Michigan State Representative Wants iGaming by November

by Kyle Miller

Brandt IdenState Representative Brandt Iden of Michigan wants to see online gambling on offer by November.

The state of Michigan has been at the forefront of online gaming discussions in the United States as of late. Recent efforts to see legislation come to pass could result in Michigan becoming the next to offer online gaming in the United States. State Representative Brandt Iden has been busy over the past few months trying to convince fellow lawmakers to get on board and see the state legalize online casino and poker gaming.

By November

The Representative seems to think that the state will be able to pass online gambling legislation in the House in November.  In speaking with Online Poker Report, Iden was optimistic in regards to H 4926, a bill that was introduced by Iden in September to see Michigan regulate online gaming activities. In speaking with the site, Iden stated that through this month, he is hoping to gain headway on the matter. If he had his way, players would see the House pass the legislation before the Thanksgiving holiday.

If Iden were able to see his bill pass within the House in November, it would be quite an accomplishment. The bill was first part of a hearing on the 13th of September in the House and would have passed in just over a two month time frame, if lawmakers agree to move the bill forward.

No Way Says Casinos

While there is support for online gaming in the state, commercial casinos are not on board. The city of Detroit is home to three gaming venues, the MotorCity Casino, MGM Grand Detroit and the Greektown Casino. Each are in opposition of the bill but did not take the time to come to the hearing to show their opposition. Instead, a written notice was provided.

Iden says that casinos should be on board it’s just a matter of determining the details of who the commercial casinos will be involved as well as tribal gaming venues. Iden stated that he believes the industry can see that they must move in the direction of online game play. The industry is constantly trying to expand to see new gamers take part and online gaming would be the way to do it.

The representative has sent requests to the tribal councils so that they will send in the changes they want to see within his legislation. He will also be meeting with stakeholders this month in order to ensure that everyone is happy and on board. Without support from gaming operators, it will be harder to see legislation pass into law.

Iden has been open with stakeholders and said that he wants to work with them and make the legislation right. But if gaming operators don’t come forward, he is going to push forward anyways. It makes sense for commercial operators and tribal groups to work with the representative to see online gaming come to pass in a way that will benefit them from the very beginning.

A main issue on the table is tribal sovereignty. Michigan does not have a general regulatory authority on tribal gaming venues. The National Indian Gaming Commission and the tribal community government are in charge. Tribes have to sign compacts that state they agree to pay a sliding percentage of net wins in order to enjoy benefits and exclusivity. This issue will have to be covered in order for online gaming to be offered and satisfy everyone involved. Iden does believe that a middle ground can be reached on this issue.

It will be interesting to watch and see what happens this November as the legislation is considered within the full House.