Online sports betting impacting Michigan credit unions

May 4, 2021

Patty Corkery, President/CEO, Michigan Credit Union League
Credit Rick Weaver / Michigan Credit Union League

In January, online gambling and sports betting launched in Michigan. In February, the state’s Problem Gambling Hotline received five times the number of callers seeking addiction help than it did the previous year. Michigan Credit Unions are also being negatively impacted by online gaming.

Most debit cards offer a courtesy pay, a mini loan should the card holder spend beyond their limit so that it’s not declined.

“And then you have to pay that money back and people aren’t doing it. So, then the financial institution, no matter who it is, would have to write that off as a loss.”

Patty Corkery is Michigan Credit Union League President and CEO. We asked what financial institutions are doing to protect themselves?

“Well, right now from what I’m hearing, a lot of our credit unions are really just monitoring this big time. They’re keeping an eye on it. I talked to a credit union the other day that they had in a two-month period, they had $5.8 million in gambling transactions at their institution.”

One Michigan credit union is denying its members credit and debit cards access to online gambling websites. It’s reminding members they’re a part of a financial cooperative. When the credit union incurs a loss, all members incur a loss.

Corkery says there’s been an increase in the number of credit and debit card disputes involving sports betting websites.