Michigan House Passes New Online Gambling Bill on to Senate

Michigan House Passes New Online Gambling Bill on to Senate

The state of Michigan is joining a growing list of other states to take a pro-gambling initiative into legislative deliberations. The state’s house passed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act along to its Senate this week, and the bill could signify a major shift towards allowing expanded gambling within its borders.

H 4926 will grant three Detroit casinos the authority to offer internet gambling and casino features as early as next year if all goes as according to plan. Applications and five-year licenses will cost operators a $800,000 and casinos will be able to provide a host of classic table games like roulette along with poker and even sports betting.

Iden Happy with Bill’s Potential

The bill was proposed by Republican representative Brandt Iden who is very bullish on the proposal’s potential to create economic growth. It would create new jobs and boost the state’s tribal casino industry of which Michigan has 23 tribal establishments.

“I believe that the tribal casinos ended up with 90-plus percent of what they wanted in this. It will allow internet gaming as it pertains to all the games currently allowed in a brick and mortar casino, that’d be poker, roulette, black jack, craps. You’d be able to play that online. If (a casino) doesn’t have a physical presence here, they’re not going to be able to do it.”

Iden assured proponents of the bill and gambling aficionados that Michigan would “be at the forefront” of the new gambling movement sweeping the nation and that deliberations would begin “when we come back in the fall.”

“The Michigan gaming commission is looking for the Legislature to take the initial step. They believe they have the parameters to do it, but one of the things we need to set up is that tax rate. And we took the first step toward that today."

More Details on the Bill

The bill will specifically order an eight-percent tax on total internet gambling revenue brought in by each operator and require all gaming-related equipment to be kept in a Michigan casino. It will include provisions for multi-jurisdictional agreements to ensure cooperation and dictates a one-year waiting period for the launch of online gambling.

The bill grants brick-and-mortar and tribal casinos the ability to bond with online providers in a system similar to the one Pennsylvania is hard at work establishing as its licensing operations have already begun.

The immediate addition of sports betting has more to do with the fact that it's is now federally legal as it wasn’t a little over a month ago. This will help not only Michigan but other states interested in gambling reform fast-track their way to providing sports betting even if there was no legislation prepared before the SCOTUS ruling on PASPA.

Sports Betting Would be Huge for State

Sports betting would mean a great deal to residents of Michigan as a host of different sports are woven into its cultural fabric. The University of Michigan’s football program is one of the most respected in the nation and its basketball team reached the National Final last season. Michigan State’s basketball program is routinely a top contender as well and there are a host of other colleges offering major sports across the state.

Featuring a well-known statue of the massive swinging fist of boxer Joe Louis, Detroit’s sports culture is as big as the city itself. Known as “Hockey Town” and also fielding the Lions, Pistons and Tigers the city is one of the few to house clubs in each of the four major US sports. With such an established sports legacy, the opening of Detroit to the new American legal sports betting market would be a landmark event.

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