Michigan casino revenues are bouncing back from pandemic lows thanks to online sportsbooks and gaming options launched in late January.
There was already hundreds of millions of dollars being gambled here in Michigan every year. It was just being gambled illegally without any protections for people. And now when you make a bet on the Lions or, unfortunately, on the Spartans like I did last night your money can go towards our schools, towards firefighters that have gotten cancer, said state Sen. Curtis Hertel, of East Lansing.
Online and retail sportsbooks across the state brought in $150 million in just 10 days. Bets made after the Jan. 22 launch date yielded almost $112,000 in state tax revenue for the month of January. Online casino gaming like poker and blackjack yielded $4.4 million in state tax revenue.
The launch of online gambling has also been an opportunity for poker buddies to keep the game going under the pandemic.
Its given a lot of my friends that I would typically play with a reprieve from just the lockdown. Its been a welcomed addition to our personal lives, online poker player JR Miller said.
Miller and his friends are among the millions of Michiganders flocking to online casinos for table favorites like poker and blackjack as well as sports betting.
I have a couple of friends who have won a lot of money. Theyve been doing a lot of side bets more bets on games, golfers, and you know whatever they can bet, Miller said.
For Miller online gambling requires a certain level of restraint.
Its the dynamic of any time you get into a situation where youre betting. Its understanding theres got to be a limit that you have, unless you have unlimited resources, and then being able to ride out the ebbs and flows of winning and losing in any kind of sports betting or poker or whatever it is, Miller said.
Which is something the legislators who supported making online gambling legal here also thought about.
The gambling hotline numbers are required to be on all the apps while theyre going. So, if you feel like you have a gambling problem, we want people to call but people are taking advantage of it in a responsible way, Hertel said.
Richard Kalm of the Michigan Gaming Control Board says internet gaming operations are off to a good start. The taxes and payments from these services are expected to provide funding for K-12 students, the states tribal communities, and the state firefighters cancer presumption fund.
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