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Michigan Representative Makes Another Attempt at Online GamblingPublished September 19, 2017 by Elana K
Michigan State Rep. Brandt Iden has introduced a bill that would allow Michigan’s existing casinos to offer online gambling to players within state borders.
Michigan State Rep. Brandt Iden has introduced a bill that would allow Michigan’s existing casinos to offer online gambling to players within state borders. This is not the first attempt Michigan has seen at legalizing online gambling, but previous efforts have so far gone nowhere. Michigan is currently host to three casinos in Detroit and some 20 tribal casinos; allowing these casinos to offer online gambling could provide a huge revenue boost to state coffers.
Michigan is currently host to three casinos in Detroit and some 20 tribal casinos; allowing these casinos to offer online gambling could provide a huge boost to state coffers.
Iden is Confident, But Not Unrealistic
The bill received an informational hearing last week, during which Iden boldly stated, “If I were a betting man, and I am, iGaming will become law at some stage in the state of Michigan.” He did acknowledge, however, that it will probably be a lengthy process until everyone gets on board.
Casino owners, for example, are not on board with Iden’s bill, though MGM released a statement that it at least “supports the concept” of online gaming. Likewise, tribal casinos are not on board, at least not the way the bill is currently written.
Consumer Protection and Tax Dollars
One of the main points stressed in the meeting was the need for online gambling legislation in order to protect consumers. Michiganders are gambling online anyway - some don’t even know it’s illegal. And gambling on illegal sites leaves them open to deception, fraud, and many other pitfalls. Legalizing and regulating online casinos is the necessary step toward consumer protection.
Of course, there is also the monetary aspect, in which online gambling profits would be subject to taxes that would line the state’s coffers nicely. New Jersey, the paragon of successful online gambling, recently hit the $100 million mark in tax revenue - and online gambling has only been legal since 2013.
The potential income for the state is not something that can be overlooked. Iden’s bill suggests a 15% tax on gross gaming revenue from online gambling, but that may also be one of the issues that needs to be re-worked.
In short, it will take a lot of mediation, compromises, and recognition on all sides of the benefits of online gambling, in order to make online gambling a reality.