One year later: Internet gambling and its impact on Michigan
Gambling in Michigan started with horse racing in 1933. It expanded to casinos, card games and slots, and sports. Last year, Michigan legalized online gambling. Michael Burke was a gambling addict and was sentenced to three years in prison. He was caught after taking $1.6 million from his client's account. He had been a gambler for more than 20 years. Michigan became the 15th state to legalize online betting on January 22, 2021. Since then, five more states have joined. The state is now the biggest gambling destination in the world.
$1 million went to the Compulsive Gaming Prevention Fund to help problem gamblers. Part of it supports the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline. In December 2020, the month before online gambling went live, that helplines took 218 gambling-related calls. The first month after, it more than doubled to 563. There were 1,591 calls to helppine in 2020 and more more to 3,640 in 2021. However, in the latter year, there were only 104 treatment referrals. Gambling has the highest rate of intentional suicide out of any addiction at 20%.