New Online Gambling Legislation Proposed in Michigan

Man in suit pressing LEGISLATION button on transparent screen
Michigan lawmakers are considering online gambling legislation.

30-second summary

  • Bills proposed in Michigan would legalize and regulate online casino games and fantasy sports
  • Representative Brandt Iden is behind the push for a second time
  • Similar attempt in 2018 was vetoed by former Governor Rick Snyder as he left office

Online gambling legislation is on the table once again in Michigan. After a similar bill was vetoed last year by Governor Rick Snyder, lawmakers have now made new proposals. Bills currently before a House committee would legalize and regulate online casino gaming and daily fantasy sports.

Avoiding problems

Representative Brandt Iden introduced online gambling legislation last year that was vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder just before he left office. It was expected that Michigan would legalize the option, so it was shocking to Iden that the Governor chose to veto the measure.

In his new effort, Iden is pushing the fact that the state needs to modernize its gaming and betting industries. Gambling is already happening illegally online and Iden wants it to be regulated so the state can collect tax revenues.

Iden said: “This is really about updates. This is about the future of the industry. This is about making sure Michigan stays competitive.”

Concerns

According to VSO News, Governor Snyder decided to veto the measure because of budget concerns involving the lottery. The former governor felt that the online gaming options would lower the state lottery revenue, which supports K-12 schools.

The House Fiscal Agency seems to agree with Snyder over lottery concerns. The agency has proposed that the lower online gaming tax could affect the School Aid Fund. The fear is that tax revenues would be lower if online games become a top choice for players instead of land-based casinos.

The three commercial casinos in Detroit and the 23 tribal gaming venues would be allowed to obtain online gaming licenses. There would be an 8% tax.

Iden does not agree with the concern that online gaming would take away customers who normally play at a land-based casino or the lottery. He feels that the activities have different players. The demographic of online gaming is younger than that of traditional land-based casino gaming.

Details of the bills

The newly introduced bills may have another hearing within the House Regulatory Reform Committee as soon as next week. Lawmakers have contacted the office of new Governor Gretchen Whitmer about the bills. They have yet to receive formal support on the matter.

The Fantasy Contests Consumer Protection Act is one bill up for consideration. It would place the Michigan Gaming Control Board in charge. Companies that offer daily fantasy sports would be regulated by the board. Licensing would cost $50,000 upfront and $20,000 for yearly renewal.

With the online gaming measure, casinos would only be allowed to offer services to players located in the state and geolocation must be used to determine the location of participants. The legislation would divert some tax revenue from online gaming to Detroit. The money would be used to assist in any business lost by the three casinos of that area.

The Detroit casinos support the idea of online gambling. MotorCity Casino, MGM Detroit, and Greektown Casino all feel that the technology will assist them in reaching new gamblers and drawing them into their land-based venues.