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New Michigan Reporting Form Causing Major Confusion

A new form being used by the Michigan Gaming Control Board to determine whether or not operators are connected to black market operations is causing major confusion in one of Americas hottest gaming markets. The innocuous sounding Illegal Gaming Attestation Internet Game Content Providers form is a six-page, six-question form that’s aimed at untangling the frequently opaque relationships between international operators and their many subsidiaries. Unfortunately, for the operators who must submit the form, it’s turned into a confusing mess.

The biggest problem with Michigan’s new form is that it’s extremely vague when it comes to the information it’s seeking; terms like illegal gambling for instance. “The form does not define every single relevant term, such as what constitutes ‘illegal gambling’. The language requires some interpretation and it may make sense for companies with questions to go to the regulator and seek clarification,” gaming lawyer Susan Hensel of Hensel Grad PC, told iGaming Business in a recent interview.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Gaming Control Board told operators who inquired about the vague language that, “the term ‘illegal’ is not a defined term on the form; therefore, the common and ordinary meaning of this term should be applied.”

Hensel, and anyone else familiar with international gaming markets, knows that there’s a world of difference between the black, white and greay markets and that the “common and ordinary meaning of the term” may be difficult to parse out. Howard Glaser, global head of government affairs and legislative counsel for Light and Wonder, a gaming supplier explained the situation to Casino Reports saying, There are markets in which authorized iGaming is explicitly legal. There are markets in which online gaming is explicitly prohibited. Then there are the markets in the middle where maybe the law is silent. The first case and the last case should be easy. If it’s legal, it’s legal. If it’s illegal, it’s illegal. And so there shouldn’t be any objection to either a law or a regulation which says, don’t operate in markets that are explicitly Illegal.”

The completed form was due on June 1 and it’s unclear how the board will interpret the responses it has already received.