DETROIT – The state of Michigan shares a lengthy border with Canada, measuring 721 miles. Just north of Michigan is the Canadian province of Ontario, and the total number of border crossings in Michigan ranks among the top 10 highest volumes between the United States and Canada.

The technological innovations taking place on either side of the border are noteworthy, not least of which are the border safety and security measures. According to MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation), the international border crossings between the United States and Canada are significant insofar as the largest bilateral trade relationship exists between these two countries.

According to statistics, Michigan’s international border crossings play a pivotal part in bilateral trade, with the sum of Canadian exports to the US making up 30 percent of the country’s GDP and an incredible 87 percent of its exports abroad. The United States generates trade volumes of $1.2 billion daily with Canada, greater than any other nation or economic bloc. The majority of trade between US and Canada comes by way of trucks, the remainder being, water, and rail. To facilitate this multi-billion dollar industry, MDOT actively invests in the most technologically sophisticated systems to fast-track the passage of goods, services, and people between both countries. Efficient processing systems are sacrosanct.

Information Technology Initiatives (ITI) are central to expediting the movement of traffic during crisis situations, emergencies, and high-volume activity. To this end, MDOT and the Department of Information Technology operate on a daily basis. Sophisticated security systems and powerful programs are in place, such as Free and Secure Trade (FAST), and NEXUS at pivotal international bridge crossings. In addition, the Michigan government collaborates with the Homeland Security Bureau of Customs and Border Protections to boost the security of operations.

Major Industries Driving Trade in Michigan and Ontario

The top publicly traded companies in Michigan, as of 2019 include Ford Motor Company ($155.9 billion), General Motors Corporation ($137.24 billion), Dow ($42.95 billion), Penske Automotive Group ($23.18 billion), Whirlpool ($20.42 billion), Lear ($19.81 billion), and Stryker ($14.88 billion). The chief industries are largely motor-vehicle-related, with significant trading activity between Michigan and Canada. Across the border, Ontario is renowned for its real GDP, measured at C$744.44 billion, supported largely by its 14.7 million residents. Ontario generates an estimated 40 percent of all GDP in Canada – a significant proportion of economic activity. Of that, the real estate industry contributed largely to this figure, with leasing, rental, and sale of property accounting for 13 percent of Ontario’s GDP

Of course, there are other burgeoning industries in Ontario, driven largely by telecommunications growth. According to Statista, the market size of gaming in Canada has been increasing since 2016, peaking at $14.72 billion in 2019 and dropping slightly to $14.08 billion in 2020. Leading the way are scores are reputable operators where players can find the best online slots games in Canada, along with card games, table games, and jackpot games. The size of the virtual global gaming market – according to Globenewswire, is expected to hit $158.20 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.4 percent in that time.

In 2020, Fortune Business Insights estimated the size of the global online gambling market at $66.72 billion. Interestingly enough, a New York University article found that digital gambling platforms have rapidly gained favor in Canada since 2020, with surging levels of popularity reported.

According to that study, online casino games have been gaining momentum since 2020, with legal-age Canadians taking to slots, card games, and table games with increasing alacrity. Online casino operators are now generating substantial revenues in Canada. This is being boosted by the increasing liberalization of online gambling activity south of the Canadian border too. Since online gambling is fully legal in Michigan (it was signed into law in December 2019 by Governor Gretchen Whitmer) this industry now serves people on both sides of the border. Michigan is considered a front-runner, thanks to the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, which is expected to generate significant revenues in the state. Online sports betting and online casino games are fully legal to players in Michigan.

Michigan is Now an e-Commerce Hub

Michigan also ranks highly as one of the fastest growing e-commerce small business states. Many e-commerce start-ups in the state have now set up shop in Detroit, and are maximizing business activity accordingly. Big-name enterprises such as Walmart are fully operational in Michigan with major online operations. The top e-commerce development companies in Michigan have been boosted by way of broadband Internet connectivity, as attested to by the Grand Rapids area Chamber of Commerce. Popular malls such as Woodland Mall have made e-commerce a fundamental component of their revenue streams. The entertainment sector is certainly benefiting, as evidenced by strong growth trends in online gaming, online streaming of movies and music services, et al.

This guest column was written by Jack Ryan.