Michigan Could Become Next State to Legalize Internet Gambling
Lawmakers in Michigan are reportedly considering the legalization of internet gambling. Back in March, Senator Mike Kowall introduced an iGaming bill calling for the legalization of online casino games as well as poker within Michigan’s state borders. That bill took almost no time to get through the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee, although its momentum stalled almost instantly.
Senator Kowall has actually been amending his previous bill and plans to present a revised version to lawmakers this fall after they return from their summer recess.
No amendments were added to Kowall’s initial bill when it passed the Senate, but the second committee the bill has been referred to has been slow to act on it. No action is expected on that bill until Kowall introduces the revised version, anyway.
Michigan Gaming Control Board
Kowall’s bill does not contain provisions for the regulation of a legalized internet gaming industry. Instead, it only says that online gambling will be legal within Michigan and passes regulation responsibility to the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The Board would then determine how to regulate online gaming in a way that would be beneficial to the state and state residents.
The bill also says that established land-based casinos in Michigan will be able to launch iGaming operations of their own and may also participate with other states in which internet gambling is legal.
Michigan’s Native American tribes will also be able to operate their own gaming websites. They will be able to do so if they strictly follow guidelines on age restrictions, geolocation services and properly monitor responsible gaming. Those measures will also be governed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
Kowall’s bill also includes a provision that says land-based casinos will have to wait at least one year before launching their internet games. That will give the Native American tribes ample time to amend their current gambling deals with the state of Michigan and expand them to include iGaming.
The Bill also has input from some of Michigan’s casinos, tribal officials and other interested and related parties. In September, Senator Kowall is scheduled to hold meetings with industry stakeholders, other lawmakers and others to discuss details regarding the new, revised measure.
This is not Senator Kowall’s first foray into the gambling world. Last year, he introduced the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. That bill also had support from the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee, but it ultimately failed to pass in the state’s Senate. That bill does not have many differences from Senator Kowall’s second effort.
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