Representative Brandt Iden introduced a variety of gambling bills last week, but sports betting wasn’t included, despite having said earlier this year that sports gambling legislation was going to be his priority for 2019. It’s a mixed signal from Iden considering his public push for legalized sports betting especially after the former Governor vetoed previous gambling bills earlier this year.
The reason why Iden didn’t include the sports betting bill was because he is still working with stakeholders to hammer out the details on a comprehensive platform. Iden decided to hold off on introducing sports betting with the rest of the gambling-related bills until all of the details could be finalized:
“I believe it could still potentially be forthcoming but a few things need to be worked through. The casino industry, leagues and other stakeholders didn’t feel it was ready for primetime yet, so I didn’t introduce it.”
According to Mr. Iden, both legislators and stakeholders are supportive and all have made sports betting in the state a priority. Iden wants to “make sure everyone is on the same page, and that’s what helped us have the success we did before.”
He went on to say that the iGaming bill took 2.5 years to get to where it was up for a floor vote, but doesn’t expect a sports gambling bill to take that long. That’s a good thing, since Iden will reach the end of his term after 2020.
All hope is not lost for sports betting in Michigan. If lawmakers can’t get it legalized this year, there’s another option under the Lawful Internet Gaming Act (House Bill 4311) that could allow for the activity:
“permit internet gaming operators licensed by the division to accept internet wagers under this act on any amateur or professional sporting event or contest.”
Last December, Michigan lawmakers pushed through the online gambling bill, along with around 400 others, in a late-night session. That ended abruptly when Governor Rick Snyder decided to veto the bill.
With a new Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, in office this year, the hope is that she won’t automatically veto any sports gambling or online gambling bills. She supported sports betting during her campaign, but reports are unclear as to her opinion on online gambling.
Currently, Michigan is looking at trying to improve and expand gambling at the three casinos in Detroit and tribal casinos throughout the state. MI wants to charge at least 9.25% tax rate and $200,000 for online gambling license. At the beginning of the year, there was hope of clarity by now. Unfortunately, it appears that Michigan has more questions than answers.
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