Last Tuesday, November 6th, the Republican representative Brandt Iden won his third term in the Michigan State House. The victory came late Wednesday morning, as the vote counting continued to narrow down to a close margin with his opponent, the Democrat candidate Alberta Griffin.
The 61st district reelected Brandt Iden for the third consecutive time since his first electoral victory back in 2014. While his terms of office have often been related to somewhat controversial bills and legislation, his strongest proposition to legalize online gambling and sports betting seem to be gaining the necessary support.
Michigan’s Past Efforts to Legalize Online Gambling
Online gambling in Michigan has been a complicated legal matter ever since the repeal of the PASPA saw individual states taking measures in their own hands. Back in 2016, Senator Mike Kowall was the first to move forward a bill that would legalize online casinos. While it faced positive reactions, the SB 889 ultimately faded into oblivion by the end of the year.
Another bill followed, this time from State Representative Robert Kosowski, HB 4060. This encouraged Kowall to give it another try, this time with a revised and improved version of the bill – SB 203.
Iden, as a firm supporter of this cause, ultimately put down his own version – HB 4926, also known as the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. This brought about some progress on the matter, but the main obstacles from tribal casino operators are still hard in place.
Roadblocks Ahead of the Legalization Path
Tribal casino operators in Michigan continue to operate on their reservations and oppose this latest bill with a firm attitude. The HB 4926 would also apply to their establishments, causing them to increase revenues due to sports betting traffic in addition to the existing casino floor profits.
Iden has the task of convincing tribal gaming operators that online gambling will not cannibalize their Detroit casinos. Still, with the state representative getting re-elected for his third term of office, there is firm belief that a positive solution will be reached.
What’s to Come for the Michigan Gambling Scene?
Kowell’s mandate is coming to a close, along with the end of the year. Despite firm support for the so-called Lawful Internet Gambling Act in House voting, it is most likely that a new year will require a rewriting of the bill.
Iden’s reelection boosts supporters’ projections towards a positive outcome for legal sports betting and online gambling in Michigan. It is expected to follow soon, considering progress achieved in Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Maryland on different types of gambling practices.