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Can Michigan Sports Betting Bill Overcome Its Obstacles?Published September 25, 2019 by Elana K
Michigan lawmakers have introduced a sports betting bill that would allow both mobile and in-person sports betting in the Wolverine state. But is the opposition to the bill too strong?
Last week, Michigan lawmakers introduced a sports betting bill that would allow both mobile and in-person sports betting in the Wolverine state. The bill’s backers have their work cut out for them — the bill needs to garner bipartisan support and prove to gambling skeptics how beneficial it can be. Plus, the bill will only be able to pass if a previously introduced online casino bill and a fantasy sports regulation bill get voted into law before this bill is voted on. It's certainly a challenge, but the hope is to get all 3 proposals pushed forward at the same time.
What’s in the Bill?
The Michigan sports betting bill is well-thought-out and covers a lot of crucial bases. Bets will be able to be taken by the state’s commercial casinos and Native American casinos. Online bets can be taken from anywhere within state borders. One thing the bill does not allow is for the state lottery to take any type of sports bets.
The proposed tax rate is one of the lowest in the country. At 8 percent, it’s second only to Nevada’s 7.5 percent tax rate. The bill’s sponsors took a lesson from states like Pennsylvania, which has a tax rate of 36 percent, and Rhode Island, which has a tax rate of 51 percent, and decided to go in the other direction so as not to stunt industry growth.
As for the operators themselves, they can each host only one skin, or online sports betting site. This aspect of the bill seems a bit out of place, since most states that allow mobile sports betting permit multiple skins for each operator. The argument for multiple skins is that they generate more player interest, and thus, revenue.
Is the Bill Likely to Pass?
It’s hard to tell at this point whether the bill will scrape up enough support or be outright rejected. In December 2018, Michigan was looking at a comprehensive online gaming bill, but outgoing governor Rick Snyder put the kibosh on it on his way out of office. Snyder justified the move by saying that online gambling would cannibalize state lottery revenues, though he didn't have any statistics to back his claim. Now that sports betting is on the table, the hope is that the conflict between the state lottery and supporters of gaming expansion won't prevent the bill from being passed.