Michigan Moves One Step Closer Toward Legalizing Online GamblingPublished December 18, 2017 by Elana K
Last week, the Michigan House Committee on Regulatory Reform approved three gaming bills that would allow some forms of online gambling.
Last week, the Michigan House Committee on Regulatory Reform approved three gaming bills that would allow some forms of online gambling. The bills must now return to the main House floor where they will be reviewed, and possibly, passed. This won’t happen until 2018, when the next legislative session begins.
The three bills — HB 4926, HB 4927, and HB 4928 — were introduced as a package by Michigan State Rep. Brandt Iden and others in September, and following some revisions, have now been approved by the House committee. Iden is the sponsor of HB 4926 and HB 4927, while State Rep. Klint Klesko it the sponsor of HB 4928.
What’s Included in the Bills?
HB 4926, Iden’s bill, is the main vehicle for allowing online gambling. It would create a Lawful Internet Gaming Act, which would allow online gambling to be conducted according to rules approved by Michigan lawmakers. All online gambling would then be overseen by the Division of Internet Gaming, a sub-committee of the Michigan Gaming Control Board that would be created upon approval of the bill. The bill also includes licensing fees ($200,000), state taxes on revenue (10%, reduced from 15% in previous versions of the bill), as well as a clause requiring online gambling servers to be located on a gaming property in the state.
The Tribal Issue
HB 4926 also addresses the issue of Michigan tribes and exempts their casino operations from being supervised by the Division of Internet Gaming as long as they have reached a compact with the state. This means that the terms of online gaming offered by Michigan tribes would need to be negotiated with the Division prior to being allowed.
As in the case of California, the issue of tribes is a delicate one, and not to be underestimated. The tribes can reject the bill, or demand revisions, which can stall approval for months or even years. If the tribes do accept the main premise of the proposal, that will be a big step toward the final goal of legalizing online gambling within state borders.