For more than a year now, lawmakers in Michigan have been pushing to legalize online casino gambling. A new bill was introduced here earlier this year to regulate this popular industry, yet not everyone agrees it will benefit the state. Governor Gretchen Whitmer is working to stop Michigan’s online gambling regulation.
It’s a frustrating development for pro-online gaming politicians and fans of casino gambling around Michigan. This state is one of just a few with a year-long legislative calendar. Will internet gambling be legal here by the end of 2019?
Lawmakers Continue Push For Regulated Online Casino Gambling
A number of states around the country are beginning to push for fully regulated internet gaming. Of course, there is some confusion as to whether or not the government allows this. In January, the DOJ changed its opinion on the Wire Act, declaring it applies to all forms of online gambling. Of course, a number of states with regulated online casino gaming are challenging the DOJ in court over this ruling.
For now, it still appears as though every state has the ability to set its own laws on online casino gambling. In order for a state to approve these laws, it must pass in the legislature, and then be approved by the governor. Brandt Iden, a Michigan State Representative, has been working to legalize and regulate this market for more than a year.
In 2017, Iden proposed an online casino bill. It was passed by the House and Senate, only to be vetoed by then-governor Rick Snyder. According to Snyder, online casino gaming would take away from the state’s popular internet lottery options.
It was a tough blow for many who believe regulated online casino gaming will give players more options, and earn the state valuable revenue every year. Now, Iden is continuing his push once again. Just like last year, the state’s governor appears the be the biggest hurdle in the way.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer Against Internet Gaming Expansion
Much like the aforementioned Rick Snyder, Governor Whitmer worries about the impact that regulated iGaming will have on the state’s online lottery options. Michigan is one of just a handful of states to offer lottery games over the internet. Whitmer believes online casino gambling will “cannibalize” the state’s internet lottery operations.
She is also concerned about where the revenue will go. The state’s internet lottery earnings fund public projects including school programs. The governor wants assurances that any new forms of gambling are used to help the state, not gaming operators.
“I’ve said very clearly, over and over again, that protecting the School Aid Fund, ensuring that we get every dollar back into the education of our kids is my top priority,” Whitmer said. “So I’m going to have a hard time supporting anything that doesn’t protect that goal.”
This fight isn’t over, though. Iden has some great points on why online casino gambling should finally be permitted in the state. Let’s look at why he and so many others feel this industry will be beneficial.
Michigan’s Online Gambling Market May Still Open in 2019
Brandt Iden is looking at other states with legalized online gambling for his motivation. New Jersey, for instance, now has fully regulated online casino and sports betting. The latter has helped the state earn millions in additional revenue each and every month.
Iden claims that the states with regulated online casino gambling still enjoy high lottery sales. He also argues that many individuals in Michigan play through online casino sites that are not regulated by the state. Huge revenue earnings will come to Michigan with regulation, he believes.
There may be one sign that Governor Whitmer is considering this new casino gaming bill. In early June, she requested that Iden remove online slots from the bill.
The state of Michigan has a legislative process once a year. The next one takes place in early January of 2020. Iden and his supporters have six months to push Michigan’s online gambling bill to the governor.
Will Michigan’s online gambling market ever become regulated? Will this hurt the state’s online lottery? Stay tuned for updates on the situation!