Michigan Lawmakers Move Forward with Online Gambling Legislation


MichiganOnline gambling legislation in the state of Michigan has moved forward, along with sports betting consideration.

As the entire United States seems to be focusing on sports betting, one state has surprisingly decided to move forward with the option along with online gambling. Michigan lawmakers have moved a measure forward that would allow for online poker and casino gaming as well as sports betting.

House Votes to Pass

The members of the House voted to approve the Lawful Internet Gaming Act this week with a vote of 68 to 40. The bill now moves on to the Senate for consideration, putting the state one step closer to offering sports betting and online gaming activities. The bill was created by Representative Brandt Iden, a strong proponent of online gambling, but had laid dormant for several months now. Thankfully, the bill was taken back up this week and seems to be on a relatively fast track to passage.

Known as H 4926, the bill would allow the three casinos of Detroit to offer online gaming as soon as 2019. Application and five year licensing would cost $800,000 and if the legislation is passed into law, the casinos would be allowed to offer poker, sports betting and casino-style games online.

The state also has several tribal casinos, 23 to be exact, and these venues would be allowed to get in on the online gambling action as well, if current compacts are amended or new ones are created.

The legislation also created an 8% tax on online gambling revenues along with a requirement that gaming equipment be located in the state physically. Multi-jurisdictional agreements are included in the bill language and a one year waiting period is set before launch can take place.

The bill was introduced by Iden last year, in September, and was able to clear a committee run by the Representative shortly after. However, Iden was unable to gain the support needed at the time to see the bill push forward. For months now, Iden has been pushing the idea of gaming expansion for the state and it seems other lawmakers are listening.

Now that the bill has moved forward, it will be just over two months before we will see if the Senate will approve the measure. Commercial casinos are in support of the bill, but it is unclear as to whether or not the tribal groups will be supportive. The sports betting aspect may help push the bill into law, so Michigan can stay in competition with other states. However, the decision by the Senate remains unclear as members have yet to voice their opinion on the matter.

Will Sports Betting Help?

Last month, when the US Supreme Court decided to federally allow sports betting across the nation, states began a strong push to get in on the action. Many states are considering sports betting along with online gambling legislation like Michigan or with other areas of gaming, as seen in other states. Gaming analysts think that sports betting might help lawmakers decide to jump on the online gaming bandwagon as lawmakers seem to be more open to the idea of sports wagering than online casino and poker games.

It will be interesting to see how this bill fares in the senate and if other states decide to push for online gaming legislation along with their sports betting efforts.