Michigan On The Path To Legalize Online Gambling

Michigan State Online Gambling Bill

The House Committee officially gave the green light for Michigan’s 2019 Lawful Internet Gaming Act to move onto its final steps. A 13-1 favorable vote on HB 4311 is set for its next approval from the Ways and Means Committee. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Brandt Iden, a long-time supporter of online gambling regulation in the state.

News Highlights

  • Michigan’s Online Gambling Bill was approved 13-1 by the House Committee.
  • The next step is for the bill to get passed by the Ways and Means Committee.
  • If Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs the bill, Michigan would be the fifth state to legalize online gambling.

Details on the Michigan Online Gambling Bill

The bill now moves to the Ways and Means Committee vote. Although there is no set date for the meeting, things are definitely moving forward for this legislation. A positive boost on this outcome is said to have come from the range of expert hearings held last week. Expert representatives from all land-based casinos in the state – Motor City, MGM, and Greektown – gave their testimonies supporting the bill.

Iden’s Supporting Arguments

Rep Michigan Brandt Iden

Rep. Michigan Brandt Iden

The sponsor of the bill, Michigan Rep. Brandt Iden also spoke of the benefits of this industry during the testimonies. According to his claim, a legalized online gambling industry in Michigan is important for people who are at risk of gambling at the unlicensed and unregulated gambling platforms operating in the state.

He also rebutted the claim that this novel industry would jeopardize land-based casinos’ revenue, as potential online gamblers differ from the usual Lotto players and land-based casino goers which belong to the older population.

Online Gambling License Fees and Taxes

Should the bill become law, operators will be able to apply for licenses at $200,000 a piece for the first year. They would also have a 50% discount on the $100,000 renewal fee. As for taxes, the gross gambling revenue is at an 8% tax rate according to the letter of this bill.

The same can be said of a similar Senate Bill (SB 186), which seems to coincide with the House Bill in question on a matter of points. In other words, this bill proposes the same application and licensing fees, as well as the tax rate. However, as it was introduced in the Michigan Senate, this bill has alternately been sponsored by Senator Curtis Hertel Jr.

The Past, Present & Future of Michigan Online Gambling

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

The odds are in favor of HB 4311, as well as SB 186, both of which are known under the same name as the 2019 Lawful Internet Gaming Act.

Still, legislators are particularly cautious in these final steps of the procedure, considering last year’s failed attempt at legalizing online gambling. More specifically, the bill had landed on Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for the last signature and approval, where it was vetoed in his last 48 hours of office.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to take on a more positive attitude towards this prospective industry. Should everything keep its course, the state of Michigan would become the first to legalize online gambling after a two-year dry-spell in the US.

What Does This Mean for Online Gambling in the US?

Should everything keep its course, the state of Michigan would become the first to legalize online gambling after a two-year dry-spell in the US. Back in 2017, Pennsylvania addressed the matter successfully, only to be prevented by a recent reinterpretation of the Wire Act by the DOJ.

Four years before that, Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware passed their own legal gambling acts in 2013, making the first steps towards a regulated gambling entertainment segment in the US.

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