Michigan Online Gambling Bill Awaits Action
In Michigan, H 4926, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, has passed committees in both the House and Senate and awaits action by the full chambers. Sponsored by state Rep. Brandt Iden, chairman of the House Regulatory Reform Committee, the bill would establish, regulate and tax online gambling through state’s existing casinos. It also would establish a Division of Internet Gaming.
In addition, the bill was amended to include sports betting. That section reads, ” The division may permit an internet gaming licensee to conduct internet wagering under this act on any amateur or professional sporting event or contest, if that internet wagering is not prohibited by federal law.” Iden said, “That language is in there to start the next round of conversations” in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court lifting the federal ban on sports betting.
The online gambling legislation “creates a sort of sanctity of the game, I like to call it, and players who play regularly know that they want their money protected and they want to get paid when they win. I mean, that’s the benefit of being able to structure it so that it’s properly regulated. In addition to the tax revenue for the state of Michigan, you will protect and ensure that people are 21, and that if there’s a problem gambling issue, people aren’t going overboard.”
Iden previously said the legislation is “simply an updated platform for existing gambling—not new gaming. Internet wagering would be legal only through casinos already in Michigan—the three in Detroit and any tribal casino that would rework its agreement with the state to reflect the new technology.” The games would be available on casino websites and phone apps.
Under the legislation, the websites would have “strict oversight, unlike the offshore and illegal sites now used by Michiganders,” Iden said. Players would be required to be age 21 or older. “Their accounts would have built-in safety features,” Iden added. A portion of revenue would go toward helping problem gamblers. Operators would pay a tax of 10 percent on gross gaming revenues to the state and local communities. “That potentially translates to millions of dollars benefiting roads, police and fire departments, schools and other services” without raising taxes, Iden said.
He stated online gambling is “the right thing to do. And it’s the right time to do it, for the safety of Michigan consumers and the betterment of our communities.”