Michigan House Committee Approves iGaming and Sports Betting Bills

  • Each bill approved by committee votes of 10-1 will now pass to House of Representatives 
  • Sports betting bill language amended to allow its progression regardless of iGaming bill
  • Committee chairman Iden keen to push forward betting bill that appeals to all interested parties
  • New Michigan governor noticeably absent from discussions on state's sports betting legalization
map of Michigan and surrounding areas
Sports betting and iGaming bills have now passed through the Ways and Means Committee, meaning Michigan is one step closer to a new gambling regulatory framework. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Bills will progress to House of Representatives

Michigan’s House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee approved the package of bills on online gaming and sports betting on Tuesday, bringing the state one step closer to gambling legalization.

Both bills were approved by votes of 10-1 each. It is now down to the House of Representatives to discuss these bills, which could be voted on later this week.

Language amendments required

Committee chairman Brandt Iden had maintained that the sports betting bill, House Bill 4916, needed a couple of amendments while passing through Ways and Means. This was thought to allow the progression and adoption of a regulatory framework with or without the iGaming bill’s support.

Iden added language that was specific to mobile gaming, which would allow the bill to continue regardless of external decisions.

The document approved by the committee indicates that tribal casinos would be charged a tax rate of 8.75% on betting revenue. The three casinos in Detroit would be required to pay 12%. An additional requirement for sportsbooks licensed in Michigan would see them using official league data that is supplied at “commercially reasonable terms”.

Interest submitted by well-known names

Iden has worked hard on putting forward a sports betting bill that all interested parties could support, from gambling operators to sports teams and even the Indian tribes. Well-known names such as DraftKings, Fanduel, and MGM have already expressed their interest.

a sports betting bill that all interested parties could support

Iden was quick to mention states that had already sanctioned sports betting, such as Indiana and Illinois, and remarked that Ohio was “quickly on our heels”. He concluded that the bill would “[help] to bring all the stakeholders that participated in the conversation on board. We had a lot of in-depth discussions as it related to the rules and regulations and how sports betting was going to be outlined in the state.”

New governor absent from negotiations

Michigan’s new governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has been noticeably absent from recent negotiations. She previously endorsed a report asking for a 15% tax rate on sports betting, with initial licensing fees of up to $1 million.

During its progression through the Ways and Means Committee, the said sports betting bill faced opposition from the Michigan State Budget Office and two public education associations. Following Tuesday’s vote, it will now pass to the House of Representatives together with the iGaming bill.

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