COVID19 Pandemic Points Out Value of Online Gambling in US
August 11, 2020
In the state of Michigan, sports bettors were finally given the green light to start wagering on sports on March 11 of this year. After only a couple of weeks of fulfilling their dreams of going into Detroit's land based casinos to legally place sports wagers, everything came to a sudden halt.
First, sports leagues throughout the world began shutting down due to the COVID19 pandemic. That was soon followed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer closing all unessential businesses throughout the state with casinos being labelled as such.
Unlike states (New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, etc.) that have already legalized online casino gambling and sports betting, the people in states like Michigan, and New York saw their chances to gamble get shuttered with the closure of each and every retail betting site.
Governor Whitmore Green Lights Reopening of Casinos
After four months of closures, Governor Whitmore finally has lifted her closure orders on Michigan's casinos. With approval to open, sports bettors and casino gamblers will soon be able to return to action. Of course, there is a long list of restrictions for casinos to follow in an effort to help prevent the spread of the virus.
In Detroit alone, the closure of casinos cost the city $600,000 in daily tax revenue. That's a big number, being that casino tax revenue accounts for up to 20% of Detroit's annual budget. Other cities and states are reporting similar losses of revenue.
Time to Reassess Value of Online Gambling
States that had legalized online gambling in place were able to continue pulling in tax revenues during the nation's lockdown. Apparently, this fact was not lost on legistaters in Michigan.
Since getting back to work, Michigan's Congress has begun putting together the framework the state will use to govern online sports betting and perhaps online casino gambling in the future. If everything goes as planned, they hope to have everything in place for online gamblers by sometime during the fall.
It's a good bet the pandemic has opened the eyes of lawmakers in states where there has been a reluctance to legalize online gambling activities due to problem gambling concerns.
With nearly every state struggling to recover from the effects on the pandemic, any form of tax revenue is being seen as a good source of tax revenue. There is a real good chance lawmakers in states with no current forms of legalized online gambling will be taking another look at the issue from another perspective.