In the final days of 2018, and days before leaving the office, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder placed a veto on the House Bill 4926. This specific bill waiting on the Governor’s signature was supposed to introduce legal online gambling platforms, making Michigan the fifth US state to make such a move. This effectively ends Michigan’s hopes to legalize online gambling until the next legislative session on January 9th.
What Prompted the Governor’s Decision?
One week before the end of his term, Republican Rick Snyder was presented with a total of 400 bills. Among these legal documents waiting for his signature, 40 bills failed to meet their purpose. Among them was the H 4926 bill, along with its accompanying and supporting bills HB 4927 and HB 4928, intended to legalize online gambling platforms across the state territories.
Governor Rick Snyder elaborated his decision regarding this bill in an official veto letter to Michigan State and Senate:
“Due to largely unknown budgetary concerns, I believe this legislation merits more careful study and comparison with how other states have, or will, authorize online gaming. To be blunt, we simply don’t have the data to support this change at this time.”
Additional Arguments Against the Bill
Further arguments towards his decision refer to the taxation policy proposed by the bill in question. Governor Rick Snyder proposed that, due to lower tax provisions in the bill, lottery sales may suffer a sudden drop, which would ultimately reflect on the School Aid Fund, supported by the respective establishment.
What is more, the governor in departure expressed his concern regarding the effect this bill could have over the gambling population. In other words, introducing legal online casino, poker, and sportsbooks in Michigan will significantly increase availability to such content, prompting further gambling practices.
What Did The Online Gambling Bill Cover?
On December 21st, the Senate passed through the House Bill 4926 by a resounding 33-5. Just one day later the House pushed through the same bill by a 71-35 margin. With these numbers, it was widely thought that the bill would receive Snyder’s signature.
The bill 4926 would offer land-based state operators a chance to apply for a license with the responsible Gambling Control Authority for $100,000 apiece. A $200,000 charge would be imposed for the first year of licensing, after which casinos would be charged an additional $100,000 fee for each following year.
At that rate, Michigan casino operators would have enjoyed prime conditions in comparison to those of other states. So far, Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have passed legislation to legalize online gambling in their jurisdictions.
Is There More to It?
On a final note, it has been pointed out by the media that the governor’s decision particularly serves the purpose of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, led by Sheldon Adelson. As Chairman and CEO to the Las Vegas Sands Casino, he and his wife have been known donors for the Republican Party in the last two election cycles, ardently fighting to prevent online gambling legalization simultaneously.