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Michigan's Revised Online Gambling Bill Attempts to Allay Concerns of TribesPublished July 20, 2017 by Elana K
A revised version of S 203, a bill that would legalize online gambling in Michigan, was introduced last week in draft form. The new bill includes language that is meant to address some of the issues that were raised in the original bill.
A revised version of S 203, a bill that would legalize online gambling in Michigan, was introduced last week in draft form. The original bill was introduced in March and sponsored by Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, who was also one of the architects behind the new version. The new bill includes language that is meant to address some of the issues that were raised in the original bill.
The previous bill gave regulatory authority to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, which would grant licenses to both commercial and tribal iGaming operators who applied. However, this would mean that the tribal operators would become commercial ones, and it was strongly opposed by Michigan’s federally-recognized tribes.
The revised version of the bill would make it possible for each individual tribe to self-regulate its iGaming operations, allowing them to remain non-commercial. However, even under the new bill, the tribes will still have to amend their existing gambling agreements with the state and comply with state-introduced responsible gambling and consumer protection measures.
The revised version of S 203 would place a 12-month moratorium on the state’s commercial casinos who wish to launch online gambling sites. It also requires the state to act on a request of a tribe within 90 days. Both of these requirements essentially mitigate the advantage of commercial casinos, which was also an issue that the initial bill encountered.
Senator Kowall has expressed optimism about the bill’s success, and he has a number of Senate members behind him. However, the Michigan House has a long history of being moderate in its rulings regarding online gambling. Additionally, S 203 will require Governor Rick Snyder to sign off on it, and up until now, he has not commented on the issue.
Of course, there are still the tribal issues to deal with. While the new bill has attempted to allay the concerns of the tribes, it is yet to be seen whether they will indeed agree to it.