancements, there appears to be a lot of opportunity for online gaming to grow.
- Virtual Reality: Virtual and augmented reality shows promise to help merge the gap between the isolated online gaming experience and the in-casino social aspect. In fact, it’s one of the areas that’s growing the most. With some versions of virtual and augmented reality, players can connect other real players and dealers in a virtual casino, simulating the in-person experience fairly convincingly. From slots to table games, players can place bets, interact with one another, and win real money, all from the comfort (and safety) of their own home.
- Mobile Casino Gambling in Michigan: Gambling on Android and iPhones has been popular for years, but again, technological innovations are helping take it to the next level. From graphics to game-play features that make online gambling more entertaining. There are more and more sports gambling apps in the USA by the day, so whatever your go-to game is, it likely exists in an easy-to-download format. Some casinos even have their own apps.
- Virtual Sports: With the limitations on live sports, many fans have shifted online to find a new way to enjoy their favorite pastime. From races to esports (a.k.a competitive gaming), what used to be courtside-only entertainment is now being enjoyed through the screen.
Online gambling is nothing new, with real money online gambling dating back as far as 1996. However, over the last few decades, the online gambling industry has come leaps and bounds from where it started, to deliver virtual patrons a unique virtual experience that preserves many of the perks of in-house gambling.
Pros & Cons of Online Gambling
Considering online gaming in the future, but not convinced it’ll be as good as the in-person gambling experience? Let’s look more closely at the potential pros and cons of making the switch—or just adding online gambling to your hobbies.
- More game options
- Eliminate extra costs (gas, food and beverages, etc.)
- Higher payouts (because of the lack of overhead expenses)
- Quicker play times
- Cryptocurrency and credit cards allowed as forms of payment
For many individuals, a mix of online and in-house gambling will likely become the standard; with the majority of gambling done online and special occasions or planned outings calling for in-house gambling here and there.
While online gaming might not be of as much interest to older generations—whether that be due to a lack of comfort with technology or a nostalgic attachment to the old casino days—this will likely be the new normal for younger gamblers and future generations.
The Industry Is Evolving, Are You Onboard?
The gambling industry in the U.S. is in the process of evolving to accommodate the current industry landscape, younger generations of gamblers, and the expansion of entertainment. Whether we’re talking about in Michigan, across the U.S., or even worldwide, with all of the new technology, ways for people to gamble, and demand for virtual options, there’s no doubt that the future of gambling is online. The only question is, will you be onboard with the future of online gambling or will you stick to traditional in-house table games and slot machines?