Michigan became the third US state to offer live dealers for its online casino games, following approval by the state’s Gaming Control Board (MGCB).
Evolution, a Swedish provider of digital platforms for online and land-based casinos, received authorization from the MGCB to begin livestreaming real-time casino table games with live dealers from a studio in Southfield. The authorization follows an on-site review by MGCB staff.
The company said nine of the operators it partners with in the Wolverine State—BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, FOX Bet / PokerStars, Golden Nugget, Penn Sports/Barstool, Rush Street, TwinSpires and William Hill—launched their live dealer studio games on July 22, the day the MGCB issued its authorization. A tenth operator, Wynn, is expected to launch its live dealer games soon.
Three tribal casinos using their own brands—FireKeepers, Play Gun Lake (through its partnership with Parx Interactive) and Four Winds (Pala Interactive)—were not immediately approved by the MGCB.
A fourth tribal casino and the 14th operator overall, Soaring Eagle, will only be authorized to offer online casino games when it launches. The casino, owned and operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation, entered into an agreement where UK-based GAN would provide online casino and sportsbook in May.
Initially, the live dealer games that will be available in Michigan are blackjack, baccarat and roulette. Additional games may be added in the future.
“Players can use a mobile device or computer to play typical land-based casino games like blackjack, baccarat and roulette with a real-time, live dealer,” said MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams. “Cameras capture the dealer and the play, and the providers’ apps or websites share it live with remote players.”
BetMGM, Golden Nugget, PokerStars and Rush Street made separate announcements that live dealer products had launched in the state.
“Many online players prefer and trust live dealer options because they can watch the action as it happens,” said Rush Street Interactive President Richard Schwartz. “A live dealer game is as close as you can get online to playing in a land-based casino and we’re thrilled to be among the first to offer Michigan residents the opportunity to sit and play on Evolution’s world-renowned virtual live dealer casino tables.”
Evolution also provides live dealers for online casinos in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, through studios in Atlantic City and Philadelphia, respectively. The company operates 11 live casino studios worldwide.
While Evolution currently holds a monopoly on live dealer studios in Michigan, gambling software developer Playtech announced that it had secured a long-term lease for a separate studio in Southfield in late March.
At the time, Playtech, which has partnered with Parx in Michigan, said its studio would “deliver bespoke areas for operator dedicated tables and networked tables,” adding that the studio had “room to grow and expand” to support its expansion in the US. Playtech’s studio has not yet been approved by the MGCB.
“Playtech has not been authorized by the MGCB to offer live dealer games through Michigan operators and platform providers,” MGCB spokeswoman Mary Kay Bean told Gaming Review. “Approval depends on how quickly an applicant fulfills Michigan’s regulatory requirements.”
Bean clarified that Playtech had not completed all of the necessary steps to be licensed, but was also not under any time constraints to do so. “MGCB staff continues to provide guidance and feedback to help Playtech complete Michigan online casino gaming licensing requirements,” she said. “When Playtech completes the requirements, the MGCB can approve a license.”
The MGCB reported that online casino revenue declined 6% to $89.2 million in June, snapping a three-month flat trend in gross revenue. BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel were the top three operators in the state, reporting $33.8 million, $15.5 million and $14.8 million in gross revenue in June, respectively.